The Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams concluded a trade sending the #2 overall pick to the Redskins for what amounts to a king’s ransom. To move up 4 spots the Skins included 2 more future first round picks as well as a 2nd round pick.
While the cost was high the Redskins faced the prospect of missing out on either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. The move has Dan Snyder’s fingerprints on it but also Mike Shanahan’s. For Shanahan there are limits to what can be accomplished even if Washington had pursued Peyton Manning. Even with Manning the long-term proposition for the Redskins would have been one of trying to catch up too quickly for their current roster. While the draft picks dealt away could have been a method for restocking on the fly one only needs to look at a team like Detroit to see what the cap ramifications are of selecting consistently at the top of the draft.
Whichever of the two quarterbacks Washington ends up with their long-term cap situation without the 2 additional picks is markedly better than it would be with them on the roster. Without the trade the Redskins would face the prospect of having to select a position of lesser value at the top end of the draft devoting significant resources to a position that doesn’t warrant it. The Redskins roster is full of holes but the biggest holes appear to be in the passing game with Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney past age 30. Fred Davis has become a nice option at the tight end spot but unless you have a situation like New England’s this past season you’re going to need at least one top caliber wide receiver to succeed. The potential to pick up a younger receiver to pair with a young QB over the next 2 years is much less difficult without having to devote a significant portion of the cap to draft picks.
Last season Redskins fans got to view the faceless and often talentless combination of Rex Grossman and John Beck. No matter how bright your sky there was no way 2011 was going to be a successful season. Drafting either Luck/Griffin, paring them with a FA receiver, and figuring out which of the team’s 4 sub-25 receivers is worth keeping should provide Washington fans with something to get excited about for the future. The comparison to having the draft picks is that any FA acquisitions of a major nature would be off the table and as we’ve come to expect that just isn’t the Dan Snyder way. Whether or not Snyder is finally able to put a consistent watchable product on the field probably means little for some of the NFL’s more die-hard fans but it would be nice to see the Skins’ be relevant again. This team defeated the Super Bowl winning Giants twice in 2011 so it isn’t unfathomable that they can contend. With a new look behind center they just might be a surprise in 2012.