The debate rages on. Do the Redskins sell out this draft (and some of next year’s) to start a monogamous relationship with Robert Griffin, the third of his name? Or do we flirt with big name free agents, consummating in a deadly love triangle between two-game super star Matt Flynn and I-can’t-turn-my-head-left-but-am-still-a-Super-Bowl-winning-quarterback-so-pay-me-$25 million-a-year-Dan-Snyder-you-midget Peyton Manning?
Well I’m back from my hiatus to answer this question for you. So buckle up, kids, it’s about to get rusty.
Obviously there are many factors in play here. Is Shanahan planning to build for the future, or the final two years of his contract? How much are the Skins willing to trade for RG3? The Browns, who have better trade chips than the Redskins, are also in the running and (at this point) in better position to trade up for him. Did I just make you read a paragraph on things you already knew? Is your mouse hovering over the "close window" button?
Fine, let's get into it by dissecting our options.
Robert Griffin III
My case for RG3 is simple, if you have the opportunity to take a potential franchise quarterback, you have to do it. At all costs. It’s worth the risk because of the following:
1. If we don’t take RG3, who is starting under center for us next year? Certainly not Rex Grossman again. Peyton Manning? A huge injury risk who still, after an entire year off, still isn’t close to being fully healthy or throwing at normal strength. Matt Flynn? Another uncertainty with limited game experience and will cost more than RG3 in free agency. Ryan Tannenhill? A rookie out of Texas A&M with a much more limited skill set than Griffin? What are our real options here? Doesn’t Griffin present the best upside and long term value? I just don't see a better alternative at this time.
2. The fear is that RG3 will cost too many draft picks, and he will. But let me remind you- the Giants traded the San Diego Charges two first rounders, a third rounder, and a fifth rounder for Eli Manning in the draft. Griffin will cost the Redskins a similar, if not slightly higher price. Eli gave the Giants two Super Bowl wins and multiple years in the playoffs. Was that price not fair? Heck, for two championship rings I’d say the Giants got a bargain! I believe that is the kind of potential RG3 can bring to a team.
3. If the Browns draft him, and he’s a super star, we’ll officially be the most embarrassing franchise in the NFL. And I ain't having that.
Look, I love Peyton Manning. I’ve rooted for him on multiple occasions and think he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time. But severe nerve damage in your neck? Four neck surgeries? It’s uncertain he’ll ever return to 100%.
But isn’t 85% of Manning still better than half the quarterbacks in the league?
Probably, but it’s unsustainable. It’s like putting a bandaid over the stump where your leg used to be. Let me ask you this- ever sleep weird on your pillow and when you wake up your neck is sore in one spot? And during the day if you turn your head and stretch that muscle it makes you dribble pee down your leg in pain? Imagine having had four neck surgeries to repair a nerve in that neck. Now imagine having 300lb lineman and Adonis-figured linebackers trying to hit you as hard as they can. Imagine trying to look off safeties and whip your head around to hit your receiver in stride on an out-route. Try going through a five-read progression in 4 seconds while avoiding pressure.
There is a long way for Manning to go to return to form. I’m not certain I want to bank my future on another big name Free Agent who will cost too much and, likely, underperform.
I do love that signing Manning will mean also signing Reggie Wayne. It gives us an experienced (and legitimate) number one wide receiver, and a guy Peyton is comfortable with throwing to. We can ignore the fact that both are past their primes.
We’re not getting Matt Flynn. We just aren’t. He’ll end up in Miami back under Joe Philbin, or be franchised by the Packers. When the Redskins do free agency, they go big (Manning) or go-screw up draft picks.
The only way I want to see Tannenhill on the Redskins is if he’s on the bench behind a full-strength Peyton Manning, scribbling on a clipboard frantically. I am not comfortable drafting him with the sixth pick and starting him the next season. He’s a bigger uncertainty than Griffin, and allows us to keep all of our draft picks, but he's a guy you draft and sit behind someone worth learning from (ie, not Rex Grossman). You can’t convince me he’ll do more in his rookie year than Grossman did last year. I also don’t see Shanahan banking his final years on a guy who will likely end up in the Blaine Gabbert and Jimmy Clausen arena.
Some even say let’s fill out our position needs this year and take Matt Barkley in next year’s draft. That’s as logical as me buying a Ferrari and Louis Vuitton man-purses for all my friends because I think I’ll win the lottery next year. There’s no guarantee we’ll even be in position to get Barkley. What if he’s projected to be taken first overall and we have the 10th pick? Is it worth it to pay more for Barkley next year than Griffin this year?
Give me Griffin, give me hope and give me some excitement.