Of Mike Holmgren and sour grapes

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
6:40
PM ET
I play fantasy football. I know a lot of you guys do, too. You ever have a trade go down in your league that really ticked you off because you thought you'd made a better offer and the guy just wanted to make a deal with his friend or his brother or his cousin or something like that?

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezCleveland president Mike Holmgren says the Redskins had an advantage in completing their trade with the Rams for the No. 2 pick in the draft, expected to be used for QB Robert Griffin III.
Yeah, that's pretty much what Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren says happened with the trade between the St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins that allowed the Redskins to move up to the No. 2 pick in this year's draft. Jamison Hensley has the rundown on the AFC North blog:
In a conference call with Browns season-ticket holders today, Holmgren said "a very close relationship" between the Rams and Redskins prevented Cleveland from moving two spots up in the draft. Holmgren didn't go into specifics about the relationship, but it's well-known that Rams coach Jeff Fisher and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan are close friends.

Click through to that Cleveland.com link, and you'll see Holmgren further explain that he's "not sure any offer was going to be good enough. We were very aggressive and it didn't work. Rest assured, we were aggressively involved in that."

Couple of issues with this. First of all, Holmgren won't elaborate on what his offer was, which is silly if he really thinks it was better. Presumably, it was an offer of picks and not players, so he doesn't have to be worried about any of his players being upset that he tried to trade them. If you really think your offer was better, let's hear what it was and we can judge for ourselves. If you're right, it'll only help make your case.

Second, what are we here? Six years old? You didn't get the deal, Mike. It happens. I can understand that you need to sell the idea to your fans that you tried as hard as you could to solve your glaring quarterback problem by moving up to get Robert Griffin III. But there were other teams interested, and you didn't get it. Sometimes in life, things don't work out the way we want them to. Doesn't do much good to whine about it.

And third, even if what he says is 100 percent accurate, so what? Aren't personal relationships a reasonable and acceptable tool to assist in business transactions? If Shanahan has a close relationship with Fisher and the people who run the Rams, and as a result he knows how to appeal to them or is otherwise more likely to convince them to do a deal, then good for him. It means that, somewhere along the line, he did something that laid the groundwork to allow him to get business done down the road. Happens in sports and any other business in the world, and there's nothing wrong with it.

The Rams got an absolute haul from the Redskins -- three first-round picks and a second-round pick for one first. If Holmgren was going to beat that, it wasn't going to be by much. And even if he did, the Rams got more than fair value for their pick. Good for them, good for the Redskins and too bad for the Browns, who are just going to have to look elsewhere for a quarterback. Because those are the breaks.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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