Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Monday, March 19, 2012
The Redskins' scary alternate universe

By Dan Graziano

This is why, regardless of how astronomical the price may have been, you can't say the Washington Redskins overpaid in the trade that scored them the No. 2 pick in this year's draft.

You following this quarterback stuff, Redskins fans? Are you watching what's going on in Miami, in San Francisco, in Denver, in Tennessee? In poor, miserable Cleveland? This is quarterback musical chairs, folks, and there aren't enough chairs for everyone. At least one of those teams is still going to be looking for a quarterback once Peyton Manning decides and Alex Smith figures out what he wants to do, and if you're a Redskins fan watching all of this, you should be thinking, "Whew. I'm really glad my team's not mixed up in that mess."

The Redskins know who their quarterback is going to be next year. Or at least they're sure it's going to be one they like. They assume the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick and they'll take Baylor's Robert Griffin III with the second, but if something weird happens and the Colts take Griffin, they at least know they get Luck. There are, by most teams' evaluations, two franchise-caliber quarterbacks in this year's draft, and by dealing three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Rams, the Redskins ensured that they'd get one of them.

By doing it a week and a half ago, they also ensured that they would not find themselves in Dolphins' current situation — spurned by Manning and Matt Flynn, trying to steal Smith away from the 49ers and reportedly talking to David Garrard in case Smith stays put. They ensured that they would not be the Broncos, who wait to find out whether they get Manning or whether they'll need to ask Tim Tebow to turn water into wine on a weekly basis for another year. They ensured that they would not be the Browns — the team they had to beat out to get the Rams' pick, a team that's now looking at another year with Colt McCoy and hoping it gets Matt Barkley in next year's draft.

This could have been your team, Redskins fans. Instead, Washington has a draft pick that ensures it will get a quarterback who projects as a long-term star. It has a backup it likes — one that ran the offense last year and is willing to help teach it to a rookie taking his place. The Redskins' quarterback situation doesn't make them an automatic 2012 contender — Griffin will be a rookie, after all, and the overhauled receiving corps has more potential than track record. But it's one about which the team and its fans can feel good. Such is not the case in places like Miami and Cleveland and whichever of those other teams fails to get Manning.

So yeah, they paid a fortune to get the pick, and it puts a lot of pressure on Griffin to become a star. But knowing that this was the alternative — to be sitting around on March 19 hoping you could maybe get Alex Smith or get by for another year with Rex Grossman and get a chance at Barkley — has to help you understand why they did it. And why they surely don't have any regrets.