Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Yes, RG3 is worth steep price
By Ashley Fox
Trade the house. Go Mike Ditka. Rarely is it worth it, but this time it is.
There's nothing left to scare you, not size nor character nor production nor arm strength. Robert Griffin III has the entire package. He can be the face of a franchise. He can be a savior.
Andrew Luck is the surefire No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but after that, there is little question which player is No. 2. He wears silly socks and is well-spoken, charismatic and mature. It is no wonder St. Louis is openly willing to trade its No. 2 overall pick to Cleveland or Washington or Miami or whatever other team is willing to play. They were at the combine. They saw it.
RG3 is the real deal. He will be the second pick in the draft. He will be a winner. And he will be well worth whatever the team that acquires him has to give up in order to get him.
It will be a lot, and it should be. These talents don't come around often. The Dolphins haven't had a quarterback go to the Pro Bowl since Dan Marino in 1995. The Redskins haven't had a franchise quarterback in more than a decade. The Browns struck out on Tim Couch and have seen that Colt McCoy is what his third-round draft status indicated he was: a decent backup, but not a legitimate starter, not a difference-maker.
Any of these teams should be willing to part with a few high draft picks -- as unpopular as that notion is -- in order to secure its future for the next decade. Get Griffin under center, and then build around his arm and his speed. He will make you better, more secure, more stable. He will turn you into a contender, a winner and a threat.
And when was the last time anyone was that concerned by Miami, Washington or Cleveland? The Dolphins have had one winning season in the past six years. The Redskins have finished last in the NFC East four years in a row. The Browns have finished last in the AFC North seven of the past nine seasons.
On Tuesday, a day after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Rams had definitively decided to trade the No. 2 pick, St. Louis chief operating officer Kevin Demoff confirmed to The Associated Press what Jeff Fisher said at the combine: The Rams are willing to trade the pick, for the right price.
The right price is thought to be in the neighborhood of what San Diego received for Eli Manning in 2004: two first-round picks, plus a third- and a fifth-rounder. It was a king's ransom for the Giants then, but given their two Super Bowl victories since, it was well worth it. The Chargers would probably agree. They used the picks to acquire quarterback Philip Rivers, linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding.
The Rams, who have needs on both sides of the ball, would love to get as much.
They also likely would have preferred to trade the pick on Tuesday, because their leverage never will be greater. Free agency hasn't started. Peyton Manning is still a Colt. Matt Flynn is still a Packer. Teams still have quarterback needs.
And the crickets haven't begun chirping just yet. Now that the sun has officially set on the combine, they will soon. The nits picked will be minor irritations and little else, probably some silliness about Griffin's throwing motion, his patience in the pocket, his ability to run a spread offense, things you won't hear about Luck because he went to Stanford and he is the prototypical pocket passer who is coming from a pro-style offense.
Griffin braced for some of the criticism at the combine.
When asked about the biggest misconception about his game, Griffin said: "I think it's just a misconception that comes with being a dual-threat quarterback. You're run first, throw second. I think I've proven I'm throw first, then run if I need to."
About the offense he ran under head coach Art Briles at Baylor, Griffin said: "It's not a simple offense. It's a good offense. It's a really great offense, and it's a quarterback-friendly offense. Simple would not be a word to describe it."
The important numbers are all there for Griffin: his size, his speed, his statistics at Baylor, his football IQ, his desire to be great. He measured up at the combine. He wasn't the dreaded 6-foot-1; he was 6-2 3/8 with big hands and a sprinter's speed. He was smart and personable and driven to be the best -- everything you need in a face of a franchise.
Everything Cleveland, Washington and Miami need. And Kansas City. And Seattle. And
RG3 has never been hotter, which means the Rams' pick has never been more valuable. Time and the inevitable quarterback movement via free agency will devalue it, at least a little. And the crickets. But don't listen to the crickets.
"It is a great opportunity, and it will define the immediate and hopefully the long-term future of this franchise," Fisher said at the combine.
The Rams are looking for a monster offer, either on March 13, the first day of free agency and the first day trades are allowed, or on the opening day of the draft on April 26. For RG3, they should get it.
|Robert Griffin III is a rare talent who could change the fortunes of several QB-needy teams.|
Ashley Fox is an NFL columnist. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyMFox.