The Washington Redskins are prepared to part with two first-round draft picks, plus other selections in the early and middle rounds, to secure the St. Louis Rams’ No. 2 pick in April’s draft and land Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The Rams are said to be seeking compensation similar to what the San Diego Chargers received from the New York Giants in exchange for Eli Manning in 2004. That year, the Chargers drafted Manning first overall. The Giants sent their fourth overall pick, the following year’s first-round pick, and their 2004 third- and fifth-round picks to San Diego for the quarterback who has since led New York to two Super Bowl victories.
With Sam Bradford as their franchise quarterback, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead indicated at the NFL Combine last week that their team is prepared to part with the second overall pick. That trade would allow them to address multiple needs with the picks they could receive in return.
The Redskins, according to people familiar with their thinking, are willing to trade this year’s sixth overall pick and next year’s top pick – as well as two others in the range demanded by St. Louis.
The Redskins believe Griffin, who last fall won the Heisman Trophy after passing for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions while leading Baylor to a 10-3 record, is worth that price. Griffin ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine Sunday.
But Washington faces competition from the Cleveland Browns, who own two first-round picks --the fourth and 22nd overall -- in this year’s draft, and Miami, which picks eighth this year.
Because of the new CBA, which has established a rookie wage system and lowers the financial investment a team in a high pick, the Rams’ pick is highly coveted, and teams are more willing to make such moves than in years past.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and Fisher are close friends. That relationship could be a factor. But an offer from the Browns of two first-round picks in this year’s draft plus other picks could be hard for St. Louis to pass up.
If Washington isn’t successful in moving up to the No. 2 overall spot, league sources believe they could select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Some believe they would be inclined to use the sixth pick on him rather than trade down and try to get him later in the first round or in the second round.
Miami also is expected to have interest in Tannehill. The Dolphins just hired Mike Sherman – Tannehill’s head coach at Texas A&M – as their offensive coordinator.
Given the difficulty of finding a franchise quarterback, a thin QB crop in this year’s draft, and the example of the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, who last season were willing to snatch Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, respectively, at spots that were higher than projected, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington spend the sixth pick on Tannehill rather than wait to see if he remains later in the draft, some in the league say.
Regardless of whether the Redskins select a rookie quarterback in the draft, the team is expected to pursue a veteran as well. Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning, whose future remains up in the air, and Kansas City Chiefs passer Kyle Orton, who is set to hit the free agent market on March 13, have been identified as possible targets for Washington, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this report.
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