Washington Redskins should get Robert Griffin III, no matter what the cost

Jason Reid
Columnist February 28, 2012

Make it happen. Offer the asking price. The Washington Redskins must pay whatever it takes to move up in the NFL draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Griffin is not only right for the Redskins, he’d be great for Washington. For so long now, the team and Redskins fans have been waiting for someone with Griffin’s combination of off-the-charts ability and charisma.

Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times. View Archive

If the Redskins draft Griffin, owner Daniel Snyder finally would have a true franchise quarterback. For a decade or more, Griffin would be the face of the team. And in little time, if not immediately, he would own the District.

To get all of that, it will be costly. The Redskins know this as well, which is why they’re reportedly willing to trade multiple draft picks — including two No. 1s — to the St. Louis Rams, who currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the April 26-28 draft.

With the Indianapolis Colts expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck first, several teams are courting the Rams, who already have quarterback Sam Bradford and many holes to fill.

The Redskins’ roster is in need of a lot of work, too. Washington could use as many draft picks as it could get for, well, the foreseeable future. Also, the Redskins haven’t fared well in the past chasing other pots of gold that turned out to be empty.

But Griffin is different. He’s not another fading star at the end of his career. His star is rising quickly — and the Redskins should latch on for the ride.

Anyone who has watched the polished Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor knows he has something special. It’s not just Griffin’s outstanding arm strength or that he’s faster than many wide receivers (seriously, though, his 40-yard dash time of 4.41 is ridiculous).

He has poise. He has presence. Just call it the “it” factor. After seeing how Griffin commanded the room during last week’s news conferences at the NFL Scouting Combine, it’s clear he’s ready for all the attention that would come with being a No. 1 pick.

For many years, the Redskins squandered draft picks while chasing deals for players incapable of providing a championship foundation. Recently, Washington has been smarter. Coach Mike Shanahan has emphasized building through the draft, and the roster is much younger than the one he inherited. Based on the won-loss results in Shanahan’s first two seasons, though, we still don’t know if it’s any better.

Anteing up for Griffin would change things. With Griffin, the Redskins could finally begin building around a quarterback capable of leading them to sustained success.

If they paid a steep price to move up in the draft, the Redskins would have to rely more heavily on free agency to fill in other holes in the roster. Over-dependence on free agency is a big reason why they’re in their current mess.

But getting Griffin should be the focus. The quarterback makes everything go.

Another team’s failed starter isn’t the answer, either. Peyton Manning? No way. Let’s not go over that one again.

Even if the Redskins draft Griffin and incumbent Rex Grossman began next season as the starter, having Griffin in the organization would provide the team a sense of optimism and hope. When was the last time the Redskins truly had that?

Redskins fans are not only frustrated about all the years of losing. They’re angry that their team has become irrelevant in the NFL. There’s little buzz about the Redskins any more. A fan base eager to be re-energized could get a needed jolt — even from a clipboard-holding, quarterback-in-waiting rookie.

Throughout NFL history, many supposedly can’t-miss quarterbacks have failed spectacularly. Could Griffin ultimately disappoint? Yeah. There are no guarantees.

The best teams, however, evaluate players, form strong opinions and make informed decisions. If the Redskins believe in Griffin, and it seems they do, then they should push in all their chips and play that hand.

The New York Giants gambled big during the 2004 draft. They paid a hefty price to acquire quarterback Eli Manning. Two Super Bowl championships later, it seems that worked out okay.

Regardless of who starts at quarterback next season, the Redskins probably won’t be very good. They have major concerns along the offensive line, at wide receiver and in the secondary. It’s time, though, for Washington to start building something for the long haul. No more potential quick-fix quarterbacks. The moment has arrived for the Redskins to plan well for their future.

You just can’t put a price on that.

For Jason Reid’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/reid.

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