“If you have the right guy,” former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said, “it’s always worth it. If you have a quarterback, you always have a chance.”
During the week following his 320-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Redskins' 40-32 opening victory, superlatives have been heaped upon Griffin. Now, as he aims to provide an encore performance, Sunday afternoon’s game in St. Louis provides an opportunity to revisit the blockbuster deal in which the Rams sent the Redskins the pick that allowed them to select Griffin second overall in April’s NFL draft.
“At the time, I thought it was a lot to give up, but not too much,” Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon said during the week. “I never thought it was like they [the Redskins] got robbed in that trade or anything. It is a lot. But good quarterbacks are hard to find, and you need to have one. If you have a chance to get one, you have to do it. They haven’t had a great one there for a long time.”
A blueprint for the trade
To move up from sixth to second in the draft order — guaranteeing the chance to draft Griffin or Stanford’s Andrew Luck — the Redskins gave the Rams the sixth pick and a second-round choice in this year’s draft, plus first-round selections in 2013 and 2014.
It was a steep price. By comparison, when the New York Giants traded for top pick Eli Manning in 2004, they sent the San Diego Chargers the fourth overall pick (Philip Rivers) and their third-round selection, plus their first- and fifth-round selections in the following year’s draft.
“When the [Redskins-Rams] trade happened,” said Hasselbeck, now an NFL analyst for ESPN, “my immediate reaction was if he’s not the real deal, then this will be devastating. ■I said if they’re wrong, this is going to set them so far back that it’s going to be really painful.”
But as Hasselbeck pointed out, the price for getting the right quarterback is almost never considered too steep. The Chargers did well in the Manning deal, eventually using the picks they received to draft or trade for linebacker Shawne Merriman, place kicker Nate Kaeding and offensive tackle Roman Oben to go with Rivers. But Rivers has yet to win a Super Bowl in San Diego while Manning has won two with the Giants, so no complaints are heard in New York.
Rams General Manager Les Snead said in a telephone interview late in the week: “We inflated the Philip Rivers-Eli Manning trade. That was our asking price. The Redskins met it.”
Snead said the trade happened in March rather than closer to the draft because the quarterback-needy teams to which the Rams were talking were eager to know whether they could count on getting Luck or Griffin or would need to focus instead on pursuing a free agent.