The Washington Post

The Redskins have three ways to solve their quarterback problem. Which is best?

Peyton Manning would be a huge improvement over the Redskins’ current starting quarterback, Rex Grossman. But Manning is old for a football player. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / ASSOCIATED PRESS )

The first game of the National Football League (NFL) season is still six months away, but this is an important time for the Washington Redskins.

The team has to decide what to do about its quarterback. The Redskins have three choices. They can: (1) try to sign free agent quarterback Peyton Manning; (2) make a deal to draft star college quarterback Robert Griffin III; or (3) stand pat and build their team through the NFL draft.

It’s not an easy decision. Let’s take a closer look at the three options.

Sign Peyton Manning. Manning is a terrific quarterback. He has thrown for more than 54,000 yards and 399 touchdowns in his 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Manning would be a huge improvement over the Redskins’ current starting quarterback, Rex Grossman. But Manning turns 36 years old this month. That’s old for a football player. In addition, Manning missed the 2011 season with a serious neck injury.

I might be tempted to sign Manning if the all the Redskins needed to be a Super Bowl team was a better quarterback. But the Redskins also need stronger offensive linemen, bigger wide receivers and help in the defensive backfield. Because Manning couldn’t solve all the Redskins’ problems, I think they should pass on signing him.

The Redskins would probably have to trade several draft picks to get Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who looks like he’s going to be a star. (Tony Gutierrez /ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Deal for Griffin. Griffin looks like he’s going to be a star. Last season while playing for Baylor University, he won the Heisman Trophy, completing more than 72 percent of his passes and throwing for 36 touchdowns during the regular season. Griffin also ran for nine touchdowns.

The Redskins have the sixth pick in the upcoming NFL college draft. But Griffin is expected to be picked before then, so the Redskins would probably have to trade several draft picks to get a higher spot in the draft to get the highly prized Griffin.

In 2004, the New York Giants made a similar deal to draft quarterback Eli Manning (Peyton’s younger brother). In Manning’s eight seasons with New York, he has led the Giants to the playoffs five times and won two Super Bowls. If the Redskins are convinced Griffin is another Eli Manning, they should work out a deal to get him. But they need to hope he doesn’t turn out to be JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn (two first-round quarterbacks who didn’t turn out so great).

Build through the draft. As I said, the Redskins need help at several positions. They could use their draft picks to improve their offensive and defensive lines instead of getting one big star. Football is a team game. Quarterbacks don’t win games by themselves. They need good blockers to give them time to throw and sure-handed receivers to catch their passes.

Finding players through the draft takes time and may not be the most glamorous way to build a team, but it may be the ticket to success for the long-losing Redskins.

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 17 sports books for kids, including two football books: “Quarterback Season” and “Touchdown Trouble.”

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