(photo by Ezra Shaw)
Let me say this up front — when it comes to the Washington Redskins, I’m not someone who has ever encouraged the team’s eagerness to “win” the offseason.
I’ve played fantasy football since 1997,* but I’ve never had the desire to see an actual franchise run with the same frivolous mindset.
I’ve never gotten behind mortgaging the future or cutting corners to try and do the “quick fix.” I want my favorite football team to be a winner for more than one fluky season every few years.
I dream of the burgundy and gold being known outside of our nation’s capital as anything other than a doormat or laughingstock and pray that this franchise returns to glory so that my son can one day share in the joy that the Redskins brought me during my formative years.
*We actually had to fax in our waiver wire transactions to the league commissioner because not everyone in the league had access to a computer on a regular basis. That’s about as close to “back in my day we had to walk to school uphill in the snow both ways” as my stories get.
Which is why what I’m about to say next might seem so out of place — the Washington Redskins need Andrew Luck at any cost.
Sure, the Stanford standout is so talented that any team in the NFL would be lucky to have him, but I’d argue that no franchise in football needs a little Luck more than the Redskins.
Since it’s unlikely Washington will enter the 2012 NFL Draft with the first overall pick, that means the Redskins would need to make a trade to acquire the 6-foot-4 and 235 lb. quarterback.
And since Luck is widely viewed as a once-in-a-generation type of can’t-miss talent, I’m on board with Washington giving up as many as four first-round draft picks if that’s what it took to land the Houston, Texas, native. In the long run, I’m convinced he’s more than worth that steep price tag.
Now, this is the point where I lose some folks. It’s nice to have grandiose dreams of Luck suiting up in the burgundy and gold, but it’s another thing entirely to offer up nearly half a decade’s worth of top draft picks to seal the deal.
But that very well could be the price for the player widely considered the best prospect at the NFL’s most pivotal position since Peyton Manning or John Elway.
Look at it this way — the Redskins gave up two high draft picks to acquire 33-year-old Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2010 season. And while it was a different regime, Washington was also the franchise willing to pony up two first rounders for a past-his-prime Chad Ochocinco not too long ago.
Even if we remove the Redskins from the conversation, look at what the Chicago Bears were willing to give up to get Jay Cutler.
The Bears thought enough of the third-year pro to send first-round picks in 2009 (18th overall) and 2010, along with a third-round pick in ’09 and veteran Kyle Orton to Denver for the 25-year-old and a future fifth rounder.
Earlier this season, the Oakland Raiders traded away a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional first-round pick in 2013 for 31-year-old Carson Palmer.
There’s also the case of Eli Manning forcing his way out of San Diego, which led to the Chargers dealing him to the New York Giants in exchange for fellow rookie quarterback Philip Rivers, New York’s third-round selection in the same 2004 draft and their first and fifth-round picks in ’05.
The moral of the story is, franchise quarterbacks don’t come cheap. But that shouldn’t stop a team from grabbing one if they can.
While Cutler, Palmer and the younger Manning were all first rounders, none of them were as highly touted as Luck is. And let’s not forget — two of the three weren’t rookies when they became available.
Let me ask you, the reader, a simple question — if the Redskins could go back in time and offer the Indianapolis Colts four first-round picks for a rookie named Peyton Manning, would anyone in our nation’s capital object? Of course not.
Because the Colts, led by Manning, have been one of the league’s most consistent winners for more than a decade now. Their 141-67 regular season record with Manning is something ‘Skins fans can only dream of.*
*Washington went just 92-116 with only three winning seasons during the same span.
Prior to this season, the Colts have made the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years thanks to Peyton. Even if Manning misses the entire 2011 season recovering from neck surgery, his resume still includes: a Super Bowl trophy, Super Bowl MVP award, four NFL MVP awards, 11 trips to the Pro Bowl and, not to mention, franchise records for career wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns and pretty much everything else you can think of.
Even if Luck only accomplishes half of that in Washington, he’d still end his career as one of the most beloved sports figures D.C. has ever known. That’s why the Redskins front office should do everything in their power to land the 22-year-old.
Whichever team lands the top pick is obviously going to have some holes to fill in their lineup. An offer of four first-round picks would be awfully difficult to pass up — especially if the Redskins continue to plummet and finish the season with a top 10 pick.
A team like Indianapolis or Miami could drop a few spots in the draft, still get a quarterback if they’re so inclined and have plenty of ammunition to restock their roster.
Though the best-case scenario likely involves St. Louis with the first overall pick. They’re happy with quarterback Sam Bradford and would be much more likely to move out of the top spot for a bevy draft picks. So feel free to root against them from here on out. They’re still coming down from the high of the Cardinals’ World Series win, so they won’t mind.
The other argument I continue to hear is this — the Redskins clearly have more needs on offense than just a quarterback, so why take Luck if they don’t have anyone to block for him or catch his passes?
Again, let’s look at the Colts.
Last season, Manning and friends made the playoffs with a 10-6 record. This year, with virtually the same roster (minus an injured Manning), the Colts are 0-8. Indianapolis has plenty of holes, but a franchise quarterback as talented as Manning (or Luck) goes a long way toward masking those flaws.
If the Redskins were able to land Luck and then turn their attention to upgrading the pieces around him, they’d be a lot better off than rolling the dice with a lesser quarterback and using higher draft picks on the offensive line or receiver position.
Teams can build depth on the offensive line or at receiver with second- or third-round picks, but history shows it’s a whole lot tougher to find a franchise quarterback in the later rounds.
By simply adding Luck to the equation, the Redskins become leaps and bounds better overnight. Mike and Kyle Shanahan get to remain in place and actually benefit from having someone talented enough to execute their offense (as opposed to the two bums currently collecting paychecks).
That translates to stability and continuity to those players deemed worthy of keeping around, and just as importantly, it means the offense can actually put together a drive from time to time to lessen the burden on the defense. Simply having Luck on board can have that much of an impact throughout the entire franchise.
And lastly, is there a better candidate to coach someone considered the best quarterback to come out of college since Elway than the guy who coached Elway? I think not. Those two teamed up for two Super Bowl wins back in the day, so it would only be fitting to see what Luck could do under Shanahan.
That is why, for the first time in all my years as a Redskins fan, I truly hope the franchise does whatever is necessary to reclaim the title of “offseason champs.”
After 20 years of cheering for mediocre teams with a revolving door at quarterback, it’s past time Washington enjoyed a little good fortune.
November 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Four firsts is insane, but I’d probably give them three (’12, ’13, ’14) and LaRon Landry, of whom I have grown rather tired.
November 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm
Makes sense to me, but I’ve been a fan of Cleveland all my life. Picking up Kosar in the supplemental isn’t as costly as first rounders though. And with a name like Luck what could go wrong?
November 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Four firsts? I can’t help but seeing you with a ‘Mike Ditka trading all his picks for Ricky Williams while smoking a cigar all smug-like’ look.
November 2, 2011 at 12:48 am
Would have been easier just to tank from the get-go.
November 2, 2011 at 7:30 am
He’ll just get killed in DC and his career will be ruined just like every QB after Mark Rypien has and the Skins will have no draft picks. I’ve been complaining like others about the o-line for years. That’s where it all starts at. The once mighty “Hogs” are now the lowly “Turnstiles”.
November 2, 2011 at 7:48 am
Seriously, I am not interested in debating the skills and upside of Andrew Luck but do you think that drafting him would make this team any better? This team is so far from being functional and relevant. The thing that kills me as a life long Skins fan is that I do not see any hope for better days on the horizon. If Gibbs couldn’t get it done and Shanny can’t get it done what does that say?
Czabe said it best a couple years ago….you can overcome a bad draft pick, bad coaches only stick around a couple of years but a bad owner……that shit is for LIFE.
LETS GO CAPS
November 2, 2011 at 8:14 am
Wow. I agree with the concept. However, I recommend giving the 2 bums an opportunity this season. Stability at the position breeds success. I love this quote, “We didn’t tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking” — John McKay, USC
May be the answer is back to fundamentals. Great stuff BM.
November 2, 2011 at 9:41 am
There’s rumblings that Luck’s dad is going to pull a Eli and make the kid have a say in where he goes. Whether that would be a team in as much turmoil as the Skins is hard to say. Considering the huge number of holes this team has to fill I just can see the team giving up four first round choices for one guy…I don’t care if he can walk on water. In the intervening four years of lost draft choices who’s to say that some kid coming out of high school right now won’t better than Luck or in another vein be a sixth round choice Tom Brady type? Anyone remember Heath Schuler? Ryan Leaf? Desmond Howard? Just being first rounder and especially giving up four years worth is no reason to say he’s the answer.
November 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Great article, but I would have to say that Luck has no chance of being a Redskin. The Skins and about three other teams are dreaming of the same thing. The only two teams that have a legitimate chance to draft him are the Dolphins and Colts, look at their schedules compared to the Rams schedule. It gets easier the remainder of the season, so they will not be picking 1st. Also, if the Rams did draft him and trade him, I would think that they would trade him outside of the conference. Yes, Luck would be a major upgrade in DC, but I do not see it happening….Keep dreaming.
November 3, 2011 at 10:27 am
What’s really crazy is that I gave this exact same argument to some friends last weekend. I completely agree with you, a QB like this comes by once every 10-20 years. If we miss we miss, but we have to try to get a franchise QB that will be with us for 10-15 years and we can build a team around.
November 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm
Here’s the catch in your argument. Look at the 4 years of 1st round picks Indy had after drafting Peyton Manning.
1999 – Edgerrin James, RB
2000 – Rob Morris, LB
2001 – Reggie Wayne, WR
2002 – Dwight Freeney, DE
All 4 players were starters for several years and integral to the eventual success of the Colts. I understand your point about the importance of a QB like Luck, but I think your argument ignores the value of the picks that came after Manning.
November 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm
Im a little reluctant about giving up 4 1st rounders considering the recent history of our franchise but at the same time our lack of stability in this position is one of the biggest reasons for our lack of success. I wouldn’t mind giving up Cooley and two 1st and a second rounder. At the same time i believe that there are more Qbs in the draft that would also be an upgrade to the two clowns we have now.
November 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm
Luck’s neck-beard argues against any team selecting him in the draft. It is a simple fact that no player with a neck-beard has ever been selected to the hall of fame.
I urge selecting Landry Jones because he is tall and we can convert him to receiver if he doesn’t work out at QB.
In reply to the sad reality and factual arguments presented by McSkin30, I am forced to agree. I would be more than happy with any of the projected draftable QBs who complete 70% or better, can move, and who have at least 25 starts in college. Trading heaven and earth for one player is a bad idea unless your roster is already padded with talent by years of a competent GM exercising his craft. That is not our franchise.
November 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm
I would give up a lot for Luck. Our QBs get killed for slow release more often than not. Yes we need to add to the line and receivers. But having a truly mobile qb with a quick release and the ability to find almost any receiver on the field is too hard to pass up. As hankerson grows he will get better and back to his miami ways. We can add some young players through free agency too. Giving up 4 1st rounders is hard to swallow but in the end we can make due with our 2nd-4th rounders. Arguably Jarvis Jenkins would’ve been the best rookie from our draft this year. Kerrigan is great too. One a mid first round selection and the other a mid second round selection. A qb like luck would make our team better if nothing changed from this season to next season besides the QB position