How The Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III Trade Has Shaped The Team
By Steve Herl
Things could have been different for the Washington Redskins had they not traded for Robert Griffin III.
On March 12, 2012, then Redskins general manager and current team president Bruce Allen sent a trade to the NFL offices for approval. This trade was the Redskins receiving the St. Louis Rams first round draft pick (second overall) and the Rams receiving the Redskins first round draft pick (sixth overall) and 2nd round draft pick (thirty ninth overall) in 2012, plus the Redskins 1st round picks in 2013 and 2014. The Rams parlayed those four picks into eight picks from which they currently have four quality starters, a defensive lineman, a cornerback, a linebacker and an offensive tackle. Everyone knows that with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Robert Griffin III.
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The Redskins have six major roster weakness in March of 2017 – two safeties, two inside linebackers, a defensive lineman and a running back. Imagine how different the roster would be if on it they had those picks back. Hypothetically, they could have had cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Janoris Jenkins, linebacker Alec Ogletree, and pass rusher Khalil Mack had they not agreed to make the deal. Kirk Cousins would be in his fifth year as the starting quarterback, the Redskins would have him locked up to a long term contract, they would not have signed Josh Norman and would be flush with cap space.
Almost assuredly, with three additional first round picks and a second round pick on the current roster the Washington Redskins would be better and deeper. In fact Mike Shanahan might still be the Head Coach with Kyle Shanahan serving as the Head Coach in waiting. Players would be excited to play for a team that had been in the playoffs for three straight years and had just lost in the NFC Championship Game. But of course, that is just speculation, because under this scenario football people would have been allowed to make football decisions. And that is not how the Redskins do business.
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Mike Shanahan is not the Redskins head coach because as he claims, RG3 was forced on him. When he and Kyle voiced their opinions about Griffin’s limitations they were ignored and then shown the door. In what appeared to be a concession of need, Dan Snyder and Allen brought Scot McCloughan onboard. They said they would let him make the player evaluations and handle the roster. His difficulties with alcohol were well known and “recovering alcoholic” is a term which acknowledges the struggle of addiction. Mr. Snyder and Mr. Allen knew that there may be ongoing issues.
It’s now March 10, 2017, some five years after the last big trade orchestrated by Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen. The roster is still scarred by the last big deal. Once again the Redskins have no football people involved in the ultimate decision. If they trade Cousins for anything less than this year’s second overall pick and the 49ers first round pick next year, they have failed again. If they keep Cousins for one more year and lose him to free agency in 2018 with nothing in return, they perpetuate the damage from 2012. Sadly, even signing Kirk to a long term deal now leaves the roster with holes.
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The Washington Redskins are where they are because of one person. It’s not Jay Gruden’s fault, it’s not Scot McCloughan’ s fault and it’s not Kirk Cousin’s fault. The Lerners have let Mike Rizzo build the Washington Nationals into an established organization and now they have become a consistent winner. This town loves the Nats, but it is still a Redskin City. Unless Dan Snyder starts letting real football people make real football decisions it may not last forever.