Long in search of a dynamic quarterback with a Super Bowl upside, the Redskins are reportedly trading three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick for the right to move into position to select Baylor's Robert Griffin III on April 26.
It is an earthquake-sized deal. St. Louis has a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, a former first pick in the draft overall. The Rams, coming off a miserable 2011 season, have been able to parlay the strength of the second pick to move back to No. 6 overall, add a second-round draft pick this year, and bring in first-round draft picks in 2013 and 2014.
Reportedly, of course.
The downside is minimal for the Rams. But for Washington, of course, the risk is substantial. Overwhelming, even, if you consider the drastic cost.
Washington is making its move as head coach Mike Shanahan looks to compete for a Super Bowl over the course of the next few seasons before he rides into the sunset. The Redskins are expected to be big spenders in free agency and will look to fortify the offense at the skill positions and along the offensive line.
What does this mean for the Eagles? Many things. The Redskins are NFC East rivals and they've struggled for many years in a division dominated by Philadelphia and New York. Washington's offense has not kept pace with its defense, and this is a chance to ignite that side of the football with the dynamic Griffin.
Who knows if there is a free agent-to-be or two on the current Eagles roster who might interest the Redskins? Could this be an opportunity for Washington to revert to its previous ways and throw the free-agent market out of whack?
Furthermore, the Redskins are making an enormous risk-vs.-reward move here. If it pays off, would other teams, including the Eagles, take notice in what we all know is a copycat league? Will the Redskins, by virtue of moving into position to take a quarterback who has playmaking skills with his arm and legs, force a counter move by the Eagles as they build a defense that has a couple of obvious needs?
The thinking all along in the weeks that have passed is that the Eagles would take a more conservative approach in this offseason and first address their own roster and then wade into free agency judiciously. That is just guesswork from this perspective and we are all going to find out together in a short couple of days just what the Eagles have in mind, but you wonder how NFL front offices react when a big trade is made. There is admiration, sure, that both the Rams and Redskins got it done. No doubt every general manager in the league is sitting back weighing the merits of the deal.
The Eagles took some lengthy risks last year with a bunch of moves, including the trade of quarterback Kevin Kolb for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the free-agent signing splurge, the approach in the draft to take a 27-year-old offensive tackle and make him a guard in round one.
Some of the moves were master strokes and some didn't have the positive impact the Eagles hoped they would have. All of the moves, of course, play into the current roster and the outlook for 2012 and beyond.
How much is the risk worth the reward? For the Redskins, if they take Griffin and he becomes a franchise quarterback for the next decade and wins a Super Bowl, the price was fair. Isn't anything less than that considered a bad deal for Washington, when it is all said and done?
There is a certain amount of risk in every roster move. Taking a college kid and projecting him into a man's game is inherently a risk. Spending huge dollars on a player who was successful in one football scheme with the idea that he will be just as good, or better, in another scheme is another ultimate risk.
After an 8-8 season in 2011, one that Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie labeled as "the most disappointing season since I've owned the team," how much risk do the Eagles take to make a Super go at it in the September through January?
We're bystanders watching the Rams work out a trade with the Redskins. What remains on the horizon? What do the Eagles have up their sleeves to get this team pointed in the right direction? Do they play it safe, or do they again go for broke?
Risk vs. reward. It is at the forefront of every move in the NFL right now.