Looking back at the trade that wasn't: RGIII


As of about a month ago, my office has been relocated to Washington D.C.  Although I still live in Baltimore, I make the nice long hour plus commute every morning.  As anyone who reads my columns knows, I very truly enjoy listening to local sports talk radio.  My commute to D.C. has opened my ears to a new market and it has been quite enjoyable.

Washington D.C. and Baltimore are two incredibly different cities.  D.C. has a very corporate and political feel to it while Baltimore has a thriving blue collar working class culture.  One thing is true of both cities; they live and die by their NFL teams.  Since I began working down here I really started enjoying the Redskins talk, especially of that concerning RG3.  RG3 is a special talent who quickly stole the hearts of all ‘skins fans. 

As a diehard Browns fan I know how close we were to landing RG3.  Following the college bowl season, he was a player whom I really wanted.  A guy that could immediately improve a teams win total, I however did not view him as a franchise saver and felt that the Browns couldn’t give up too much for him.  As we know the ‘skins made the deal and the Browns ended up with the luxury of drafting Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Mitchell Schwartz and Josh Gordon (those picks as well as next year’s number one likely would have been needed to secure the Rams pick).

Something unique has happened in my month of morning commutes.  When it began everyone was in love with RG3.  He was already being referred to as a Hall of Famer and one guy even said he had Peyton Manning’s passing and leadership ability, but with legs.  Then after the gimmick had been played out and NFL defenses started getting game film on him everything came to a screeching halt.  I still believe that RG3 has the potential to be an excellent player, but the title of the savior of the Redskins franchise is quickly disappearing.

What Dan Snyder failed to realize in his trade up for RG3 is that one player cannot turn around a franchise without a little help.  Now local radio hosts are beginning to talk about how the Redskins will be unable to bring in top of the draft talent to Washington for years to help RG3 out.  They have to depend on developing less heralded talent or overpaying for free agents.

This is 100% the reason why I am happy the Browns did not make a trade involving that many draft picks for RG3.  The inability to build through the draft would set the Browns back more than they already are.  It also is quite a risky move to trade that much for a QB with a skill set that hasn’t been consistently successful in the NFL.  For every Randall Cunningham and Steve Young there are more Akili Smith’s and Vince Young’s.

If the Browns were in the same situation as the Redskins there wouldn’t be a whole lot of hope.  RG3 would be fun to watch, but there would be none of the guys who I mentioned earlier there to support his development.   And there would be no way to find players of that potential in the draft for about three seasons; seriously inhibiting his development.  For RG3’s sake, I hope the ‘skins figure it out and are able to build around him.  I am happy the Browns used their draft picks to stockpile some talent that may help build a winner.  Its nice knowing that all that talent wasn’t traded a way to bring in one player with tremendous upside, but a lot of risk.


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