The trade of Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins is being hailed as a master stroke by many in the national and local media.
Peter King on SI.com wrote, "I have to hand it to Snyder and Cerrato. This was a very good trade for them."
King, a noted Skins basher, raved on:
The reason the Washington trade makes so much sense is that even if Taylor gives the 'Skins just two years, dealing the 51st pick (that was their second-rounder this year) for two seasons of a top-five pass-rusher would be worth it to any thinking football person.
The King article also goes into the timeline of the trade. From initial phone call to final paperwork, the process took a little over three hours.
On ESPN.com, John Clayton said:
For the Redskins, the price -- second- and sixth-round draft picks -- was worth it. Defensive end was their thinnest position. The first-day practice losses of Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee on Sunday left them with only nine healthy defensive linemen. Erasmus James is the 10th defensive lineman left on the roster, but he's on the physically unable to perform list recovering from years of knee problems.
I'm not sure from where Clayton got the number of nine for the healthy defensive linemen. After Sunday's injuries and before the Taylor trade there were 12 of them on the roster. Subtract James and that makes 11. Perhaps he's not counting Lorenzo Alexander, who worked mostly on offense last year but has been assigned to be a defensive tackle for the time being.
Locally, Mike Wise had this take:
This was big and bold -- back to the proactive days when rebuilding through the draft could not hold a candle to rebuilding on the fly, when Daniel Snyder saw a player he liked and promptly bought him.
And before anyone compares acquiring Taylor to throwing money away on Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith or Brandon Lloyd, let's be clear: After watching Daniels go down and out for the season -- and maybe his career -- and after watching a backup like Buzbee crumple to the ground in agony, this was a move the Redskins needed to make.
It was a move the Redskins needed to make, said Wise, because of the way they have handled the acquisition of talent on the D-line in the past:
If Taylor fizzles, the Redskins have to bite the bullet and realize they put themselves in this position long before Daniels went down.
By their own doing, they neglected real upgrades to the defensive line. Andre Carter was the only bona fide change the past five years. Demetric Evans and Anthony Montgomery have yet to realize their potential.
I disagree about Montgomery—I think that he took great leaps and bounds forward last year—but his overall point is valid.
To be clear, I don't necessarily think that they should have taken Calais Campbell or Quentin Groves in the second round of the draft. I stand by my point that the biggest problem this team has had this decade is scoring points, not preventing the other team from scoring.
Still, if one injury to a starter at one position forces you to make a trade that burns a second and a sixth and over $8 million in cap space you haven't done a very good job in building depth at that position. You can nitpick over what player should have been taken over which other player with a given draft pick, but having depth means that you have someone who can step in as a starter in the event of an injury. The Redskins, by their own admission, didn't have that depth.
Even David Elfin at the Times, who never has been accused of being a homer, liked the deal:
Q: Did the Redskins mortgage the future to make this move?
A: Not unless you consider a second-round draft choice in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010 plus a lot of salary cap room consumed this year and next mortgaging the future. If Taylor makes a smooth switch from the right side to the left, it seems like a no-brainer.
I don't know about the characterization as a no-brainer, but Vinny Cerrato and company certainly acted as though it was one. No doubt, however, it was a bold move and like most bold moves it's likely that it will prove to be either a master stroke or a colossal blunder.
Time will tell.