Join me here for an NFL Draft live blog on Saturday and Sunday. We'll get started right around 4:00 on Saturday and again when the proceedings reconvene at 10:00 on Sunday.
Quarterbacks get Redskins fans buzzing. I write a post that is mostly about tackles and linebackers but most of the comments and emails I got were due to one paragraph about the possibility of the Redskins doing some wheeling and dealing to get in position to draft USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.
There is a lot about this that we don't know. In fact, there is a lot here the Redskins don't know. For that matter, the subject of all of this, Sanchez, doesn't know a heck of a lot more about this than we do. From SI.com:
"I think it's going to be an interesting week," Sanchez said."I have no idea what's going to happen. I really don't. In other drafts, the top seemed pretty clear a few days before the draft. Not this year."
It does seem obvious that the Redskins like Sanchez. That means that they're not thrilled with Jason Campbell, a conclusion we could draw from watching how frantically the Skins tried to get Jay Cutler.
I like Campbell, not just as a good guy but as a quarterback. I think that if he gets another year in Jim Zorn's system that he can be a very good QB. He will never be Payton Manning, maybe not even Eli, but he should be able to win on a team with a solid defense and a good running game.
However, you'll note that nothing above is stated with any degree of certainty. That's because there is no certainty about Campbell. He may be the solid signal caller he was during the 6-2 start or the real Campbell might be the one that led an impotent offense during the 2-6 season-ending skid. If he's something in between, that's not very good.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding Campbell, concern about the Redskins quarterback spot is very much a defensible position. Campbell's contract expires at the end of the year. If the labor issue is settled and the status quo remains he will be an unrestricted free agent. Should the cap go away he will be restricted. In either case, if he has a good year the Redskins may lose him. If he has a bad year they can just let him go and start from scratch at the most critical position on the field. (Let's not get into Colt Brennan. He's not the answer—too short and he has a funny delivery. And, at absolute best, Todd Collins would be a one-year stopgap.)
So, if you're concerned about the most important position on the field, what do you do? Do you let things play out and worry about it next year? Or do you go out and do something about it now?
The Cutler pursuit gave us evidence that the Skins would rather do something about it now. There is every reason to think that they are serious about trying to do something to get Sanchez.
And, usually, when the Redskins want something they find a way to make it happen.
But, in this case, they may not be able to. Sanchez is climbing up the boards and it may take a move into the top five in order for the Redskins to get him. And, looking at the draft point value chart, they can't do that without surrendering next year's number one pick and the word is that Daniel Snyder is drawing the line at giving up that pick.
So, is that the end of it? Probably, unless they can concoct this scenario devised by Peter King of SI.com. First he goes through a deal for the third overall pick, which belongs to the Chiefs, that is balanced in terms of the draft pick value chart. That would involve the Redskins giving up their first, third, and fifth picks this year and next year's number one.
But that formula doesn't take into account $34.8 million in guarantees and $12-million-a-year averages. What I think is fair for Washington, and for the team selling off Sanchez, is this: first- and third-round picks this year, and a second-rounder next year. Forget the points. It's just fair value.
I certainly respect King, but we've been hearing for years about how teams should take less to trade out of high picks in order to get out from under the huge contracts that you have to give unproven players there, but it never has happened. This scenario isn't something that King based on any information from inside sources; he just made it up. I'd have to rate the possibility of it happening as very slim.
As Sanchez said, however, the top of the draft remains very fluid. If Sanchez were to slip back to the eighth slot then all bets are off. The Redskins would have to give up just their pick at No. 13 and their third-round pick (or next year's second). I don't think there's any question that the Redskins would pull the trigger to make that happen if Sanchez still is on the board.
Would that be a good thing? Like any other deal there are pros and cons. The biggest factor against considering such a deal would be the opportunity cost. The Redskins would lose the chance to get a starting-quality player at one of their positions of need and other possible starters or quality depth with the lesser picks they would have to give up.
But if—and there's that uncertainty again—Sanchez turns out to be a stud NFL quarterback then whatever price the Redskins will have paid to get him will be utterly irrelevant. It will have been worth it.
My new book The Redskins Chronicle will be coming out soon. This book takes a unique and thorough look at Redskins history from when they moved to Washington in 1937 right through the 2008 season. Take a look at an excerpt and sign up to get notified when the book come out at RedskinsChronicle.com.