Today in the National Football League you need a quarterback to reach the ultimate prize of the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Redskins, they've gone far too long without a signal-caller that fans can consistently count on. Many fans have already circled the date in their calendar—April 26th, the day the Redskins draft their franchise quarterback.
His name will be Robert Griffin III.
But...what if he's not available by the sixth pick and the Redskins aren't able to trade up for him? Then what?
I highly doubt Mike Shanahan has is going "all-in" on drafting Griffin. Of course he has a backup plan in case that's not an option.
In Shanahan's coaching career he's acquired quarterbacks every way imaginable. Whether that was signing a veteran Jake Plummer, trading up in the draft to select Jay Cutler, or by trading for an aged veteran in Donovan McNabb. Shany never shies away from making moves for a quarterback.
So in the scenario where Griffin isn't available (which presumably means neither is Andrew Luck), what are the Redskins' options?
This is probably the best case scenario for the Burgandy and Gold. In a league where you can't touch the quarterback or receiver, the Redskins don't really have either. Plan B would solve both problems.
Whether they draft Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State, Michael Flloyd from Notre Dame or Alshon Jeffery from SC, this would help the Skins receiving team which boasts an aging Santana Moss on his last years.
Note: Depending which of the three (or if all of them) are available at the sixth overall pick, you may see the Skins trade back to still select the receiver they actually want.
With RG3 and Luck off the board, that would leave Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill as the best quarterback left.
Tannehill will have surgery on his broken foot, which will require him to miss the senior bowl and most likely the rookie combine as well. If everything goes perfectly, he may heal in time to have private workouts in March before the April draft.
If the injury in any way hurts Tannehill's stock, he may slip down the draft board farther than expected, which would give the Skins a chance to trade back into the first round to nab him. They may have to trade away a 2013 first-round pick, but that would at the very least give them a quarterback to start grooming in 2012.
Believe it or not, this is more risky than drafting a rookie quarterback.
Two things you already know—Green Bay's Matt Flynn is a free agent this offseason and had a historic game against the Lions in Week 17.
Here's why I think it is risky—with a veteran quarterback, he's going to get a big contract with a lot of guaranteed money, whereas the new rookie salary cap allows you to draft a young stud for much cheaper.
The last two quarterbacks who were able to cash-in with a short resume were Matt Schaub when he went from Atlanta to Houston, and Kevin Kolb who left Philadelphia to play in Arizona.
Schaub was given a six-year, $48 million contract by the Houston Texans after starting only two games in his three-year stint in Atlanta. His numbers were considerably lower than Flynn’s, but scouts really liked his mechanics and pocket presence.
Kolb received a five-year, $63 million contract last year after he was traded to Arizona. Although it is pretty early to give him a final grade, this move is looking more like a bust. Especially after he went 3-6 as a starter this year.
There’s no guarantee that Flynn won’t bust no matter where he ends up, but he’s a safe backup plan for the Skins.
There are capable backup quarterbacks all over the league that need the right system, right coaching and right environment to succeed—players like Joe Webb, Caleb Hanie and Colt McCoy, who aren’t in glamorous positions and have shown signs of talent in recent years.
The Cleveland Browns are the top candidate to draft RG3 ahead of the Redskins. They don’t have a lot of money invested in the former Texas Longhorn, which would give them an opportunity to cut or trade them if they decide to move on from him.
Hanie was tasked with leading a stale Bears offense after Jay Cutler went down, and so did Matt Forte soon after. He is a raw talent that could start in the league. Give him a better running game and a receiving safety-valve like Fred Davis, and we could see your next starting quarterback.
Webb is a great athlete and nobody can deny that. Lining everywhere from running back to receiver, if given a system that he can show off his arm, he could be the running quarterback that the Skins have never really had.
All of these options would come considerably cheaper than Matt Flynn or any other big-name veteran quarterbacks. And considering the Skins’ luck with signing veterans, maybe it is time for a youth movement anyway.
Calm down reader, this is Plan E for a reason. We all know how this works out, but in the event that the Redskins can’t execute any previous plan, this is the next best option.
Or are you okay with another year of Rex Grossman?
Understandably, neither is a good situation. But there are viable options out there that you could trade for in the event you want to give Grossman the boot for sure.
Veterans like David Carr, Matt Leinart and Matt Moore are all players who are probably past their prime, but can at least hold your team over for one more year while you wait to draft Matt Barkley or Landry Jones.
At the end of the day, the Redskins need to aim for RG3. It may take trading ahead of the Browns to do so, but it’ll be worth it.
In the past decade, the Skins have not been able to draft such a high-quality signal-caller like him, and he’s a player that can finally turn this franchise around.
Yes, you can break the bank, trade three first-round draft picks to go grab Luck. But that is a lot of picks to put in one guy. I’d argue that’s more risky than when the Saints traded away a whole draft for Ricky Williams.