Despite a commonly held belief that they are only a quarterback away from being an elite team, the Washington Redskins have more than a few holes to fill. They certainly do require a quality passer, but could also use an elite wideout for him to throw to. Then there's the need for a shutdown corner and a marquee offensive lineman.
After posting only 11 wins in two seasons, Mike Shanahan could use a high-profile trade or two to revitalise his rebuilding efforts and maybe even save his job. A talented but temperamental flanker like Santonio Holmes or Brandon Marshall could be the answer to the need for a playmaking receiver.
Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen could even pursue a smart inter-divisional trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, to secure the services of a ball hawk like Asante Samuel. The following are seven ideal trade scenarios that would help the Redskins compete in the NFC.
Lance Briggs seems to have wanted out of Chicago for some time. Prior to the start of last season, Briggs reportedly asked for a trade after not receiving a raise in pay. With the issue seemingly still unresolved, Briggs could be shipped out of the Windy City.
The Redskins could definitely use a player of Briggs' ability. He is a speedy, sideline-to-sideline linebacker who makes plenty of plays. The 6'1", 244-pound, nine-year veteran has the size and experience to fit in well in the middle of Washington's 3-4 front.
Pairing Briggs together with London Fletcher would give the Redskins two intelligent and resourceful playmakers at the heart of their defense. The big plays and turnovers Briggs could create would be well worth the Redskins surrendering a second-round pick to the Bears.
The Redskins were reportedly interested in Santonio Holmes last offseason. The prolific pass catcher has had his share of problems in New York recently. Holmes has been cited as one of the more divisive figures in a Jets locker room full of warring factions. The 27-year-old Super Bowl 43 MVP is said to be at odds with Gang Green quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Given the issues surrounding Holmes, the Redskins could look to tempt the Jets with fourth- and fifth-round selections. The Redskins own two picks in the fourth round and could offer the 110th choice.
Acquiring Holmes would finally give the Redskins an elite wideout with legitimate playmaking skills. His sure hands, precise route running and deceptive vertical speed would increase the big play potential of the entire Washington offense.
The Jets recently indicated that Holmes is likely to stay in 2012. But with an ageing roster and not much cap room, the Jets could be convinced into performing a u-turn, if it meant stockpiling additional picks to help improve the depth of the team.
Asante Samuel would be a superb acquisition for the Redskins. He has a wealth of 3-4 experience from his days with the New England Patriots and is a prolific ball hawk who specialises in big plays.
Washington's defense must create more turnovers and nobody does that better than Samuel who is a master of off coverage techniques, anticipating routes and throws and breaking on the ball. He is a more consistent version of what current starter DeAngelo Hall should be.
Samuel has been linked with a trade several times in the last year. The 31-year-old has indicated that he wants to remain an Eagle, but he commands a large salary. Samuel is due to make in excess of $20 million during 2012 and 2013.
With Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also in the fold, the Eagles could be tempted into clearing some vital cap space and receiving two valuable mid-round draft picks. This would be a small price for the Redskins to pay in order to get the game-changing ability Samuel would offer.
The Minnesota Vikings are thought to be willing to trade the third overall pick in the draft and the Redskins will seriously explore any possibility that helps them move a step closer to drafting an elite quarterback.
Moving into the No. 3 slot is one such scenario which could appeal to Shanahan and Allen. With the Indianapolis Colts almost certain to take Andrew Luck with the first selection and the St. Louis Rams already having Sam Bradford under center, the Redskins would be in a great position to take Robert Griffin III with the third pick.
It may take as much as the Redskins' first- and third-round choices to convince the Vikings to deal, but that could be less than what the Rams might want for the second slot. The downside to this trade would be that the Redskins would risk leaving the door open for another team, like the Cleveland Browns, to trade with the Rams and snag Griffin III just ahead of them.
Putting together a trade package to land Brandon Marshall would snag the Redskins a genuine playmaker at wide receiver, by reuniting Marshall with the coach who drafted him, Mike Shanahan.
Marshall is as dynamic and productive as any receiver in the game when he's on form. But the talented wideout doesn't always play hard and has had his share of issues in Miami. Marshall hasn't delivered the numbers the Dolphins were expecting and has gone public with his desire to be joined by a top-notch quarterback.
But the 6'4", 230-pounder can be physically dominant and would give the Redskins passing game a big target. He enjoyed consecutive 100-plus catch seasons playing for Shanahan with the Denver Broncos in 2007 and 2008. So maybe the current Redskins head coach is the ideal man to bring the best out of Marshall.
This scenario is almost certainly the stuff of dreams, but any deal that would bring outstanding left tackle Ryan Clady to D.C. would be brilliant for the Redskins. The Denver Broncos stalwart is arguably the finest young offensive lineman in the league and he would immediately upgrade a suspect Redskins front five.
Shanahan drafted Clady while he was with the Broncos and remains enamoured with the skillful blindside protector. The 25-year-old is an accomplished technician with the athleticism and quickness to act as the fulcrum of Shanahan's renowned zone blocking schemes.
The coach's attempts to find another player like Clady in the form of 2010 fourth overall pick Trent Williams haven't exactly come to fruition. Williams could slide over to right tackle and make room for Clady to solidify the most important spot on the line.
Any such deal for Clady would have to involve multiple draft choices. A combination of second-, third-, fourth- or fifth-round picks this year and maybe even a first rounder in 2013 might be enough to convince the Broncos to part ways with Clady. After years of inept offensive line play, few Redskins fans could argue that Clady wouldn't be worth such a ransom.
If the Redskins are serious about taking Baylor sensation Robert Griffin III, then the safest way to ensure doing so would be to trade with the St. Louis Rams and secure the second overall pick in the draft.
There has certainly been plenty of speculation linking the Redskins to a trade in order to get Griffin. Certain rumours even suggest that Shanahan's friendship with new Rams coach Jeff Fisher, makes a deal even more likely.
If Shanahan truly believes that his team is close to being a contender, that would imply that the supporting cast is strong enough to supplement a rookie quarterback. If Shanahan sticks to his word about rebuilding the Redskins the "right way" and a taking a five-year approach, then he can make the time to develop a rookie signal-caller and justify what would surely be a hefty trade to get him.