I think I speak for the majority of Redskins nation on this one. Bold statement, I know, but there's no denying that Robert Griffin III is far and away the better option to start under center in 2012 than Peyton Manning.
It's no surprise that Manning's name turned up in the Redskins free-agent rumor mill.
It was inevitable, really. With the Redskins in such dire straits at the quarterback position and Manning, who has thrown just shy of 55,000 yards in his career and is easily one of the most prolific passers of all time seemingly on his way out of Indianapolis, there was no doubt that the Redskins would try and target him in free agency.
If we were talking about Manning prior to four neck surgeries, it might be a different story. But just weeks away from his 36th birthday and what seems to be a deteriorating situation in terms of his recovery, Manning is just not the hot ticket he might have been a year or two ago.
Most importantly, there's a young quarterback by the name of Robert Griffin III to consider.
In his junior year at Baylor, Griffin went from relative obscurity to college legend, snatching the Heisman from the likes of Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson along the way. Griffin's intelligent, amicable, lighting fast and has a cannon for an arm.
In short, he's everything an NFL coach could want in a future quarterback and therein lies the operative term—future.
The Redskins have earned the M.O. of being a retirement destination for superstars who are past their prime and looking to receive a big pay off for mediocre performance. It's been that way for years as Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb have all filed through the tunnel at FedEx field during the twilight of their careers.
RG3 is the future. He's a 21st century signal caller. What he could do for the Redskins is essentially provide the proverbial shot of adrenaline that this franchise needs before it utterly implodes.
He's everything that DC has wanted and needed in a quarterback for years. He possesses all the requisite qualities of a born and bred leader, someone who can carry the mantle of "franchise player" with humility and class.
The Redskins have to draw a line in the sand and across that line, Peyton Manning, you do not cross.
As fans of the game, we all wish the best for Manning and hope that he lands somewhere and ends his career on a high note. It just won't be in DC.
For those of you who are still on the fence as to whether or not Griffin is worth what the Redskins would inevitably have to give up to get him, I tell you now that he is.
Of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL last year, only three were drafted outside of the first-round. There's no coincidence here, no voodoo or magic algorithm at work to make this happen. It's a matter of drafting talent when it's available and talent like what RG3 possesses doesn't come around too often.
The Redskins can't hope to find a comfortable middle ground. The idea of signing a stop-gap player like Kyle Orton or Matt Flynn seems fine on the surface but in actuality, all the Redskins would be doing is perpetuating the already tiresome cycle that has come to define the quarterback situation in Washington.
Leaders are proactive, they move boldly and with defined purpose. If there is an opportunity to take Griffin and put him under center come September then Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen need to pull the trigger.
He needs to be here in 2012.
If the Redskins were to roll the dice on Manning, I'm scared it would signal the end of his career. We all watched McNabb roll into town shouldering huge expectations of him bringing his winning ways down from Philadelphia.
We expected a plug and play scenario where, on the strength of his talent alone, the Redskins would suddenly transform into an NFC contender.
It didn't happen and the negative spinoff from that episode seemed to follow McNabb to Minneapolis where things got even worse for him.
I'd hate to see the same thing happen to Manning. If any of you believe in signs, as I do, I think the message is clear that we need someone young and entirely different leading the huddle.
There isn't anyone in the draft this year better suited to do that than Griffin.
Sure, there are other options in the draft. Ryan Tannehill is good if you don't mind that he only has 19 college starts under his belt. Brandon Weeden is a legitimate prospect if you can get past the fact that he's a ripe 28 and is about as immobile as it gets at the quarterback position.
The point is, there is far too much talk of compromising or seeking a middle road to solve the issue that currently exists at quarterback. There is no easy or comfortable solution, here. No secretive play to be made. RG3 is far and away the best option and if it requires a certain amount of sacrifice, either financially or with regard to personnel, then so be it.
Manning can't help us. He's been far too good over the course of his long career to risk ending on a sour note in Washington like so many like him have done before.
April 26 is fast approaching and the Redskins brass should know what needs to happen. Regardless of what Manning does, let him float on and land elsewhere. Shanahan need not concern himself with him.
There's always inherent risk involved with anything this big. Shanahan's future—the Redskins' future—will largely be defined by what happens in the 2012 draft. If there was ever a time to make a strong move for a draft prospect, the time is now.
Forget the middle-road and the easy compromise—Robert Griffin III is the quarterback of the future. What could be worth more than that?
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