Saturday afternoon, the Washington Redsksins completed a trade with the New Orleans Saints for former Pro Bowl left tackle, Jammal Brown.
If the Eagles gets a third rounder because McNabb plays well, the Saints get the Redskins' fourth rounder, and vice versa if McNabb plays poorly.
UPDATE: It was reported after the writing of this article that the Redskins will also receive a conditional late round pick from the Saints. Also, if Brown plays 90 percent of the snaps or makes the Pro Bowl, the Saints receive an additional 6th round pick from the Redskins.
Initial reaction: The Redskins don't have a third or a fourth-round pick in 2011 and Vinny Cerrato isn't in charge?
On a second glance, however, it looks like the Redskins are in it to win it in 2010 with a talented, but aging, Pro Bowl caliber roster including McNabb, Brown, Portis, and a bevy of other free agents—including many on defense.
These additions may not all be top tier players anymore but will certainly contribute to an overhaul from the West Coast Offense and 4-3 defense, and will provide depth on a team that has longed for it—especially on the offensive line.
Redskins' fans may be reading this through jaded eyes because of my recent Haynesworth article , so let me be clear.
This is a good trade for Washington.
But, understand one thing.
Drew Brees got Jammal Brown to the Pro Bowl, not the other way around.
Anyone reading this article with a modicum of athletic talent could protect Drew Brees blind side.
In the time it took me to look up modicum to make sure I was using it right, Drew Brees could have thrown nearly a hundred passes. The Saints' signal caller has a lightning quick release that Jim Zorn has naughty dreams over and decision making not seen this side of Joe Montana.
In short, he makes everyone look good.
That doesn't mean Brown is bad.
He isn't, and the Redskins got a steal.
Plus, the coup de grace of the Brown trade is that it improves multiple spots on the line.
Artis Hicks—who I feel is the most unheralded and underrated addition to the Redskins this season—gets to move to a RG position where he can excel, leaving Mike Williams to fight for a position and drive him that much further.
To be honest, if Mike Williams cracks the starting lineup, he could be the best Redskins' lineman this season. Not saying it will happen, just saying that he has the raw, natural talent to make it so.
A stronger five man front is necessary to further help the development of rookie Trent Williams, who is athletic, but anything but a sure thing at left tackle—a position he only played one (mediocre) year of college ball at.
Brown becomes, in my opinion, the best run blocker on the Redskins' offensive line and may be better than expected in the zone blocking scheme—a new system, but one he fits perfectly. His ability to block on that second level will be the difference between three yard runs and 10 yard runs for that offense.
The Redskins, as a whole, become a much better rushing team with Brown and Hicks (or Williams). Derrick Dockery and Casey Rabach are both decent linemen, but neither are the type of hog a coach can feel comfortable running behind on third-and-one.
Now, the right side of the line is further legitimized by the addition of Brown.
Furthermore, Brown's pass protection deficiencies (which would be highlighted by McNabb's tendency to roll away from even the slightest pressure) will be negated on the right side where he will often have Chris Cooley or Fred Davis protecting him.
In spite of all of this, a chance exists that Trent Williams—again, not a sure thing as much as a prospect with ridiculous upside—flames out in training camp.
If that happens, the Redskins will simply flip the two and protect Williams that much more on the right side.
A great move all around.
Except for that draft pick thing.
Although these moves look like gold now, anytime big free agents splashes or trades for veterans are a core part of a rebuilding plan, things can end pretty badly (see: Antwaan Randle-El, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter, Albert Haynesworth...)
Now, this is Bruce Allen's first year in Washington, so the hope exists that this is just a first year overhaul and not his normal modus operandi.
Jettisoning your mid-round picks is fine once in a while when you can get top talent that fits your system like McNabb and Brown, but do it too often and your team is left right where the Redskins have been for a decade.
Afterthoughts in the NFC East.
But, rather than taking any more time to contemplate Allen's blueprint, know this: The Redskins just acquired a solid offensive tackle in his prime who can do a lot to help the entire offensive line, and solidifies a position group that has been among the shallowest in football since the first time Jon Jansen got up holding a limb.
The Redskins are better on Saturday than they were on Friday, and in football, that means a lot.