The Washington Redskins like Robert Griffin III so much that they gave up far more for the right to draft him than teams have typically had to trade away to secure franchise quarterbacks in the NFL draft.
Washington will send St. Louis its first- and second-round picks this year and first-round picks for 2013 and 2014, all to get the second overall pick this year from the Rams. That’s a huge haul for the Rams and a huge sign that the Redskins think very, very highly of Griffin.
Consider this: The Redskins just agreed to give up far more for Griffin than the Giants gave up to acquire first overall pick Eli Manning in 2004, or the Falcons traded to move up to take Michael Vick first overall in 2001. In 2004 the price for Manning was two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick. In 2001, the price for Vick was one first-round pick, one second-round pick, one third-round pick and Tim Dwight.
Although a team trading away three first-round picks is not unprecedented, it is extremely rare: It hasn’t happened since the famous Cowboys-Vikings Herschel Walker trade in 1989.
In terms of the value given up for one quarterback, the most similar trade in NFL history to Friday night’s Redskins-Rams deal may have been the 1976 trade that sent Jim Plunkett from the Patriots to the 49ers for two first-round picks that year, a first- and second-round pick the following year and a backup quarterback named Tom Owen. That trade did not work out well for the 49ers, although Plunkett would later be the starting quarterback on two Super Bowl-winning Raiders teams.
The Redskins-Rams deal will go down as one of the most significant trades in NFL history. What we don’t yet know is whether Griffin will lead the Redskins to multiple Super Bowls as Eli Manning has the Giants, or whether this trade will be viewed more like the Herschel Walker trade, as it allows the Rams to stockpile talent and win Super Bowls. Or maybe both.