On Sunday, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III made his first NFL appearance in Cleveland. Though he didn’t actually play in Cleveland, the fact that he doesn’t play for Cleveland could end up claiming the job of G.M. Tom Heckert.
Per a league source, if Heckert gets fired (and a final decision has not yet been made), the primary reason will be the failure of the Browns to trade up from No. 4 in the draft to No. 2 in the draft in order to get Griffin.
In the past, former Browns president Mike Holmgren has blamed the inability to get Griffin on the familiarity of the Rams and the Redskins; the two coaches are close friends, as are Washington G.M. Bruce Allen and Rams COO Kevin Demoff. But that won’t matter to the new regime in Cleveland, where Jimmy Haslam is the owner and Joe Banner serves as CEO. The Browns could have had Griffin, and the Browns in hindsight should have applied foresight in a manner that would have prompted them to move from No. 4 to No. 2 to get Griffin in lieu of inching up from No. 4 to No. 3 to get running back Trent Richardson. (At a minimum, it could be argued that the Browns should have called Minnesota’s bluff, standing pat at No. 4 and assuming Richardson would be available there.)
The Browns had the ability to get Griffin. They were the only team in the bidding with two 2012 first-round draft picks. Plus, moving from No. 2 to No. 4 would have been worth much more to the Rams than dropping to No. 6.
Though no one knows what will happen with Heckert, here’s the one thing we can currently say with a reasonable degree of certainty. If Heckert goes, it’ll happen because Griffin didn’t come to Cleveland.