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Steep price of trading up can be worthwhile

Sometimes trading up is the right thing to do. Sometimes trading up is brilliant. Sometimes trading up helps win a Super Bowl.

Or two.

If the Dolphins were to have doubts they can fill their quarterback situation the hard way -- the right way, in my opinion -- by trading up to get Robert Griffin III for example, all they have to do for affirmation is look at what the New York Giants did in 2004 with Eli Manning.

Manning, you'll recall, was supposed to be the No. 1 overall selection of the 2004 draft. But the San Diego Chargers held that pick and the Manning clan made clear to the Chargers they didn't want to be in Southern Cal. (Who knows, maybe Eli didn't like Mexican food or something). Well, the Chargers picked Manning anyway, but only because they had a trade already executed with with the New York Giants, who had picked Phillip Rivers with the No. 4 overall pick.

Basically the Giants traded away their No. 1 pick in 2004 (Rivers), their No. 1 pick in 2005 (turned out to be Shawne Merriman), their third-round pick in 2004 (turned out to be K Nick Kaeding) and their fifth-round pick in 2005.

So two firsts, a third and a fifth for the top overall selection.

It was considered a treasure trove of picks then. Today, it is considered a wise investment for the Giants, who have won two Super Bowl titles the past four years with Manning as their quarterback.

So I turn your attention to the coming draft in April. Unless there is a major surprise, Andrew Luck will be selected with the first overall pick. The St. Louis Rams have the second pick and coach Jeff FIsher recently said his team is open to trading the pick to the highest bidder.

That pick can be used to select Griffin.

So what would it cost the Dolphins to rise from No. 8 or No. 9, depending on a coin toss, to No. 2?

A lot.

It will take at least two first round picks and probably closer to three first round picks. And it might actually take this years No. 1, next year's No. 1, the 2014 No. 1 and possibly something else like a third or fifth rounder thrown in there somewhere.

I wasn't kidding when I said a lot.

It sounds like an outrageous price to pay. It seems ludicrous that the Dolphins would pay it. But in weighing whether to pay it or not, one must balance that steep price with the idea that Griffin will likely play a decade and he may well become every bit the franchise quarterback that Eli Manning is today.

No, I'm not saying Griffin will win two Super Bowls someday. I am saying that to a club that has a conviction on Griffin, to a club that believes him to be a franchise talent, the price is worth it.

Yesterday, I told you why I don't believe Peyton Manning as a free agent is the answer in my opinion. Mostly it has a lot to do with the lack of certainty about this nerve issues but it also has a tremendous amount to do with the fact his window with his new team is two, maybe three years at best.

That is not a long-term solution to Miami's quarterback situation.

By the time Peyton is saying good-bye to the NFL, RG3 will be warming up for his primetime years. You must remember that Eli didn't win the starting job his first year in the NFL. And in his second year, he posted a 0.0 quarterback rating in a game against Baltimore. And yet, the Giants had the courage of their conviction on the kid. The stuck with him, grew with him, and now they're reaping the rewards of that long hike to the promised land.

That's how great organizations handle the quarterback issue. The Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Lions all trained their sites on draft picks they believed would become franchise QBs and went with their conviction on those players.

I understand Houston, Chicago and New Orleans acquired their franchise QBs differently -- through trade or free agency. But none of the players those teams acquired where over 30 much less 36. Peyton Manning will be 36 next month.

Griffin will be 22 years old next week. He can play a decade for Miami and still be many useable years younger than Peyton Manning is today.

And I get the idea that perhaps Griffin will be a bust. As Bill Parcells is fond of saying, they don't sell insurance for this stuff. But I just don't see how this kid doesn't succeed. He's got the arm. He's got the brains -- he graduated seventh in his high school class, was on the Baylor Dean's list multiple times, was on the Big 12 Commissioner's list in 2010, graduated Baylor in three years and was working on his Master's Degree this past season -- and he obviously has the athletic prowess.

It also must be said RG3 carries no personal baggage. Kid lives right, prays hard, works hard, comes from a military family and is getting married soon. He's the kind of kid you want as a son-in-law.

I do not see how RG3 misses the mark in the NFL. Does he throw off his back foot sometimes? Yes. But I hear that is what coaches are paid to correct.

RG3 will be an NFL franchise QB long after Peyton Manning is out of the league. That's only my opinion. The Dolphins have scouts. I suppose they have an opinion. General manager Jeff Ireland has Baylor connections as an alumnus of the school. I suppose he has an opinion. They should know things about the kid no one else does.

But if they don't know that sometimes you have to pay a price to buy a top prospect, all they have to do is look at the New York Giants and how they got their franchise quarterback. It was done with a draft-day trade-up that cost tons of treasure.

But that trade-up has returned tons of treasure as well in the form of Super Bowl rings.

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