The Redskins have to make a tough decision this draft season on whether or not they try to acquire a young Franchise quarterback via the draft or trade. The idea that the Redskins would be in this position a year ago seemed impossible, as Alex Smith was supposed to have the reigns for at least 3 or 4 years. Now with his future in jeopardy, the Redskins must decide if this is the year to acquire a top young QB or do they wait till next year.
This year’s draft class has three guys who are generally considered first round talents in Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock. At pick 15 that typically wouldn’t give the Redskins strong odds to either wait for one to fall for them or try to trade up for one, but this year is a bit unique in terms of QB needs at the top of the draft. It is looking more and more likely that the Cardinals will select Murray with the top pick in the draft, but that opens up Josh Rosen as a potential trade chip, essentially still making there be three options for the Redskins.
Assuming the Cardinals take Murray, that leaves three QBs for the 13 teams between the top pick and the Redskins selection. So where does that leave the Washington, well honestly it’s tough to say. Of those 13 teams you can rule out the 49ers, Jets, Jaguars, Lions, Bills and Falcons as definitely not being in the QB hunt. The Packers with the 12th pick currently don’t have any need for a starting quarterback, but could consider this a unique situation to find Aaron Rodgers replacement, though it seems unlikely this year. Of the remaining teams it seems that both the Raiders and Buccaneers will give their incumbent starters another season, and the Bengals and Broncos could fall in this category as well. The Giants and Dolphins both have obvious needs, but it’s far from a guarantee for either team. The Dolphins especially appear to be in a complete rebuilding mode and are looking to wait till next year.
While there isn’t the pressing need for quarterbacks you typically see at the top of a draft order, that doesn’t mean the Redskins can just sit back and wait to see if a quarterback falls to them. Not only could there be some surprises among the teams ahead of them, but teams behind them could be willing to trade up. The Steelers, Chargers and Patriots are all teams with later 1st round picks that could consider jumping up ahead of the Redskins to find their future QB. This is what the Chiefs did a couple years ago to land Patrick Mahomes when they already had Alex Smith. These teams have even more motivation to move up as, they aren’t looking at impending free agency for their current QB, but retirement. Also the Giants with the 17th pick could move up ahead of the Redskins as well. They might not be willing to use the 6th pick on a QB, but could jump the Redskins pick and trade into that 10-14 pick range. This leaves the question do the Redskins go for a quarterback this year, even if it means moving extra assets to acquire one, or do they wait till next season and hope they are in a better position to acquire one.
The biggest problem with waiting till next year is it’s impossible to know for sure what any of the variables will be. On paper one can say that next year’s QB class will be more talented, but that line of thinking is exactly why quarterbacks like DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are playing where they are now, and some teams are having huge regrets. Even if the next years QB class does end up better, that doesn’t guarantee that you will land one of them.
Unlike the Dolphins approach of a full rebuild, the Redskins are clearly still looking to contend this season. They added Landon Collins to an already emerging defense, and refrained from cutting any players who could have a potential impact on this year’s team. Even with either Case Keenum or Colt McCoy at quarterback the Redskins should be in the 6-10 to 8-8 range for next year. If a couple things go their way they could even sneak into the playoffs with a 9-7 or 10-6 record. Even at 6-10 the Redskins would likely be picking outside the top 10 next season and could potentially be even later than their current spot at 15. If the QB class for next season is as good as some think, the Redskins won’t have any shot at one of the top guys sliding. The Dolphins waiting for next year is a different situation, because in their full rebuild mode they are far more likely to finish with a top 5 pick (if not 1st overall). The Redskins just aren’t likely to crash and burn that much. Even with all the free agent losses the past two seasons and injuries this team has remained relatively competitive. It seems unlikely the Redskins will be a 2-4 win type of a team next year.
If the class for next year is as good as advertised, the Redskins will need to get into the top 5 (at least) to land one. Not only could that cost more with the greater hype surrounding the class, but it’s likely that more teams will be in the mix next season. A number of teams in the “maybe” column for taking a QB this year, could very well be in the definite column next year. Also all of the teams with veteran starters now that might have some interest in a future replacement, become one year closer to needing to find their next QB (potentially it could be next year if there are any retirements). This means the price is likely to be higher to move up next year to the exact same pick than it would be this year, making the trade cost more prohibitive.
The biggest concern though is that depending on how the season shakes out the Redskins wouldn’t even have the opportunity to trade up for a top quarterback next season. If all the teams at the top need quarterbacks, then try as you might you won’t be able to land one. If the top 2 or 3 teams need a franchise QB, they probably aren’t trading those picks regardless of your offer. This is a very real possibly for next year. If the top of the draft next year ends up any combination of the Dolphins, Giants, Buccaneers, Raiders, Bengals (a few other teams as well) then there is almost zero chance of the Redskins landing a quarterback.
With the uncertainty of what next year’s class could be and the ability for the Redskins to get in position to draft a quarterback a year from now, the Redskins should do what it takes to acquire one this season. Whether that is moving up for Haskins or Lock (outside chance Lock is still there at 15), or trading for Josh Rosen, the Redskins can’t afford to risk not having a long term option at quarterback. Haskins and Rosen both have the potential to be top 10 signal callers in this league and Lock isn’t far behind. There is of course no certainty when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, but these are three reasonable and seemingly available options. In all three circumstances it is likely to cost more than the 15th pick in the draft, but that is a price the Redskins have to be willing to pay if they want to fix the position.