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Mark Sanchez—Breaking it down

Apr 23, 2009, 4:30 AM EDT

Join me here for an NFL Draft live blog on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll get started right around 4:00 on Saturday and again when the proceedings reconvene at 10:00 on Sunday.

Quarterbacks get Redskins fans buzzing. I write a post that is mostly about tackles and linebackers but most of the comments and emails I got were due to one paragraph about the possibility of the Redskins doing some wheeling and dealing to get in position to draft USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

There is a lot about this that we don’t know. In fact, there is a lot here the Redskins don’t know. For that matter, the subject of all of this, Sanchez, doesn’t know a heck of a lot more about this than we do. From SI.com:

“I think it’s going to be an interesting week,” Sanchez said.”I have no idea what’s going to happen. I really don’t. In other drafts, the top seemed pretty clear a few days before the draft. Not this year.”

It does seem obvious that the Redskins like Sanchez. That means that they’re not thrilled with Jason Campbell, a conclusion we could draw from watching how frantically the Skins tried to get Jay Cutler.

I like Campbell, not just as a good guy but as a quarterback. I think that if he gets another year in Jim Zorn’s system that he can be a very good QB. He will never be Payton Manning, maybe not even Eli, but he should be able to win on a team with a solid defense and a good running game.

However, you’ll note that nothing above is stated with any degree of certainty. That’s because there is no certainty about Campbell. He may be the solid signal caller he was during the 6-2 start or the real Campbell might be the one that led an impotent offense during the 2-6 season-ending skid. If he’s something in between, that’s not very good.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding Campbell, concern about the Redskins quarterback spot is very much a defensible position. Campbell’s contract expires at the end of the year. If the labor issue is settled and the status quo remains he will be an unrestricted free agent. Should the cap go away he will be restricted. In either case, if he has a good year the Redskins may lose him. If he has a bad year they can just let him go and start from scratch at the most critical position on the field. (Let’s not get into Colt Brennan. He’s not the answer—too short and he has a funny delivery. And, at absolute best, Todd Collins would be a one-year stopgap.)

So, if you’re concerned about the most important position on the field, what do you do? Do you let things play out and worry about it next year? Or do you go out and do something about it now?

The Cutler pursuit gave us evidence that the Skins would rather do something about it now. There is every reason to think that they are serious about trying to do something to get Sanchez.

And, usually, when the Redskins want something they find a way to make it happen.

But, in this case, they may not be able to. Sanchez is climbing up the boards and it may take a move into the top five in order for the Redskins to get him. And, looking at the draft point value chart, they can’t do that without surrendering next year’s number one pick and the word is that Daniel Snyder is drawing the line at giving up that pick.

So, is that the end of it? Probably, unless they can concoct this scenario devised by Peter King of SI.com. First he goes through a deal for the third overall pick, which belongs to the Chiefs, that is balanced in terms of the draft pick value chart. That would involve the Redskins giving up their first, third, and fifth picks this year and next year’s number one.

But that formula doesn’t take into account $34.8 million in guarantees and $12-million-a-year averages. What I think is fair for Washington, and for the team selling off Sanchez, is this: first- and third-round picks this year, and a second-rounder next year. Forget the points. It’s just fair value.

I certainly respect King, but we’ve been hearing for years about how teams should take less to trade out of high picks in order to get out from under the huge contracts that you have to give unproven players there, but it never has happened. This scenario isn’t something that King based on any information from inside sources; he just made it up. I’d have to rate the possibility of it happening as very slim.

As Sanchez said, however, the top of the draft remains very fluid. If Sanchez were to slip back to the eighth slot then all bets are off. The Redskins would have to give up just their pick at No. 13 and their third-round pick (or next year’s second). I don’t think there’s any question that the Redskins would pull the trigger to make that happen if Sanchez still is on the board.

Would that be a good thing? Like any other deal there are pros and cons. The biggest factor against considering such a deal would be the opportunity cost. The Redskins would lose the chance to get a starting-quality player at one of their positions of need and other possible starters or quality depth with the lesser picks they would have to give up.

But if—and there’s that uncertainty again—Sanchez turns out to be a stud NFL quarterback then whatever price the Redskins will have paid to get him will be utterly irrelevant. It will have been worth it.

My new book The Redskins Chronicle will be coming out soon. This book takes a unique and thorough look at Redskins history from when they moved to Washington in 1937 right through the 2008 season. Take a look at an excerpt and sign up to get notified when the book come out at RedskinsChronicle.com.

  1. B.Good - Apr 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    So is Sanchez the next Payton Manning? Or the next Ryan Leaf? Isn’t it almost a coin toss? I say, let’s imagine Tom Brady or Payton Manning being the Redskins QB this season. How much better do you think they would be? Super Bowl better? Is Dan Snyder the only one who cannot see all the other holes in the roster? They need 3, 4, 5 solid players easily.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2009 at 7:51 PM

    Hey Tandler, of all people, I wouldn’t have guessed you would be one of the ignorant ones.

    Colt is too short? Obviously you have not bothered to check for yourself and instead are relying on internet message board babble.

    Fact is Colt is taller than Sanchez yet you make no mention of Sanchez being short. Here’s a hint: Next time, check their combine measurements…sheesh

  3. Rich Tandler - Apr 23, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    I don’t buy Colt being 6-3. I’ve stood with him talking to him and he’s not that much taller than I am. I could buy 6-1, maybe 6-2.

    It’s certainly possible that Sanchez isn’t quite the 6-3 that he’s listed either.

  4. wtfree3 - Apr 23, 2009 at 10:50 PM

    Brennan’s combine height came in at 6′ 2-3/8″. One of his problems, though, is that while he weighed 207 then, it was because he had significantly bulked up (and reports said it was not all muscle, though his hip injury also prevented some working out). Not sure how he’s doing in the Skins weight program, but I have a feeling he’s a natural hardgainer. But that sidearm motion of Colt’s definitely makes him play shorter in terms of his release point.

    Sanchez definitely isn’t any taller. In fact, his combine height was 6′ 2-1/8″. But he’s 227 pounds and still relatively nimble and quick. That frame is going to become important, considering the pounding either is likely to take behind an aging line, should they get called upon.

    BTW, anonymous, I’m not sure I’d call 1/4″ significant in the height department. Not worth making a big deal over. It’s easy enough to just say that they are equal.

  5. wtfree3 - Apr 23, 2009 at 10:58 PM

    Rich,

    I’d like to suggest one other draft topic, which I don’t seem to sense anyone else pursuing. Assuming the Skins don’t trade up high to get Sanchez or one of the tackles (another line that the Washington football media seems to be ignoring), what happens if Michael Crabtree continues to fall? He’s not as tall as some may hope, but they guy was one of the best WRs in the nation the last 2 years, chewing up secondaries like few since Larry Fitzgerald.

    If he makes it to the 8 to 10 range (not outside the realm of possibility), do the Skins consider dealing up? Because, to be honest, there is still a giant hole at the 2nd receiver, and I’m not sure there is a natural #1 on this roster right now for when Moss eventually moves on (sooner rather than later, I fear). If the WCO is going to work, they need that cog, and Crabtree could be that guy.

    Just curious – I’m hoping the Skins are at least considering it. I have a feeling there is going to be a run on the OTs. And while this year’s QBs are going to be hot, if you have many holes, why not wait until next year? There are probably 3 or 4 QBs that will be coming out that will all at least appear to be better (at least in terms of college accomplishment and NFL readiness) than these 2. (And don’t get me started on Josh Freeman.)

  6. Aidan - Apr 24, 2009 at 10:14 AM

    But if—and there’s that uncertainty again—Sanchez turns out to be a stud NFL quarterback then whatever price the Redskins will have paid to get him will be utterly irrelevant. It will have been worth it.A QB is NOT Worth ANY PriceI couldn’t possibly disagree more. The best QB in the world cannot win without a team around him. To me, Dan Marino comes to mind, because he was possibly one of the best QBs of all time. On the other hand, some very marginal QBs can win with a stud team around them. Great teams use their picks to have studs at a LOT of positions, not wasting them to get a prospect at a glamour spot.

    Sanchez’s Price is Too HighThere are too many teams after Sanchez. Supply and demand drives the price, and the price here is going to be TOO high. Make a great pick at 13, or listen to any offers to trade back. You can’t drive the whole “trade back” market, so you can only hope someone wants to trade into your spot. Stay OUT of the bidding war. Bidding wars are horrible for NFL teams.

    The Redskins Overspend Too OftenThe problem with the Redskins under Dan Snyder is that they overspend for everything. In a game where every little advantage matters, you need to create value wherever you can. I do like the Redskins draft strategy of drafting for value and not need by looking at the highest graded player at a given pick. However, when they trade away all these picks all the time, they blow that out of the water.

    Take a Long Term Look at your Draft InvestmentsI’m not so much a mega Jason Campbell fan (other than his apparent character) or a Colt Brennan fanatic. I’m just fed up with the ‘Skins acting like a kid with a credit card and buying without restraint. Granted, I would hate it more if they UNDERSPENT like the Eagles, but there are many teams that deal wisely (Pats, Steelers, Colts, others). I’d just prefer to see a little more prudent investment.

    Play the Guys you DraftYou used two picks to move up for Jason Campbell (which I thought was a bad move). Now stick with him through his contract. And if he’s not working out, then give Colt Brennan a shot. They drafted him, so they must’ve thought he was worth something. So if Campbell struggles, give Colt a few games to see what he can REALLY do. Find out for sure, instead of just guessing what the guy can do. Let his record speak for itself. Remember, Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick (199 overall). Colt Brennan was also a 6th round pick (186 overall). I’m not saying he’ll get the job done. I’m saying, just find out! And if neither is the answer, then pick up the next sleeper QB that Zorn could coach and develop. If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.Are you kidding? A WR?The Redskins are stacked at WR, and do NOT need another young WR this year.

  7. Aidan - Apr 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Maybe this is all just a smokescreen to get the player the Redskins REALLY want. That would be BRILLIANT.

    But with the apparent chase of Jay Cutler, the overhyped dinner meeting and the Redskins penchant for chasing the big stars… I doubt it’s a smokescreen.

  8. Rich Tandler - Apr 24, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    Chip, in a word, no. I could see doing it if he fell into their laps at 13 but I can’t see trading up for a WR.

    Aidan, thanks for your thoughts, you make some good points. Obviously we disagree on the value of a franchise QB. To me, if they pull the trigger and IF Sanchez turns out to be a star, nobody will remember what the cost was in terms of draft picks.

  9. Joe in Raleigh - Apr 24, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    I still like Campbell. I think we can will with Jason Campbell.

    But I think if we’re going to kick JC to the curb, then we should go ahead and hand the reins to Colt for a season or 2. He’s got a heck of a lot more starting experience than Sanchez, appears to be about the same size and every bit the team leader.

    Truth be told, if Snyder is in this to make a splash and sell jerseys, I think Colt will sell more than Sanchez. I’ve never seen a 3rd stringer sport the fanbase that Brennan does.

    (In the end, however, I doubt we snag Sanchez and JC17 will go into the season as the starter.)

  10. Aidan - Apr 24, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Rich,

    Your perspective isn’t lost on me. I get what you’re saying. I suppose my counter-point is best summed up in this question:

    Would you rather have a Super Bowl team with a marginal QB (insert list of teams that fit that description), or a marginal team with a superstar QB (insert that list of teams here)?

    Of course if we could have a stud quarterback AND win a Super Bowl, then all the Redskins fans will be happy. I assume your scenario supposes that this stud QB takes the team all the way.

    Joe, you’re absolutely right!

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