Last Thursday I was driving home from work at 2:30 as I’d elected to take a couple hours off to enjoy the sunshine. Turns out that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was on 97.1 The Fan here in Columbus during that time, and he had some interesting things to say regarding a possible trade up by the Browns to select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
I’m paraphrasing, but Florio implied that, because Bradford is represented by Tom Condon (former agent of Tim Couch, and current agent of Brady Quinn), Condon would steer Bradford away from Cleveland. In addition to that, he pointed out that there was speculation that Bradford would refuse to sign a contract before the draft.
If Bradford declines to agree to terms before being picked, and if the Rams ultimately don’t select him, Bradford would slide to the Redskins at No. 4, at worst. (He also could end up going second or third, if a team that needs a quarterback moves up.) … If the Rams pick Bradford without a contract in place, the leverage then flips to the player, with the Rams compelled to get the guy signed in the hopes of justifying the pick… We also don’t rule out the Rams picking Bradford and then attempting to trade him, like the Chargers did six years ago with Eli Manning.
It’s that last name that might scare some teams off, as Manning made a power play in 2004 after the Chargers took him first overall despite his claims that he would not play for them. What does all of this have to do with Donovan McNabb? Hang on, I’m getting there. First, a little more housekeeping.
Bradford has since claimed that he has no preferences and will play for whomever selects him, though he would also enjoy playing for newly minted Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan. Florio’s point when he was on the radio last Thursday seemed to be that Condon was going to try to steer Bradford to Washington. One could only assume it’s because Dan Snyder has no qualms about over-paying, but I’m sure Condon’s own experiences with past Browns FOs and the fact that St. Louis seems to have been mired in a deep rut for several years also helped.
Enter McNabb. The Redskins pulled the trigger yesterday and acquired McNabb from the Eagles for what seems like a pittance compared to what most believed the Eagles were asking for: a second rounder this year, and a conditional 3rd (or 4th) next year. There was speculation that the Redskins might then flip McNabb and their 4th overall pick to St. Louis for the #1 pick and the rights to pick Bradford with no agent shenanigans involved. Florio says no-go on that rumor, but take that for what it is.
What does all of this mean for Cleveland? Well, if you don’t believe that Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert are very interested in trading up and drafting Bradford, then it probably means nothing. But, if you do think that Bradford is the player they most covet, and Bradford is hedging with the Rams just a bit, it might all of a sudden mean that the price to move up and get him just got cheaper. The Redskins, rumored to be the desired destination for Bradford’s team, may have just removed themselves from consideration by acquiring McNabb. I know the Skins can be a wildcard, but one wouldn’t think they got McNabb to be a one-year chair warmer for a quarterback picked in the top of the first round. Considering it sounds like Bradford’s agent will play contract hardball, that’s a lot of money to tie up in your QB position.
Then again, it IS Dan Snyder.
So, perhaps the trade of McNabb to Washington removes a big hurdle for Holmgren and Heckert to get their man. Or, perhaps it all means nothing. Either way, it will be strange to see McNabb in a Redskins uni.