The Redskins, on the other hand, went all in for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Washington surrendered the No. 6 draft pick, a second-round pick and first-rounders in 2013 and 2014 to acquire the second overall pick from the Rams, which they'll use on Griffin.
With the trade, the Redskins have obviously identified Griffin as an elite quarterback who can lead the franchise for about a decade. If they're right, they'll be able to compensate for the shortage of draft picks. Otherwise, their run of four consecutive last-place finishes in the NFC East will continue, and head coach Mike Shanahan will be out of work.
The Rams, meanwhile, executed the trade at the peak of the trade market. Presuming the Colts take Stanford's Andrew Luck with the first pick, Griffin, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn were the three most coveted quarterbacks on the market.
Manning can sign with another team at any moment because he was released Wednesday, and Flynn will hit free agency Tuesday. If the Rams waited until the actual draft to trade the pick, the list of teams that were interested in a quarterback such as Griffin would have diminished by two and reduced the Rams' trade compensation by default.
Now, the Rams have three of the first 39 picks in April's draft, and with a new coach and a promising young quarterback in Sam Bradford, there should be plenty of optimism in St. Louis. If Fisher can improve the Rams' recent drafting performances, they'll be in a good place moving forward.
The biggest loser in the deal is the Browns, who couldn't match the Redskins' offer and probably didn't help the confidence of quarterback Colt McCoy. Plus, the Browns will have a difficult time landing Manning or Flynn, so they'll have to make a difficult string of decisions if they don't want to continue solely with McCoy in 2012.
Since the Browns have the fourth pick, they'll likely have the opportunity to select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but he'll require a strong evaluation period and a great deal of conviction due to his lack of experience and raw skills. If the Browns aren't sold on Tannehill, they could add a less-than-desirable free agent to compete with McCoy until the 2013 draft, or get creative and attempt to trade for Tim Tebow if the Broncos sign Manning.
Either way, the trade between the Rams and Redskins will have long-term implications for each franchise, as well as several others that are in the market for a quarterback. Few personnel decisions have such a wide reach.
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