What would you give for a franchise quarterback?
That question needs to be asked after so many were critical of both the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles for trading up to secure what they believe to be franchise quarterbacks in Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with the top two picks in this Thursday’s NFL Draft.
It is easy to be critical after the Eagles gave up five selections in total and the Rams gave up six draft picks in order to hopefully secure what they believe will be their franchise quarterback for the next 10-12 years. It's low hanging fruit to be critical of the package of picks that both teams relinquished because everybody knows just how important the draft process is each and every season to provide starters and depth to your NFL franchise. However, it is not that simple and not that easy.
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First off, the Rams and Eagles are both helping the NFL by providing some mystery and interest going into the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Rams GM Les Snead made the trade with the Titans and they know who they are picking. Connect the dots, reports out of Cleveland were the Browns were going to take Jared Goff with the second overall pick, so the Rams knew they had to get in front of Cleveland in order to get their quarterback. That is why almost immediately after the Rams-Titans trade went down, there were reports out of Cleveland that the Browns were looking to trade out of the second overall selection.
For the Eagles, they moved up to the second overall pick in order to draft Carson Wentz. Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman can spin it however he wants and tell us that Goff and Wentz are like "vanilla and chocolate," but he made this deal knowing that he was going to get his guy, otherwise you would not make the move this early and would ultimately make this kind of trade when the Browns were on the clock after the Rams made their selection.
So we know the price the Rams and Eagles paid for what they hope will be franchise quarterbacks, and I don’t think they paid too high a price. Do you even care what the Giants gave up in order to acquire Eli Manning from the San Diego Chargers? No. Was there criticism of the Redskins' package of picks that they gave up to the Rams in year one of the RG III era? No, there was not.
RG III lit up the league and was a huge star, and it looked like the Redskins found themselves a transformative quarterback. Now, that situation imploded for a multitude of reasons and now RG III is in Cleveland and Kirk Cousins is the starting quarterback for the Redskins. So it was no surprise this week when Jets GM Mike Maccagnan admitted this week that they investigated trading up to the No. 1 overall pick.
They should do their due diligence because they are still searching for a franchise quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bridge guy and that is why the Jets are unwilling to meet his contract demands at this point. They have placed a value on Fitzpatrick and have yet to budge off of that number.
So, what the Rams and Eagles did was take a chance to be great instead of living in the land of mediocrity. The price they paid was not too high because they are looking to secure the quarterback position for the next decade-plus.
In a quarterback-driven league where the league has made it easier for you to throw the football, two teams without a franchise signal caller made a play for one. Good for them. That is how you win in this league. Stand by your convictions and go for it and get out of the land of mediocrity.
The quarterback is the great equalizer in the NFL. In Philadelphia, they trust in Wentz and in the City of Angels, it is in Goff they trust. Who ultimately wins on these trades? It will ultimately depend on how each quarterback develops and how good they become. If they both develop, nobody will care what they gave up to get them. That will become a distant memory. So as you get set to watch the NFL Draft Thursday night, two cities and two regimes hope they have found the player that will help define their team for years to come.