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The Redskins Trade Away Picks and Rack Up Debt, And They Are Looking to Do It Again

The Washington Redskins want to trade up in order to take a quarterback. This rumor item comes from the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, who was a big fan of my ranking of coaches in order that I would want them for my team. McClain hears that the Skins are “trying like crazy to trade up” and speculates it could be for Gabbert.

Crazy is the right word. This site did a breakdown of all the draft picks the Redskins have traded away in the last eight years. Daniel Snyder treats second and third round picks like the cast of Jersey Shore treats brain cells. Since 2003, the Redskins have used only 56% of their picks in the first four rounds of the draft, trading away a total of 16. That includes a third and fourth this year for Jammal Brown and as part of the deal for Donovan McNabb last year.

I’m not one that thinks you should never trade away picks to address a need–I thought the Vikings trading multiple picks for Jared Allen was reasonable, for instance, because they were getting a guaranteed starter in his prime. I think people tend to overvalue how successful picks are. That said, though, the Redskins are so callous with the use of picks that it is disturbing. It’s one thing to occasionally trade picks for veterans, it’s another to repeatedly do it while also paying high interest rate loans by mortgaging future picks.

Bill Belichick is the butterfly collar wearing pawn shop dealer standing behind the glass case of watches. Daniel Snyder is the guy that just needs that next influx of cash so he can buy some more lottery tickets and to score a hit. The last few years, the Patriots have been capitalizing on teams’ inability to have patience and to understand the market (Armanti Edwards, anyone?), and have repeatedly traded picks that net them high interest returns by delaying gratification. The Redskins and Snyder repeatedly seek gratification by pawning future picks at high interest rates. Just go back to the last time the Redskins were hot to move up for a quarterback. They gave up a 3rd, and the following year’s 1st and 4th, to get into the last part of the first round to take Jason Campbell, one pick after Aaron Rodgers was selected.

The going rate on trading a draft pick this year for a future year is one draft round per year. Obviously, teams aren’t going to trade for a no-interest return, but by moving only one round, especially between the 1st and 2nd, or 2nd and 3rd, the rate is exorbitant. Think of it this way. Would you give up a 7th round pick now to get a 1st round pick in 6 years? I would, every single year. From 1991-2000, for example, almost half of the first round picks started 7 or more years (46.6%), compared to 4.0% of 7th rounders. That’s a huge rate of return.  Well, that’s the same thing teams are doing on a smaller scale when they trade next year’s picks. Going from 2nd round pick (30% started 7+ seasons from 1991-2000 drafts) provides a 50% increase in the chance of a long-term starter by delaying for a year.

And here the Redskins are, again, pining to move up. They keep living above their means, and are about to take out another loan at usurious rates. The third and fourth are already gone to pay of other purchases, so if they are moving up again, it will likely mean future picks. Understanding interest rates and living within your means–it’s why the Redskins are mediocre and the Patriots keep reloading. Daniel Snyder needs to take a step back and put away the credit card.

[photo via Getty]

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