As far as this year’s draft goes, things don’t look especially promising. First, it appears there is serious competition for the available draft pick. Cleveland covets the available choice, so does Washington. We’d not only have to match their offers, we’d have to beat it, significantly, with something St. Louis wants. I’m thinking that we need to make an offer of current players coupled with draft picks to even get consideration. Take a look at these names; Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe. These are the players on our roster who most widely would be viewed as "stars". We’d need to offer at least two of these players, plus our first round picks this year and in ’13, and possibly a 2nd round pick. In exchange, we’d get a 50% chance at getting our "franchise QB". Of course, we’d have to figure out how to replace the players we’d lose in the deal.
Let’s look at how we could replace those players. First, Tamba Hali. Luckily, Justin Houston seems to have arrived. He should only get better, providing he can stay away from controlled substances. Andy Studebaker and Cameron Sheffield would most likely fight it out for the OLB position opposite Houston. As for Derrick Johnson, I don’t know. Demario Williams? Brandon Siler? Cory Greenwood? Hmmmm. Then there is Brandon Flowers. Considering that it appears that we are already losing Brandon Carr, losing Flowers would be possibly the most difficult player to replace adequately. How about a tandem of Routt and Arenas? Bowe might be the easiest to replace, even though I wouldn’t want to lose him (it’s been decades since we’ve had a truly excellent WR). I just hope he wouldn’t be replaced by Moss or Ochocinco. It would be advisable to look at how well New Orleans did after they traded their entire draft for Ricky Williams. Better yet, just think about how well our roster improved during the Vermeil era, when so many high draft picks were wasted. Trading picks for a player who (if we interpret Phenom’s data correctly) has roughly a 50% chance of success is risky business, indeed.
Perhaps our interests could best be served by not going after a "franchise" QB this year, but rather next year. Use all available resources to build a foundation through the draft and free agency this year. Sign Bowe immediately. Then put the non-exclusive tag on Carr. Set compensation at a second or third round pick. Sign Mario Williams or Calias Campbell as free agents. Sign a free agent running back. Sign Orton or Campbell to compete with Cassel in camp. Sit on the loser until some team loses their QB to injury, then trade our #2 guy. Draft a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round (Weeden or Foles) just to see if we get lucky. After the draft, make every effort to trade Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson. Jamal Charles? We can’t trade him until he is active (as in after the first preseason game). If we can pick up a RB in free agency or in the draft this year, we could/should wait until the 4th week of next season, and target two or three teams who haven’t gotten off to good starts, and offer JC to them for their ’13 first round pick. I suspect GM’s might be a little more agreeable to parting with a first round pick to try to salvage a season, rather than after the season, when they can use that pick to choose the guy of their choice. Stockpile ’13 draft picks. Then, a year from now make every effort (trade every pick if necessary) to move into a favorable drafting position.
Either plan sounds so simple. Oh, that it were so simple. I’m positive that every franchise has four or six flunkies whose sole job is to research the opposition’s blog sites. If they see something interesting, they pass it on up the organizational ladder. Hence they know what we have learned. In other words, teams who have the high picks know the value of those picks, and will be exceedingly reticent to part with those picks.