Not sure if this sounds crazy, but let's try.
I really don't second-guess the Browns a great deal for not mortgaging the farm and landscape to acquire Robert Griffin III. The price the Redskins paid was huge. The Browns were willing to a pay a really large price, but not a huge one.
And that's OK.
They have a belief in doing things a certain way, they made a decision, they feel they're right in what they did and they live with the decision.
It would be nice if they would actually … well … communicate their thinking on the trade to fans, but they haven't. They will eventually, because they'll be asked about the trade and they'll answer. They may have to wait because the trade really isn't official until Tuesday at 4 p.m., which coincides with the start of free agency. So perhaps it's a matter of legalistic in the NFL world.
Alas, we digress.
I've always felt my job is to explain a decision, and if it makes sense. If it doesn't, then you write all sort of snarky and smart alec things, or you go other extremes, like calling for a change of some sort. If it makes sense, you let the explanation from the team show why it makes sense.
In this case, the Browns decision makes a fair bit of sense.
They want to keep their draft picks. They didn't want to give up (depending on whom you believe) more than two or three first-rounders.
They move on.
But there's also a big part of me that wishes they had abandoned their beliefs in this one instance and just gone for it.
Griffin may be a bust. He also could be the guy everyone says he is. Only one time in my career have I heard such glowing praise of a guy leaving college, and that was a few years back when Calvin Johnson left and was drafted by the Lions (Andrew Luck is out of the equation because nobody thinks he'll be available to any team but the Colts). Johnson has turned to be everything he was supposed to be.
Griffin gets the same praise.
Last week I talked to two different assistant coaches in the league, guys who had scouted Griffin. They raved about him. Said he's a potentially great one.
How does he compare to Cam Newton, I asked.
Without hesitation, both said: "Better."
However, when I asked each if they would give up two first round draft picks for Griffin, one said yes, the other said no.
Given this hype, had the Browns completed the trade, they'd have energized the fan base in a way nobody else will or can. Monday the Washington Times had a story about how the news in D.C. prompted folks to re-up on season tickets and the excitement the trade generated. That could have been happening in Cleveland.
Griffin could have also bought the Browns some much-needed patience with their fans. One of the unfortunate positions for Pat Shurmur is he is on the receiving of 12 years of pent-up frustration, even though he was only here for one.
Having Griffin at quarterback puts that frustration on hold.
Instead of touting this exciting rookie, the Browns now will find themselves explaining spending $40 million on Matt Flynn or adding Kevin Kolb or trading down to draft Ryan Tannehill or taking Brandon Weeden or saying that they've surrounded Colt McCoy with more talent.
Any of those moves might work, and work well.
But they don't have the glitz and excitement and potential that Griffin brings.
There is logic in the team's thinking.
But it's still a shame they didn't pull it off.
Pat McManamon appears courtesy of FoxSportsOhio