Just being on the opposite side of a trade with Bill Belichick is enough to make you assume you got robbed. He rarely gets the short end of the stick. In the Haynesworth deal though, you could argue that not only was Washington lucky to get a 5th round draft pick in return for #92, the subtraction of such a huge distraction this August will pay dividends as well.
Similarly, the trade of McNabb will also provide some much needed relief around camp. The rift that grew between the potential Hall of Fame quarterback and a potential Hall of Fame coach was as much of a hindrance in the locker room as any of the other circus sideshows we have played host to in recent years. The difference between the Haynesworth trade and the McNabb trade is I wish McNabb the best of luck. The lack of these distractions will minimize any potential division in the locker room almost immediately.
The compensation we received in return for these players--a 6th in 2012 and a 5th and conditional 6th in 2013--might look paltry...until you remember that we will likely NEED those picks to field a team in those years. The veterans we are adding this week are mostly here just for a cup of coffee. They are merely keeping seats warm until we can bring in younger, talented guys to fill out the squad. That will take another draft at least. If you're keeping track, I believe we have two additional draft picks so far in the 2012 draft, including the 4th we picked up for Jason Campbell, and two additional picks in the 2013 draft. That would mean we are close to two more drafts with near double digit selections--although I am betting we trade a pick or two before then.
As for all the wide receivers we are signing...I think there is a very logical reason for this. In an attempt to give the coaching staff the best possible chance of grading out whatever quarterbacks end up here, they have to have veteran receivers who know how to run routes and know how to conduct themselves as professional receivers. I envision all the quarterbacks being able to essentially get "starter's reps" in camp this year due to the presence of these veteran receivers. Mike and Kyle Shanahan will be able to tell more about what they have at quarterback by watching them throw to a Donte Stallworh or a Jabar Gaffney (in addition to Moss, Armstrong and Cooley) than they would if all the receivers were young, unknown and untested in the league. (While I am not a huge Jabar Gaffney fan, everyone should probably get used to him being here, because I am pretty sure he is a favorite to make the final 53.)
Wide receiver of course remains a position of need for us, but making sure that the quarterback is capable of making the throws in this offense can only be determined by having receivers who have an understanding of the offense. It's not like Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong and Leonard Hankerson are going to be cut. But if Malcolm Kelly isn't ready to make a legitimate attempt to make this team, or if Brandon Banks is deemed too one-dimensional to make this roster, the coaching staff now has a few options. (I would be SHOCKED if Banks gets cut.)
Once again, we see the dedication to fostering competition up and down the roster under Mike Shanahan. We see (finally) a serious and practical course of action taken to rid the team of unwanted and unnecessary distraction.
These are moves that real football teams make in this league, not laughingstock teams. No, we aren't a Super Bowl contender in 2011. But we have a chance at respectability, improvement and direction--the very things that we avoided for years under Vinny Cerrato's watchful bug eyes.
Don't get me wrong, I am not doing cartwheels about this team right now. But let's all recognize that there is some serious construction going on at Redskins Park right now, and for the first time in a long time, attention is being paid to the foundation and not just the window treatments.