Hog Heaven asks whether a Briggs deal makes sense now given what we know about the Redskins view of the team after the draft. My unqualified answer is nope, still not digging it. Here is the hypothetical:
Say the Redskins make the following offer to Chicago (remember it's hypothetical, I have no inside info): the Redskins' 2008 second and third round draft picks and a player (Shawn Springs? Lemar Marshall?) to Chicago for Briggs. Note that this trade leaves the Skins 2008 draft position the same as this year -- no picks in the second, third and (already traded) fourth round. How does that move strike you?
The best defensive player currently on the roster was a guy we drafted in Sean Taylor. The best value we have is Kedric Golston, though that is based more on the heaping praise Coach Gibbs and others have given him. Both are starters on this defense despite our insistence on trading away picks. If you're that smart at efficient use of your limited draft resources, why persistently limit those resources?
If we are going to address any position through free agency (with its attendant inflated costs for other team's talent) it should be at need positions. Scooping Lance Briggs to play the weakside linebacker would make as little sense as if we had used our 1st round pick on an outside linebacker, especially if it costs us Lemar Marshall or Shawn Springs or anyone else. We'd also still wed ourselves to Lance Briggs' sizeable contract and his attitude which, to date, doesn't annoint him as much of a "Redskins kind of guy" -- my opinion.
One final point to consider. In some defenses it might be wise to tie up large quantities of money in the weak side linebacker. I don't happen to think that Gregg Williams' defense is one of them, but what do I know?
Someone who might know how much Lance Briggs is worth would be the team he earned his Pro Bowls playing for -- Da Bears. And they've seen fit to pay Briggs the money the CBA allows them to rather than the money he feels he deserves, hence his threat to sit out the season and all the consequential shenanigans they're messing with now. Admittedly the Bears are an unusually frugal team, but they're also a team that has visited the Super Bowl more recently than anyone else in the NFC. I am willing to respect their evaluation of Lance Briggs' worth more than ours, especially considering our interest in Briggs presumes that we misfired on trading up to pick McIntosh. My confidence in the team's LB scouting is shaken. This casts additional doubts on whether we're right about Briggs in the first.
Per what the coaches have stated, the linebackers are going to be going after the opposing quarterback with more frequency than they were last year (and with similar frequency to 2005 and 2004). Our coverage was so bad in 2006 with Wright and Rumph that the team was forced to play conservatively with the rest of the positions, a trade-off that proved disastrous and, ultimately, pointless. Teams still killed us in the secondary. We will not repeat that mistake. Lance Briggs is a good linebacker, but not an excellent blitzer. Rocky McIntosh is unproven in that department, but at least he's cheap.
I see no reason why Briggs' stock would rise given our draft or even the coaching staff's (possibly labored) reasoning on behalf of our D-Line. He's still an expensive alternative to Rocky McIntosh who deserves a chance to prove what he can do on the field. Even granting Briggs is an excellent player, I'd rather see what we have with our current linebackers rather than giving up two 1st day picks for him.