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More light shed on Rams trading with Redskins over Browns

March 28,  2012; Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan fields reporters questions during the NFC head coaches media breakfast at the Breakers Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
March 28, 2012; Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan fields reporters questions during the NFC head coaches media breakfast at the Breakers Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

When news first broke that the St. Louis Rams were swapping their No. 2 pick for the Redskins No. 6, second rounder (No. 39), and consecutive first round picks in 2013 and 2014, many Browns fans had one of two reactions: absolutely devastated or ecstatic to know we didn't trade away three first round picks. But, most were left wondering how this could happen when it was seemingly (at least at that time) the Browns trade to lose.

Some held the belief that the Browns' No. 4 and No. 22 were simply more valuable than the Redskins' No. 6 and a future first round pick. More specifically, that the tangible No. 22 pick was better than any future pick. It appears now that simply may not have been true in the Rams' eyes.

Tony Grossi, now the Browns beat reporter for ESPN Cleveland, put it this way:

If you believe both teams offered three No. 1s and one No. 2 it came down to this – St. Louis preferred to have No. 1s in three consecutive years rather than two in 2012 and one in 2013. And that’s why Washington’s offer was better.

"It was part of it, yeah, considering our needs," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday at NFL owners meetings. "If you look at it from this perspective: I haven’t met the players yet, haven’t seen them on the field, and I realistically don’t know what we have. We’ll have a much better idea after the season what kind of team we have. And our needs very well may change.

"To have an opportunity to have two 1s in ’13, ’14 was really important to us."

This comes as a stark difference between what Mike Holmgren said he believes the reason to be for the Rams choosing the Redskins over the Browns, even though the Browns' offer was "every bit" as good. Two weeks ago Holmgren cited the very close relationship between Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and Rams coach Jeff Fisher as to why they were able to get a deal done. "I'm not sure if any offer we made at the end of the day was going to be quite good enough," Holmgren said.

Fisher, of course, said recently that this wasn't the case:

"We didn’t make a decision because of my relationship with Mike or anyone’s relationship with anybody else," Fisher said.

Fisher wasn't the only one. Shanahan, too, said he disagreed that the relationship had anything to do with the Rams' decision, reported by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:

"You always want relationships with everyone in the league. I have great relationships with Mike and Pat, but at the end of the day, teams are going to go with the best offer. They may like me, but they're not going to give up draft choices for me, I can promise you that."

I think it's reasonable to believe that Fisher and Shanahan are going to say these things regardless of whether or not their relationship actually played a role in the deal. However, with the previous understanding of terms that the Rams laid out for both teams, wherein each team had one offer and one offer only, the following seems to further shed more light on the deal:

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan explained Wednesday that he knew he had to blow away the Rams with his offer for the No. 2 pick, especially considering the Browns had the No. 4 and No. 22 picks this year.

"That's why we made the offer we made and hoped it would be good enough," said Shanahan at the NFC coaches breakfast. "When they say 'give us your best shot,' you've got to give them your best shot."

"You have to make a decision on what it's going to take to get that pick, especially when you're competing with a few football teams," he said.

This isn't definitive. The truth is, we don't really know exactly how it happened or why it happened the way it did. I think it's reasonable to say that if the Rams really out to get the best deal, they would have listened to counter offer from the Browns and not set up one offer only situation to begin with.

Does this change how I feel about the fact that the Browns missed out on the No. 2 pick? Only slightly. It would appear, the only hope for the Browns to actually land the pick was to offer another first round pick being in 2014, which would not only give the Rams their coveted consecutive two first rounders, but also be more than the Redskins' offer. I'm sorry, but that price is definitely too high, and I can't blame the Browns for not making that offer.