- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Much to the delight of Washington Redskins fans who have flooded my e-mail inbox the last 10 days, talks between their team and the Chicago Bears about Lance Briggs - a good-but-not-great linebacker who would command a too-pricey contract and is somebody who doesn’t create turnovers and doesn’t rush the passer - have broken down.

And, yes, that’s a good thing. Nothing against Briggs, who is a two-time Pro Bowl player who has never missed a game. But he’s a perfect fit for the system he currently plays in; he would be a square peg in the Redskins’ round-hole-type defense.

Now that the Briggs talks have evaporated for the time being - don’t rule anything out when The Danny becomes infatuated with a player - the Redskins face four options over the next 24 days, when, around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday at Radio City Music Hall, one of their employees will have to bring an index card to the stage to announce the sixth pick.

Option 1: Continue talking with Chicago.

The Redskins and Bears are bound to talk in the next few weeks because Chicago seems interested in moving Briggs and the Redskins seem interested in adding a player they don’t really need.

The Bears may change their proposal and ask for Lemar Marshall instead of Rocky McIntosh, or they might just say, “We’re not giving Briggs a big contract, let’s do the deal for the draft pick.”

The Redskins may change their proposal at The Danny’s urging and give up on McIntosh … after one season … and two starts … even though they gave up picks to draft him last year.

Option2: Do nothing and keep the sixth pick.

As much as the Redskins would like to move down to acquire more picks, there might not be an attractive offer come Draft Day to justify moving out of the sixth spot.

This draft is deep with defensive linemen. Here’s how I see the top five picks (if no team trades out of their spot): 1. Oakland: JaMarcus Russell; 2. Detroit - Joe Thomas; 3. Cleveland - Adrian Petersen; 4. Tampa Bay - Calvin Johnson; 5. Arizona - Gaines Adams.

That leaves the Redskins with a decision: DT Alan Branch or DE Jamaal Anderson. I’d go with Branch.

Option 3: Trade up

Even though the Redskins have very few chips in this draft to deal with, don’t rule this out. The owner came up empty in his pursuit of Briggs - he still wants to make a splash and signing London Fletcher is seen as more of a ripple than a splash.

Enter Calvin Johnson, the splendid Georgia Tech receiver.

The Redskins could offer the sixth pick, next year’s first round pick and a receiver to Oakland for the No. 1 pick, or they could offer Detroit (which is desperate to trade down) an attractive package if it becomes clear the Raiders will draft LSU QB JaMarcus Russell.

Trading up for Johnson would make slightly more sense than the Briggs pursuit. Receivers that go in the top 10 have a checkered history. Plus, it would leave the Redskins out of the mix in the 2008 first round.

Option 4: Trade down

Here’s the best case scenario for the Redskins if they decide drafting sixth isn’t ideal and they would like to acquire additional picks: Minnesota and Miami, which draft seventh and ninth, respectively, decide they covet Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. And they get into a bidding war to move into the Redskins’ slot.

Hypothetically, let’s say Minnesota offers the seventh pick PLUS pick No. 41 to the Redskins to move up one spot. A great deal for the Redskins, who would be in position to get two starters on Day One. Plus, it would also leave open the possibility of trading down from No. 7 to get another second-rounder.

What should concern the Redskins is that the Bears obviously called around before nixing the Briggs talks and found there wasn’t a ton of interest in the sixth pick … yet. But come the week of the draft, the Redskins should take every team’s call - except for Denver, which has fleeced them too many times.


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