- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 10, 2012

Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen on Saturday night reveled in the afterglow of Friday’s blockbuster trade, expressing confidence he and coach Mike Shanahan did not endanger the team’s future in trading three first-round picks and a second-rounder to St. Louis for the second-overall pick in this year’s draft.

“We understand it was a heavy price,” Allen said at a Washington hotel at which he was attending a banquet. “But you when you bought your home, you probably wanted to pay a little less, too, but you like your home once you live in it.”

The Redskins‘ ascent to second in the draft order positions them to draft one of two highly-touted quarterback prospects: Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III out of Baylor.

Allen would not say whether the Redskins prefer one or the other. Indianapolis is widely believed to be targeting Luck with the first overall pick.

“Clearly we fell in love with two players,” he said. “We believe one of those players will be a great Redskin.”

Allen sidestepped questions about the Redskins‘ interest in free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, and he would not say whether Friday’s trade ends their interest in him.

“He’s a great player, but our focus was really if we could accomplish [a trade up in the draft] at this point, then we’d be OK,” Allen said. “Coach and I have talked about for a couple years of building our Redskin organization around the draft, getting players that are born in the burgundy and gold, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Allen acknowledged the steep price of trading up, but he cited Washington’s total of 18 draft picks this year and last in expressing optimism about the franchise’s long-term success.

He and Shanahan have been determined to rebuild the roster through the draft, but he believes the Redskins can withstand losing two first-rounders and a second-round pick. Having sufficient salary cap space to build the team through free agency helps, and Allen insisted the Redskins have those resources.

“We feel that our drafts in the future will take care of itself,” he said. “But what we thought this franchise needed was, once again like last year, another infusion of youth. We put a little of jolt in it for the 2012 draft.”

For Allen, getting a franchise quarterback was paramount.

“It’s an important part of the plan,” he said. “The plan included making sure we took care of this position, not just for a year or two years but for the future.”

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