The day after the trade between Washington and St. Louis that will net the Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in the draft, I e-mailed the Browns to ask if anyone from the team could address the reports that the Browns were involved in trying to acquire St. Louis’ pick.
The answer I got was to the point.
Thursday, Browns president Mike Holmgren addressed the trade on a call with season ticket holders.
OK, then, that’s how that works.
At any rate, Holmgren said the Browns’ offer to the Rams was “every bit” the one that the Redskins made. He didn’t give details, but this would indicate the Browns offered two first-round picks this year, a first-round pick next year and a second-round choice at some point in the continuum.
Holmgren then seemed to step in things a little deeper when he said:
“Honestly, when it didn’t happen I think there are reasons that I can’t go into right now, but there is a very close relationship between the people getting the deal done and the people who offered. And I’m not sure anything we offered would have been good enough. We were very, very aggressive and it didn’t work.”
There’s no problem with the last sentence, but the other statements sure raise a lot of questions.
Starting with the relationship Holmgren discussed. Though there’s no way to know, the best guess is he referred to a friendship between Redskins GM Bruce Allen and Rams COO Kevin Demoff. The two worked together in Tampa Bay, and remain friends.
This isn’t unusual. Friends deal with friends all the time in the NFL. It’s one reason Tom Heckert is the Browns GM and Pat Shurmur the Browns coach. They’re in Holmgren’s circle.
But to imply the Rams were unethical or favoriting a team because of a friendship is pretty bizarre. Peter King of SI.com reported that the Rams asked for teams’ best offer, and the Redskins came up bigger. King said that when the Browns realized that the Redskins offer was better the Browns tried to up theirs. But the Rams were not playing one against the other, so they took Washington’s offer.
Holmgren didn’t seem to appreciate the way that all went down.
He asked for patience from fans about the team, and when someone asked about the team’s perceived lack of activity in free agency he said the Browns tried to sign free agents. He also said he’s made it clear that 6-10 this season is not acceptable.
In free agency, the Browns have kept or added pieces on defense. They have yet to turn to the offense, which Holmgren and Heckert said was the prime offseason target — remember the notion about needing touchdowns and playmakers?
Then Holmgren came along to talk to season ticket holders and offer the explanation that they didn’t get Robert Griffin III because the Rams and Redskins folks share a special bond.
I might be out of line here, but that really doesn’t seem to help a lot.