With the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams are in a great trading position. They could keep Sam Bradford and trade the pick to a team that wants Robert Griffin III for multiple draft picks; or they could take Griffin and trade Bradford for draft choices. One way or another, the Rams have the potential to greatly improve their football team.
In thinking through this hypothetical choice, one area that has to be considered is the cost difference. Bradford has four years left on his contact which will total $48 million. Griffin will sign a four-year contract for approximately $22 million. By taking Griffin and trading Bradford, the Rams would save almost $26 million. This money could be used to bolster other areas of the team.
Then there's the most important question: Who is the better player? I liked both of these quarterbacks in college, even though they had different styles. I believe both can be very successful in the NFL, but I would rate Bradford the better QB off his college tape. He displayed superior accuracy than Griffin does at this stage, and he threw to more options in the passing game. In fact, in the previous 10 years before Bradford was drafted, the only two college quarterbacks I had rated higher were Eli Manning and Carson Palmer. Bradford, who struggled this past season, had a very good rookie year in 2010. I believe this year's drop off was caused by his injuries and surroundings factors that buried the Rams. I still would rate him ahead of Griffin.
But who would bring the most in a trade? I believe it would be Bradford, even with his higher salary. He already has two seasons in a pro-style offense in the NFL and would be ready to start and win right now. Also, some people will look at it the way I did, going back to their college evaluations and seeing Bradford rated higher.
Debate: Can't-miss prospects
If the Rams choose to draft Griffin and trade Bradford, they might receive two first-round draft choices plus another pick or player -- and save $26 million in the process. If they keep Bradford and trade the second pick, it is possible they could still get the same draft deal. There is also the possibility that the market could disappear if Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning sign with teams in the top 10.
If you believe in Griffin's ability to become at least as good a QB as Bradford, you trade Bradford. However, if I was making the decision, I'd stick with Bradford. I would go with the more known quantity, who already has two years experience and Pro Bowl potential.