NFL Rumor: Not landing Robert Griffin III could cost Heckert job

Tom Heckert let it be known that if he is not in Cleveland next season, it would not be his decision. Turns out that the decision could already be made as much as five months ago when the Browns failed to land Robert Griffin III in the most recent NFL Draft.

Citing sources, Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk states that if Heckert gets fired, the primary reason will be the failure of the Browns to trade up from No. 4 in the draft to No. 2 in the draft in order to get Griffin.

Former Browns president Mike Holmgren immediately blamed his inability to make the trade on a friendship between Washington’s Mike Shannahan and St. Louis’ Jeff Fisher.

“The Browns had the ability to get Griffin,” writes Florio. “They were the only team in the bidding with two 2012 first-round draft picks.  Plus, moving from No. 2 to No. 4 would have been worth much more to the Rams than dropping to No. 6.”

Griffin admitted later in the summer that he, based on the litany of assets, though he was going to be playing in Cleveland. The Browns, in turn, moved up one spot to land running back Trent Richardson, supplementing their quarterback position later in the first round by selecting the 29-year-old Brandon Weeden. The Browns are 5-9, staring at two tough contests to close out the season. The Redskins, riding a sure-fire Rookie of the Year candidate, are just a few weeks from being back in the playoffs.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 14: Winners and Losers]

  • cmm13

    Interesting take… although I’d go heavy on the bet that Holmgren directed Tom on what to make in the final offer.
    Which is why he immediately came out guns blazing with excuses on why we didn’t land it.

  • Big Z

    Indeed. Whiffing on Griffin will plague this franchise for the next decade.

  • thepaledragon

    This of course assumes that Cleveland RG3 would be the same as Washington RG3 and I think that that is a stretch. Griffin has benefited from Shanahan’s coaching and I don’t see Shurmur as being flexible enough to incorporate elements of the zone read option into his West Coast system.

  • cmm13

    Total Win.

  • EdgewaterJoe

    Ho hum — another day, another piece of crap rumor about Cleveland from Head Yinzer Apol’gist Mike Florio. “Some guy said some thing about a conspiracy theory that’ll be held against a guy I don’t like – I hope the guy who planted this for me will buy me a drink – GO STILLRS!”


  • 216in614

    I have to agree with this. That bungling, what ever the reason, set the franchise back majorly. That being said I’m sure RGIII wouldnt look so good in this offence but at least we would have our QB of the future.

  • boomhauertjs

    After watching Weeden yesterday, I might have to agree with this.

  • MrCleaveland

    Amen. These “experts” throw any old stuff out there just to get a reaction. Unfortunately, it works.

    If Heckert gets fired, the primary reason will NOT be because he failed to get RG3. That makes no sense at all.

  • Harv 21

    yesyesyes. I would add the continuing hole at right tackle and RB and even the absence of Josh Gordon (b/c don’t believe they would have used the only decent draft pick left next year on such a high risk player). And yet, eventually a competent coach would arrive along with draft picks the next year.

  • The above reasoning is a shortcut to thinking, filled with logical flaws (i.e. assuming we accept that the trade should have been made which is not a given–we are then assuming Heckert’s failure to pull the trigger doomed him in the eyes of a former boss who no longer has control over him?). Plus slight flawed leaps in insinuating if they had RGIII the Browns would be in the playoff hunt and RGIII would have ROY numbers. Rubbish article.

  • Shadow_play

    Hell, we could’ve skipped Weeden and picked up Cousins somewhere.

  • browntown

    I don’t think there is anyway at all Shumur adjust his offense to fit RGIII. I’m glad we didn’t get him for that fact and also the fact I bet he isn’t playing more than 3 or so years just because of the way he plays.
    I mean you have a QB who was in the gun EVERY play in college and most of those plays he threw some form of 4 verts. So now we put him under center and throw shallow crossing patterns EVERY play!!! Good job Pat!!!!
    Stocking of Shumur should be full of coal with a pink slip at the bottom!

  • Garry_Owen

    Over/under on when Griffin would have received his injury if he had been in Cleveland? I propose Week 4.
    Griffin would have been handing the ball to . . .
    Griffin would have been throwing the ball to . . .
    Griffin would have had right side protection from . . .

  • mgbode

    i’ll play:

    not sure which week, but it would have happened. i’ll give him until DeMarcus Ware.

    Hardesty until he re-injured himself. of course, he wasn’t healthy early in the season, so Ogbannya or possibly Brandon Jackson?

    Greg Little, Benjamin (we would have had plenty of mid-round picks w/o the Richardson trade-up), MoMass, and Norwood. The proposed trade to the Skins that “would have been enough” did not include the ’13 2nd rounder, so even Josh Gordon is not off the table here (would Heckert have had the brass knobblers to do it though?)

    O’Neil Cousins. Or, possibly a 3rd round OT pick. If that was the case though, then we are talking about what other guys we don’t have. No Hughes (while not as good as Winn this year, still important in holding together the DL while Taylor was hurt -and Rubin too). What happens when Pinkston gets hurt and we are even thinner on the OL?

    Finally, what are the odds Shurmur and the staff decide to run the Baylor spread offense as 1/3 of their packages?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t believe not being able to make the trade to have the ability to draft Griffin is what will cost Heckert his job. It probably didn’t help but to be honest I never felt the Browns were all that interested which is probably the real reason they were outbid. They just couldn’t let people know which is what led to that whole excuse blaming the Ram-Redskin link. I also think it was Holmgren that torpedoed it that just like drafting Weeden Heckert was pressured or overruled but we’ll probably never know the truth about that either. And people wonder why this team has been so bad since 1999.

  • steve-o

    Holmgren seemed to be calling the shots in the bidding war for RGIII, and he has already been fired. I’m not sure how much blame Heckert deserves, but he did go terribly wrong to believe Weeden was a viable plan B. Still, that was supposed to be Holmgren’s area of expertise, and he certainly influenced that decision.

    I think Heckert has done enough other things right to deserve to keep his job. Sadly, i sense there will be a house cleaning at year’s end (to some other team’s (Charger’s?) benefit). If a new regime brings in a competent HC, they will likely achieve a measure of success, and recieve the credit for the groundwork that Heckert has laid. (Although, a dolt like Lombardi could undo it in a couple seasons.)

  • Kildawg

    Heckert has done a pretty good job and wisely passed on not making a deal for the now-injury-prone Griffin. This team still had big holes last year at RT, WR, LB, RB, DB, and even FB (not counting QB due to McCoy being serviceable). Most of these holes have been filled. Granted, we still need a starting OLB to go with Gocong/JMJ/Robertson (Fort backs up the MLB and does ST/Maiava is mediocre but does real good ST work) and another stud CB to start with Haden and move Brown to FS with Ward being the SS. We filled RT with Schwartz, RB with Richardson, WR with Benjamin and Gordon (2013 2nd Rd pick looking pretty good) and Smith/Smelley have a handle on FB. Just please, not another QB in the 1st round!

  • Fern

    NFL Rumor: If the Browns lose next week it will likely be because Brandon Weeden played baseball out of college.
    Just making up stories in case they happen. Don’t tell us this stuff.

  • Gren

    I think if Heckert landed RG3, he would be even more inclined to do the Josh Gordan pick. You can’t just add RG3 without adding weapons around him.

    Heck for all we know the Browns would of went hard for Pierre Garcon and drafted Alfred Morris. Too many what if’s, while I’m happy with what we ended up with so far.

  • i would rather have richardson gordon benjamin schwartz then just RG3. redskins offense was more complete then the browns was. i honestly think the browns are one QB and a coach away from making a jump into the playoffs, and if they want to be contenders i would like another Corner back then more sheldon brown to the other saftey and play brown next to ward. Then i think the browns would make that jump every person in cleveland is waiting for. so browns should go get Alex Smith and then get john Gurdon to be our coach and the browns would be awesome.

  • Steve

    I really hope that Heckert would have taken Gordon either way. If not, its a better reason to fire him than missing on Griffin. You take him because you value him as a second rounder, not because you need to save your job.

  • BenRM

    This is such a stupid non-story.

  • Brian

    Agreed, Heckert would’ve wanted to add RG3 even more. Don’t forget both played at Baylor.

  • Brian


  • Brandon

    Our needs in order: Pass rushing DE, Run blocking guard, pass coverage FS to compliment Ward, CB, and TE.

    I feel like Robertson has had a great year and deserves the starting spot for next year, to go along with Gocong and D’qwell. JMJ and Maiava are capable backups too. Our pass rush this year has been ineffective to say the least and our run blocking has not been great.

    McShay has us taking Warmack, a guard from Alabama in the first round. Our offensive line would be a huge strength for us and we could finally have that great run blocking to compliment Richardson. Weeden would be relieved of a lot of pressure.

  • JRS19

    Yeah this article is assuming a lot, but RGIII definitely would have brought a lot of fanfare and buzz to a team that could use some. I think that may be part of the reasoning. RGIII has revitalized a franchise that had been stuck in neutral.

    From a football standpoint, I think Heckert can be criticized for missing out on Russell Wilson. Hard to see a ton of difference in Seattle’s offensive arsenal and Cleveland’s. Their defense may be better, but Wilson inspires a lot more confidence in his team than Weeden. And it only would have taken a 3rd round pick.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Please no not another DL the first need is an athletic versatile LB followed by CB or S, WR and then maybe an OL or DL but not a TE. They have Watson, Cameron, Smith and Smelley and can’t even use them. Just my opinion.

  • mgbode

    getting to the QB is as important to defending the pass as having good DBs. if we are in a spot for a prime pass-rushing DE, then we should take him. if not, then go CB2, FS, LB, etc.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This organization has drafted more DL then almost any position I can remember. The DL has been improved and is stocked with enough right now IMO. There is a reason the LB corp is in the shape it is so for me that’d be one of my first areas to address. It’s probably just personal preference though. I know I’d also utilize that thing called free agency a little more especially when it comes to the OL and any tinkering that might be done.

  • Henry Brown

    I would say Kirk Cousins fantastic, RG3esque performance tips the balance towards them both benefiting from a good system.

  • saggy

    yeah – my sentiment exactly. I really like RGIII. what a class act off the field, and a guy who plays hard on it. But i think his career will either be cut short by injury or he will switch his style of play, which may make him less effective.

    Nothing everyone else out there hasn’t been saying.

  • saggy

    i’m with you, Rock. I think a true playmaking LB is our best bet – unless we see a real #1CB out there in the mold of Peterson/Haden. I’d be ok with that. But I think we should step back form the DL because, as you said, we have taken so many of them. I don’t want another Courtney Brown.

  • saggy

    man – that’s a pretty good point.