Sports

Redskins set to pay Rams a hefty price to pick Baylor star Griffin at No. 2

The St. Louis Rams agreed in principle Saturday to trading the No. 2 pick of the draft to the Washington Redskins for three first-round selections.

The Redskins are paying a hefty price to move into position to take Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. They're giving the Rams their first- and second-round selections this year, plus first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

Chief operating officer Kevin Demoff confirmed to The Associated Press details of the trade, which cannot be completed until Tuesday. FOXsports.com and ESPN.com first reported details of the agreement Friday night.

The Redskins are advancing four places from sixth in the April draft, leapfrogging any other team that would have an interest in Griffin, the Baylor quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts are expected to take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 choice.

The bold move demonstrates the Redskins' desperation for a franchise quarterback after two decades of struggles. Coach Mike Shanahan has already whiffed on three in his two seasons in Washington, with Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck combining to produce an 11-21 record.

The Redskins were among the teams hoping to be in the running for Peyton Manning, but the odds are stacked against the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback coming to Washington. The offense needs upgrades at receiver and along the offensive line, and Manning would have had to face his brother Eli Manning of the New York Giants twice a year in the NFC East.

The Rams were in the market to trade because they already have their franchise quarterback, 2010 No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford. The Redskins had to make an offer they felt would outbid the quarterback-needy Cleveland Browns, who could have offered both the No. 4 and No. 22 selections in this year's draft.

Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert acknowledged Thursday he had talked to the Rams.

"We feel very comfortable staying at four and getting a good player there, and that could happen," he said. "And we feel comfortable in moving down and getting more picks, we really do. It's way early to start talking about this stuff."

By sacrificing four premium draft picks, Shanahan is reversing the plan he set in motion last year to stockpile picks to rebuild Washington's depleted roster. The Redskins, however, have plenty of space under the salary cap and can be aggressive in plugging their holes when free agency begins Tuesday.

Grossman and Beck combined to throw 24 interceptions last year, putting the Redskins just one behind league leaders Philadelphia and Buffalo on the way to a fourth consecutive last-place finish in the division. McNabb, acquired in a trade from the Eagles, was the starter for the first 13 games in 2010, when Washington went 6-10.

Griffin, therefore, would get to work with a coach who has a reputation for working well with quarterbacks and designing effective offensive schemes. But Shanahan would likewise rely on Griffin to help retain the coach's legacy. Shanahan has won only one playoff game since John Elway retired after capturing the second of back-to-back Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos in 1998, and he hasn't been to the playoffs in his last five seasons as a coach.

The Rams have won 10 games the last three seasons, so they need help across the board and the extra draft picks can plug several holes.

The player most often mentioned as the team's pick if it stayed at No. 2, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, would fill one of the greatest needs. But the Rams might feel they have a shot at getting him with the sixth pick.

Indy cleans house

Spring cleaning started early in Indianapolis.

Two days after formalizing the departure of quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts announced they have cut linebacker Gary Brackett, their longtime defensive captain, along with tight end Dallas Clark, running back Joseph Addai, safety Melvin Bullitt and quarterback Curtis Painter.

They are also fielding calls from teams interested in trading for All Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney.

Irsay has already fired coach Jim Caldwell and Bill and Chris Polian, the father-son front office team.

Briefly

Peyton's place: Free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning met with Broncos president John Elway in Colorado. Manning will visit Arizona and Miami in the coming days.

Giants: Running back Brandon Jacobs, who was open to a pay cut from his $4.9 million salary in 2012, could not reach agreement with the team on a price and was released. Jacobs, 30, played his entire seven-year career with the Giants.

Broncos: Linebacker D.J. Williams, defensive tackle Ryan McBean, a former Euless Trinity and Oklahoma State player, and tight end Virgil Green were suspended by the NFL for violating the performance-enhancing substances policy. Williams and McBean will miss the first six games of 2012, Green the first four - all without pay.

Saints: QB Drew Brees says he has never participated in and was never aware of a "real" bounty program. He said there is no place for players being given incentives to injure one another on purpose.

Jets: Mark Sanchez's contract was extended by three years and the team said it was dropping out of pursuing free agent Peyton Manning.

Raiders: Cornerback Chris Johnson, who was due to earn $3.5 million in 2012, was released.

Bills: Linebacker Kirk Morrison was re-signed to a two-year deal.

Jurisprudence: Former cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was released from a year's probation by ending court-ordered community service 10 months early.

Pro day: Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon was clocked at 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and quarterback Brandon Weeden ran a 4.87.

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