NFL Insider Polian: "It Takes Two to Tango"


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As draft talks heat up, there's plenty of speculation regarding the willingness of teams to trade up in order to score one of the top two quarterbacks of the 2015 class. If you want Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, though, ESPN NFL Front Office Insider Bill Polian says you'd better be willing to sell the farm.

"It's easy to say, 'Oh, yeah, we'll go up,'" Polian said during a national conference call Monday discussing the upcoming draft. "But what's the price?"

Several analysts and fans speculate that Winston will go No. 1 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No one from the Bucs has confirmed or denied this pick. However, if that scenario plays out, Polian says any team that wants to trade up to snag Mariota at #2 will have 10 minutes to make it worth Tennessee's while.

"They're just not going to give it away," he said. "They have needs. They have a desire, if they trade the pick, to get fair value and probably fair value plus."

Given quarterback Zach Mettenberger's inexperience, a popular rumor is that the Titans might be willing to budge in order to acquire a veteran passer (i.e., Philip Rivers or Jay Cutler). But Polian, a Hall of Fame elect who spent 32 years building NFL teams, said he's not buying it.

"I haven't heard anybody from Tennessee say they're in the market to trade this pick," he said. "They may entertain some calls. Everybody does. But the price, I would think, is going to be pretty darn high."

The situation is reminiscent of the 2012 NFL Draft when the Redskins made a blockbuster trade with the Rams. Washington acquired St. Louis's No.2 overall pick and, consequently, quarterback Robert Griffin III. But it cost them dearly: The Redskins surrendered three first-round picks and a second rounder. This trade, Polian says, might have set the precedent for 2015.

"Why wouldn't that be the benchmark?" he said. "RGIII and Marcus at least played in similar offensive systems. They had similar levels of success."

RGIII led the team to its first NFC East title since 1999 and went on to become the Offensive Rookie of the Year. But Griffin suffered an ACL and LCL tear at the end of the 2012 season, and the former Heisman winner has struggled ever since.

In short, it's all a gamble. And in Polian's well-backed opinion, draft talk, in many ways, is "fantasy land."

"Everybody has their own needs and desires and deals that they want to cook up. That's what makes it fun," he said. "But the fact is it takes two to tango, and the people that are trading down are the ones that set the level of compensation."

While countless possible scenarios exist, proposing a trade in the early rounds of the draft always boils down to one question: How bad do you want it?


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