Maybe the tougher move would have been for Royal to join the Redskins, even though their facilities are 15 minutes from his alma mater, Westfield High School, and even though his best year in Denver occurred in Mike Shanahan's final season. Perhaps Robert Griffin III becomes a Pro Bowl quarterback. But when will that happen? Philip Rivers already is at that level.
"It means a lot to have a guy you know exactly what you're getting week in and week out," Royal told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Of course, I could have been comfortable at home and playing for a coach that I played for before. At the end of the day, I had to make the right decision for me.
"It wasn't about being comfortable. It wasn't about playing at home. It was about the best decision for me as a football player and my career. I think I made that decision."
At one point on the opening day of free agency, it appeared Royal was close to a deal with the Redskins. But other teams jumped into the bidding. San Diego then offered him a three-year deal worth potentially $13.5 million -- more than what Washington wanted to pay. And in the end, for all the other factors involved, the one that usually wins out is the most obvious: money.
- John Keim