Robert Griffin III is worth everything the Washington Redskins spent on him.
The quarterback is the greatest bait-and-switch owner Dan Snyder has promoted -- more than Deion and Donovan. Nothing sells hope like a rookie quarterback, and Redskins fans are salivating over playoff possibilities by 2013.
Seven months after a 5-11 season left many Redskins fans swearing they wouldn't renew their season tickets -- some after a half century -- they're back. Just when flabbergasted fans thought they were free, RGIII pulled them back in.
The Washington Nationals may reach the playoffs for the first time since they arrived in 2005. They have two exciting young All-Stars in Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Yet it's still a Redskins town. The Nats have made a dent, but football remains king in the District. If the Nats make the World Series, attention will shift for a week, then immediately return to the Redskins.
That's why giving St. Louis three first-round picks and a second-rounder to draft Griffin second overall was necessary. Snyder will pay Griffin $21 million over four years without hesitation. The rookie's worth that in jersey sales alone.
The good news is Griffin's not another in a never-ending line of marquee busts for the Redskins. He's real.
As the Redskins open the preseason in Buffalo on Thursday, Griffin will look like a rookie at times. The Heisman Trophy winner isn't Superman, though he has a super power to keep fans interested while he develops. Even a 4-12 season likely would leave fans hungering for the next year.
It definitely will hurt that the Redskins won't have a second-rounder on the field this season -- maybe on the perennially battered offensive line, where the team already has three injuries -- or first-rounders the next two season years. But is Griffin worth three players? He is if he plays well.
This is an all-in move for coach Mike Shanahan and Snyder. If Griffin gets hurt early in his career, the team is doomed for at least five seasons. It took that long to recover after drafting quarterback Heath Shuler, and that didn't involve three other draft picks.
The Redskins didn't have a choice in taking Griffin. They could have sat at No. 4 and selected a receiver or the draft's third-best quarterback, but fans wouldn't have tolerated Rex Grossman as the incumbent starter. FedEx Field would have been FedUp Field, with only visiting fans half-filling the Landover stadium.
Griffin is smart, fast and the best sure-fire passing prospect the Redskins have possessed in decades. For a franchise with 21 starting quarterbacks in 21 years, taking Griffin was a no-brainer.
Truly, Griffin's value may not be proved for at least a season or two. But for now, he's a short-term success.