A frustrating 2011 campaign in St. Louis left the Rams with the second-worst record in the NFL, selecting No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
With franchise quarterback Sam Bradford already in hand, and several teams clamoring for the rights to select Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, the Rams had one of the best trade chips in the history of the NFL.
It took until March 9, when Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and the front office set a deadline for the last, best offer from interested teams. Several teams reportedly bid, but the Redskins' offer of two first round picks (2013, 2014) and the 2012 second-round pick proved superior.
After-the-fact, other teams claimed that the relationship between Fisher and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan played the deciding factor. Both sides claim this wasn't the case.
"Well, I think I obviously have a good relationship with Jeff and [Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer] Kevin Demoff as well," Shanahan said. "Bruce Allen knows Kevin as well.
"We had one of those relationships where he had a chance to talk, but this is a business. They are going to go with the best offer, but we had a chance to communicate and make them the best offer."
"We had a chance at least to be in the hunt and we were happy we were able to make that trade."
Fisher confirmed that assessment during his conference call with the Washington media, citing his responsibility to future of the Rams franchise.
"It didn't have any effect with it," Fisher said of his relationship with the Redskins' front office. "There's a personal side of the relationship and there's a business side to this.
"This was a business deal that we thought was the best decision for both clubs."
Shanahan and Fisher's friendship dates back 20 years to their mutual time in the San Francisco 49ers organization. At the time, Shanahan was head coach George Seifert's offensive coordinator and Fisher was the team's defensive backs' coach.
"Mike and I spent about six months--of course in separate rooms--at the Marriott with the [San Francisco] 49ers in 1992 and '93," Fisher explained. "We go back that far."
Shanahan defined their relationship as being built on a mutual respect, despite coming from opposite sides of the ball and coaching opposing teams.
"We had a chance to become great friends through the years," Shanahan said. "We've spent a lot of time getting to know each other and following each other's paths as head coaches.
"He's considered a very good friend and a guy that's one heck of a football coach."
Despite Griffin III's Week 1 success, Fisher has no regrets in trading the rights to him, given the presence of Bradford under center and the return in draft picks.
"With Mike's effort to acquire him, he was going to play right away," Fisher said of Griffin III. "Obviously, we studied him, but not to the extent that Mike did.
"In Mike's quest to acquire [Griffin III], he felt all along that defenses can't defend those dynamic [playmaking skills]. Basically, he's right."