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Washington trades up for No. 2 pick in NFL draft

Down, set… yikes!

A couple of NFL teams made dramatic moves Friday, shedding some light on how the league’s quarterback shuffling could unfold this season.

Washington struck a deal with St. Louis for the No. 2 pick in April’s draft, with the Redskins apparently moving into position to select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (assuming Indianapolis takes Stanford’s Andrew Luck first.) The deal cannot be finalized until the start of the league year Tuesday.

Cleveland looked to be in prime position to move up from No. 4 to 2 to select Griffin, but the Redskins nabbed that pick, giving up their selections in the first (No. 6) and second rounds this year, and their first-round picks in both 2013 and 2014. It’s a huge price to pay, but one that indicates the importance of quarterbacks in today’s NFL.

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That means the Redskins are dropping out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, as are the New York Jets, who Friday night gave Mark Sanchez a three-year contract extension.

“To find out that I could come back for three more years means the world to me,” said Sanchez, a lightning rod for criticism last season. “I’m absolutely pleased to be a Jet. My family’s ecstatic, and now it’s time to get to work.”

The Broncos, meanwhile, picked up Manning in South Florida, where he owns a condominium, and flew him to Denver on a team plane. Executives John Elway and Brian Xanders, and Coach John Fox were on the flight.

Were the Broncos to sign Manning — who is expected to visit Arizona and Miami and make a decision within days — they would have to make a decision on whether to keep or trade Tim Tebow. There’s talk in league circles that Jacksonville might be interested in trading for Tebow, a hometown star who could help the franchise put fans in the seats.

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Kansas City is pursuing Manning too, according to Chiefs owner Clark Hunt.

“He is somebody that we’ll talk to,” Hunt said in an interview with the NBC Sports Channel. “There’s certainly going to be tremendous interest in Peyton Manning across the league. He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the league. He’s also an incredible person.

“We feel really good about the team we have in Kansas City going into the 2012 season, but we’ll look for any opportunity to improve, and, of course, that includes Peyton Manning.”

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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