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Creating a 2018 offseason blueprint for the Redskins

Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Creating a 2018 offseason blueprint for the Redskins

There is no shortage of advice heading the Redskins’ way as the start of the league year approaches. One list of five suggested offseason moves came from Bill Barnwell of ESPN. Here is a look at his proposals and my take on them.

Don’t try to tag and trade Kirk Cousins—If you’ve read what I’ve written here or if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I think that this would be a bad and futile move. Cousins would have to sign the tag in order for him to be traded for compensation. “Why would Cousins want Washington to narrow his options, and why would he want his new team to give up valuable draft picks as a thank-you to the franchise that is moving on from him?” wrote Barnwell. Exactly.

Re-sign Zach Brown and Spencer Long—Bringing back Brown certainly should be a top priority. He brought an element to the defense that has been missing for years. The question is, how much will he cost? Barnwell said that he won’t break the bank but that he should get more than the four-year, $24 million deal that A.J. Klein got from the Saints last year. In fact, Brown’s expectations are far north of that. Klein got $9.7 million in guarantees with $5.7 million fully guaranteed at signing. Colleague JP Finlay has reported that Brown’s camp wants closer to $20 million guaranteed.


Long may be able to take advantage of a weak market for the interior offensive line; Barnwell suggests that his ceiling may be a deal with an average annual value of $8 million. A lot will depend on his health after he missed nine games with a quad injury that required surgery and knee problems. I have heard that the Redskins are leaning towards moving on from Spencer, but it remains to be seen if the thin supply of possible replacements in free agency will change their minds.

The pending free agency of Bashaud Breeland also is discussed here. He likely will be out of the Redskins’ price range as he is looking at a potential contract with an AAV of $10 million. The loss of Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade may give the Redskins pause but that price tag is probably too high.

Pick up Brandon Scherff’s fifth-year option—This is an easy call, although the better move would be to get him an extension before the option decision is due in early May. The salary for that 2019 option year will be in the vicinity of $14 million, which is left tackle money. That number could be used as a floor for negotiations just like Kirk Cousins’ agent used the tag salary as a basis for his anticipated salaries.

Work on extending Preston Smith—His inconsistency in sack numbers causes some fans to severely underrate his importance to the defense but he is a vital part of the unit. Barnwell suggests that even though it may cost over $10 million per year to lock him up, they should do it in order to avoid the franchise tag game that they played with Cousins. Pass rushers are rare and Smith is a very good one. They should do everything they can to keep him in the fold.


Barnwell does not mention Jamison Crowder, who also is eligible for an extension, but I think he needs to be a priority along with Smith and Scherff.

Be selective in free agency—This always is good advice for the Redskins but perhaps more important this year. If the Redskins spend too much they will negate the third-round compensatory pick the would get for Cousins and a potential lower pick for Breeland. One way to avoid that would be to target players cut by other teams. Among the free agents that Barnwell thinks would be good fits are WR’s Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price


Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 


Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198