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If Redskins get aggressive in free agency, it won't look like it did in the past


If Redskins get aggressive in free agency, it won't look like it did in the past

For more than a decade beginning in 2000, the Redskins landed free agents with big names and big paychecks. Largely, the results were big busts. 

The names roll out like a Encyclopedia of Bad Free Agent Moves: Deion Sanders, Adam Archuleta, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor, and the king of the terrible free agent signings, Albert Haynesworth. 

The bad moves compounded on errors. Washington signed older players -- often past their prime -- to contracts that were back-loaded and crippling to the salary cap. 

It was a bad era for the football organization. There's no way around that. 

Want some good news? That's over. 


The point here isn't to throw undeserved accolades at the current Redskins front office. 

It is time, however, to point out that the Redskins era of dumb money and old free agents ended some time ago, and the perception has changed around the league. 

Be clear, the Redskins have made some significant missteps over the last five years, but they have not been a result of bringing in veteran, big money free agents. 

The Washington brass, including Jay Gruden and Doug Williams, said during the NFL Scouting Combine that this is the year the Redskins will be aggressive in free agency. Why is that news? It hasn't happened in a number of years. 

Last year, Bruce Allen moved quick to sign mid-tier salary players on the defensive line in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain. Later in free agency, the team brought in Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown, both on one-year contracts. The moves for McGee and Brown worked well, while neither Terrell(e) played well in 2017. 


Say what you want about Allen, but he has largely been tight with the Redskins purse strings since he took over as team president. To that end, this offseason the Redskins have nearly $50 million in salary cap room. 

The only two big-name free agents signed in Washington since Jay Gruden took over in 2014 have been DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman.

Both players came available late in the free agency cycle, after unusual circumstances, and both players have produced in D.C. The Redskins were able to act because they had cap space when DeSean and J-No became available.

So what should fans expect in 2018?


The Redskins want young players, preferably coming off rookie contracts, with high upside and athleticism. 

That doesn't mean the team won't consider veterans, and that doesn't mean the team won't move to bring back some of their own veteran free agents. 

What it does mean, however, is don't expect to hear the updates of Redskins One flying around the country to wine and dine the biggest names on the market.

It hasn't happened in years. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

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:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.