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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' biggest needs

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Need to Know: Ranking the Redskins' biggest needs

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 9, five days before NFL free agency starts.  

Ranking the Redskins’ top six needs

We are about to get into the heat of the NFL player acquisition season. Here are what I see as the six most important needs the Redskins need to address, ranked.

6. Special teams—This isn’t a specific player that they need. It’s something they need to look for in players they take from the fourth round on and in free agents that are on the market late this month. I know that the injury bug trickled down and affected special teams, but they weren’t all that good early in the year when everyone was healthy.

5. Running back—I probably think that Samaje Perine still can develop into a solid running back more than most do (including Doug Williams). If the offensive line stays reasonably healthy and they get better blocking from the receivers and, particularly, the tight ends, I think that the running game can improve with the current personnel. But a more dynamic every-down type of back certainly would help the running game and pay quick dividends.

4. Left guard—The assumption here is that both Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao will be allowed to walk in free agency, leaving a big hole. Maybe Arie Kouandjio can step up and take the job but the Redskins can’t rely on that happening. This is where the missing third-round pick will hurt. That’s a good spot to pick up a guard who can step in and start right away.

3. Nose tackle—Just like the struggles of the running game on offense were not all to blame on the running backs, the Redskins’ poor rushing defense wasn’t all due to a lack of a true nose tackle. In fact, they were better stopping the run on first down, when the base defense utilizing a nose tackle was in the game (4.3 yards/carry, 26th in the league), than they were on second and third down when they were more frequently in nickel (4.9/carry, 29th). But they won’t really fix their problems until they fix the position.

2. Wide receiver—If you lined up with the wide receivers the Redskins have under contract now, Maurice Harris or Robert Davis would line up opposite Josh Doctson with Jamison Crowder in the slot. That clearly is not acceptable. Whether it’s in free agency or in the draft, the Redskins have to find a capable starter.

1. Inside linebacker—The easy answer, of course, is just to re-sign Zach Brown. When the defense was mostly healthy last year it was Brown who was making things hum. But money matters may get in the way of that. The fact that there aren’t many quality inside linebackers in free agency could both drive up Brown’s price and make it difficult for the Redskins to find a replacement in free agency. That could send them to the draft and possibly Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds.

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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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—NFL Draft (4/26) 48
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 184

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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.