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All’s quiet in Ashburn

All’s quiet in Ashburn

We're about 18 hours into the NFL free agent signing period and the sounds of silence are emanating from Redskins Park.

Well, near silence anyway. The Redskins did ink quarterback Todd Collins to a three year deal that will be worth at least $9 million ($3 million guaranteed), perhaps more with incentives. He signed the contract knowing that he would be the backup to Jason Campbell. Collins provided a feel-good story last year, coming in for an injured Campbell and leading the Redskins to four straight wins and a playoff spot. The uplifting, underdog tale—Collins hadn't see any extended playing time in a decade—provided us with something to smile about in the wake of the murder of Sean Taylor.

Not to minimize the retention of a backup QB who has proven he can win, but that hardly qualifies as the big splash to which we have become accustomed around this time of year.

Unlike in past years when the start of free agency meant that the fax machines were cranking all night long as the number crunchers worked various "what if" cap scenarios into and through the wee hours of the morning, all reports are that there is little activity in Ashburn. Redskins One is in the hangar, getting a much-needed extended rest after logging many hours in the air during the coaching search. No free agent visits are scheduled.

That bears repeating. No free agent visits are scheduled. It used to be tough to get a room at a hotel near Ashburn this time of year as they were all booked with free agents and their entourages waiting to take their shots at getting a fat paycheck signed by one Daniel Snyder.

All across Redskins Nation there are definite signs of withdrawal. After years of being accustomed to the thrill of being in the mix for the biggest names in the free agency pool, there is the hollow feeling of, well, hollowness. Nothing.

Many aren't handling this well. They are sitting at the keyboard, banging out messages about every released player and every pending free agent wondering how he might look in burgundy and gold. Others are staring at their phones, local sports talker number on the speed dial, waiting to call in and rip Snyder for overpaying yet another bum.

But the activity all is elsewhere. The Eagles inked Assante Samuel for five years and $47 million. In Miami the Tuna is reeling in players left and right. Tens of millions of dollars are being guaranteed almost every hour.

Sure, it's just like Vinny Cerrato said it would be a week or so ago. The Redskins are following the market instead of setting it. They'll let everyone else pick up the big tabs and settle for some leftovers in a week or so.

But, of course, that's no fun. Acting responsibly usually isn't. It's like sitting at home doing your homework on a Thursday while all your friends are at a party. In the long run, it's what you need to do. But at the moment it sure is boring.

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before they let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Associated Press

Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

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) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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