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Antonio Pierce Should Shut Up

Antonio Pierce Should Shut Up

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After three seasons in and out of the lineup, linebacker Antonio Pierce had a breakout season in 2004, nearly making the Pro Bowl with the Redskins. Pierce’s timing was excellent, as he became an unrestricted free agent after the season. After considering a competitive offer from the Redskins, the team he broke into the league with as an undrafted rookie in 2001, he decided to sign with the New York Giants.

The Redskins were sorry to lose him and said so at the time. "It's one of those things that you don't want to have happen," Joe Gibbs said when asked about Pierce leaving Washington. "Antonio played great for us last year. We would have loved to have gotten him re-signed. We went as far as we could go, but it just didn't work out. I hate [losing Pierce].”

The other coaches and many of the players expressed similar sentiments. And that was that—from the Redskins end of things. Pierce, however, has yet to put the whole thing behind him. At the time of his signing, he said that he was “shocked” that the Redskins didn’t step up their offer to match the one the Giants’ gave him. Apparently, the Giants thought that linebacker with on year of starting experience—a very good year, no doubt—was worth $6.5 million in guaranteed money and the Redskins, apparently to Pierce’s chagrin, did not.

Players often use such perceived slights as motivation and, certainly, there is nothing wrong with that. Pierce, however, has taken his grudge to another level. It’s one thing to take your issues with our old team out on that team as Pierce did in the Giants’ 36-0 rout of Washington last October. It’s another to take them to the press.

In comments in an article from the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, Pierce took the occasion of talking to reporters about his trumpeting of LaVar Arrington’s virtues to the Giants organization to take a few shots at the Redskins
"This organization's not the same as the Redskins," Pierce said. "It's not (about) the entertainment and the marketing side of it. It's all about football. It's about winning, and it's a family atmosphere around here. He's not going to wake up tomorrow and the whole staff and everybody in this organization is going to be gone. I think he felt good about that.
Let’s start from the ending first. Uh, Antonio, I hate to tell you this, but the Giants fire coaches, too. Many of the guys you now play with woke up one morning and found out that Jim Fassel had been fired. The fact that you went through that twice does not make you unique among NFL players. And, hate to tell you this too, but the odds are that before the remaining five years on your contract are done there is a pretty good chance that there will be another coaching change on the team you play for.

And is change always such a negative thing? A fair-minded person would have to say that the last coaching change in Washington was one for the better. Under Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams, Pierce got the opportunity to earn his $6.5 million payday a year ago. Perhaps Pierce would rather the Redskins had stuck with Steve Spurrier and George Edwards. Had that happened, the odds are that he would have hit the free agent market hoping for as much as a six-figure signing bonus.

And yes, the Redskins used to be more concerned about “the entertainment and marketing side of it.” Pierce used to be a player who nobody though enough of to draft. He used to be a rookie who had no clue where to line up or where you should drop to in zone coverage.

The key words, of course, are “used to be”. Daniel Snyder, in hiring Gibbs to run the organization, has demonstrated that he has the Redskins on track to be an NFL organization committed to winning. Pierce has now demonstrated that he is a very competent NFL player. Nobody mentions the mistakes in the early days and his inability to first crack the ranks of college players who were drafted and then his inability to hold down a starting job on a mediocre defensive team for three years. All’s well that ends well except, apparently, in Pierce’s view when it comes to the Redskins.

If Pierce would check the ledger, he’d find that the Redskins won just as many games as the Giants did last year, and went a round further in the playoffs. Guess it was all that marketing that did it, Antonio? Have to say, though, that it was pretty entertaining.

When Pierce was with the Redskins, he was noted for his chatter on the field. In those circumstances such talk was positive, directing the defense and encouraging his teammates. The chatter he’s spouting out now, however, directed at the team that gave him his chance in the NFL to begin with and was responsible for putting him in a position to burst onto the scene and command a big payday, is beneath someone who plays for a class organization and who wants to be considered among the elite players in the game.

If Pierce holds a grudge against the Redskins, that’s fine. But he needs to shut up and let his play twice a year do the talking.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from when they arrived in Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. To get more details, visit

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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 ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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