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Cowboys-Redskins First Take—A Confession

Cowboys-Redskins First Take—A Confession

In 2006, along with many, I would have bet the mortgage that Terrell Owens would not be a problem for the Washington Redskins to worry about as they prepared to face the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. The only question would have been if the Cowboys still were dealing with the radioactive remnants of the inevitable TO-induced explosion.

I was wrong.

When the Dallas Cowboys signed Owens two and a half years ago, I was delighted. Certainly, it seemed that Owens had some ability left in his then 32-year-old body, but age was sure to catch up with him. But before his age caught up with him, his selfish, love-me-some-me attitude would, sooner or later, bring down the entire Cowboys organization.

In the sooner part of the relationship, things almost did go sour. Drew Bledsoe couldn't hit the inside of a barn from inside the barn. Old school Bill Parcells barely was tolerant of the TO, who marches to a decidedly different drummer. Owens' grumbling was growing louder and an explosion seemed imminent.

Before the timer on the ticking time bomb hit 0:00, however, Parcells yanked Bledsoe and inserted the untested Tony Romo. All of a sudden TO was getting fed all the footballs he could eat. The offense started to click, Owens was having fun.

Things continued to roll in '07 and the only memorable TO moment came when he shed tears at the end of the Cowboys' playoff loss. This year, it's so far so good.

As difficult as it is to do, it's time to say it: Jerry Jones gambled and won.

He didn't just draw to an inside straight; he threw four cards back in and got dealt a royal flush.

Jones planted a turd and roses grew.

While Owens has maintained his healthy ego, he is being fed the ball, money, and attention and that has kept him happy and allowed him to perform at a very high level. And the chances of him blowing up and turning into the locker room cancer that everyone expected him to be by now are very, very slim.

And he will present a very, very big headache for the Redskins on Sunday. Owens beat them almost single-handedly last year in Dallas, torching the Washington defense with 8 catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns.

Anything close to a repeat of that performance and the Redskins will be in deep trouble. Even if they contain him in this game, he will be a thorn in their side all year because he makes their division rival a much better team.

I don't want to get into what might have happened had the Redskins brought in Owens instead of Brandon Lloyd. We don't know how that would have worked out. Mark Brunell's passing may well have pushed him over the edge in no time.

But my hat is off to Jerry Jones, who in this case proved to be crazy like a fox.

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

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

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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 Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

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