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Does the Norman deal mean it's the same old Redskins?


Does the Norman deal mean it's the same old Redskins?

It’s very easy to look at the Redskins’ signing of Josh Norman and say that this is just the same old Redskins.

The Panthers, who must know what they’re doing because they just went to the Super Bowl, must have had good reasons for rescinding the franchise tag on the All-Pro cornerback. Dan Snyder’s team said, damn the torpedoes and proceeded full speed. Redskins One was dispatched to pick up Norman and his family, the word got out the organization wasn’t going to let the player leave without a contract. A high-dollar deal was hammered out quickly.

Critics of the deal will say that nothing has changed, that despite years of the Redskins proving you can’t buy a championship, here they go again.

And that line of reasoning is difficult to dismiss out of hand. However, the one difference in the equation now is GM Scot McCloughan.

He will talk to the media on Monday, in a previously scheduled news conference. It’s a lock that he will refer to Norman as “a football player”, a term he reserves for players who love the game, will work hard, and set an example for younger players to follow. If McCloughan is going to spend a good chunk of salary cap on a player, he had better be a “football player”.

And make no mistake about it, this was a McCloughan decision. He was seen leaving Redskins Park after Norman had put pen to paper smiling and giving a big thumbs up. The decision to bring Norman aboard may or may not work out in the long run but it seems clear that McCloughan is all in on it.

Since becoming the Redskins’ GM, McCloughan has talked a lot about the importance of building through the draft and using cap dollars to reward your own players rather than heaping big deals on players from the outside. The Norman move doesn’t fit in with that at all. Has McCloughan fallen in with a corporate culture that has reliance on free agency in its DNA? It goes back to signing Pat Fischer in the 1960’s, Dave Butz and John Riggins in the 70’s, Wilber Marshall in the ‘80’s, the string of big money big names after unfettered free agency started in 1993 and, most recently, the signing of DeSean Jackson two years ago.

In today's instant analysis media environment it's easy to say yes, the Redskins are back to their old, let's try to buy a title ways. Salary cap hell, a lineup loaded with aging vets who aren't worth their salaries, and piles of dead money after those veterans are cut to sign more free agents are right around the corner.

But it's going to take some time to find out if McCloughan has changed his ways. If signing Norman proves to be a one-time event, not repeated for at least a few more years, then it will be a case of McCloughan taking advantage of what he thought was a unique opportunity.

But if he grabs Snyder’s checkbook and goes big-game hunting next year, well, we’ll have to seriously look at changing our views. We will see how it plays out. 

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 


What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 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 Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200