A reader left a comment on yesterday’s post about the Redskins not having any NFL starter caliber players under contract in the middle of their defense:
Is it time to consider using the “R” word? (rebuild!)
That is a term that hasn’t been used much in reference to the Redskins. If you asked Bruce Allen or Jay Gruden if the Redskins are rebuilding they would try to convince you otherwise.
But let’s look at the facts here:
- The team went 3-13 last year
- They have a new coach
- About 20 of last year’s players are going to be free agents
- A half dozen or more players who are under contract could get released for performance and/or salary cap reasons.
- Allen himself said recently that he sees 20 new players on the roster and that he is disappointed in the lack of depth on the team.
If that doesn’t add up to a classic rebuilding situation, I don’t know what does.
The fact that the Redskins are rebuilding does not mean that that fans should tune out until, say, the 2016 season. For one thing, rebuilds don’t take that long in the NFL these days. No, you’re not likely to see the Redskins prepping for the Super Bowl a year from now. But some smart free agent choices (and the Redskins have some $30 million in cap space to pay for those choices) and a few hits on draft picks and they could very well be respectable and perhaps even competitive in what still should be a weak NFC East division.
One thing that the Redskins have going for them that other rebuilding teams don’t have is a quarterback. Assuming that Robert Griffin III can regain the form he showed during his rookie of the year performance in 2012—or even something close to that—the Redskins have a building block that most teams in the Redskins’ situation just don’t possess.
Griffin also has a solid running back to hand off to in Alfred Morris, a left tackle to protect his blindside in Trent Williams and a go-to receiver in Pierre Garçon. And all four of those key players are under contract for at least two more seasons.
Of course, you need more than four studs on offense to make a deep playoff run. That’s what the rebuilding is all about.
Allen and Gruden may choose to call it something else. But it it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's, well, a rebuild.
The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.
Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction.
What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb.
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For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined.
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The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.
Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.
Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.
MORE REDSKINS: NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0
After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.
The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).
The salary cap hits per year are as follows:
2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million
The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.
Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.
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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.