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Duckett Redux

Duckett Redux

A couple of my favorite commentators, Joe and Michael, took exception to some of my points in my recent blog about the Duckett trade. Their points were excellent and many have echoed their concerns. They are worthy of further examination.

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See the original blog here.

Joe: The move smacks of desperation. I think to the "smart set" (your words) you only make a move like this if you're looking at about 8 games without your starter.

I used the term “aggressive” to describe the move. Aggression and desperation aren’t quite the same thing, but they hang out in the same neighborhood. A dog who has been backed into a corner becomes aggressive in trying to get out of there. We’ll just have to wait and see if the Skins feel that they have been backed into the corner. To me, the move makes sense and is fitting with the way that the organization does business even if Portis will be 100% for the Vikings game. It’s not like the Redskins are strangers do making moves like this absent a compelling reason for desperation such as a major injury. If Clinton Portis isn’t ready by Week 2 in Dallas then we will know the answer.

Michael: I do think the move makes the 'Skins better this year, but I also think we did overpay for Duckett's services, mainly because Duckett's on a 1-year deal. You have to ask yourself whether a high third-round pick equivalent is worth more than a situational RB for 1 year. I think the high third-round pick is worth more.

Ultimately, it depends on who the third-round pick is. If it’s Derrick Dockery, certainly it is. If that pick turns out to be Rashad Bauman, the one-year rental of Duckett has the potential to much move valuable. The third the Redskins gave up to get Mark Brunell in 2004 wound up belonging to the Packers and they used it to take Clemson DT Donnell Washington. He has yet to appear in an NFL game and he’s now the property of the Raiders. Then again, later in that round the Redskins traded their ’05 second-rounder and took Chris Cooley. Thirds are gambles; you might not even get one solid year out of them. There isn’t much of a chance that the Redskins won’t get one solid year out of Duckett. But if the pick gets used for another Cooley, the Redskins clearly will have lost the gamble.

Joe: As far as overpaying, yes, some people prefer minivans, some prefer Porches. Some people like homes next to a school, some like mansions in Malibu. Buy you don't pay Porsche money for a minivan. You don't pay Malibu money to live next to a school in Richmond. Regardless of utility, a 1st day pick is too much to spend on a short yardage back. Especially when you have a few guys on the roster that can handle it already.

Good points, but I think that they fall apart with the last sentence there. Who on the roster is a proven short-yardage back? Sellers had exactly one carry last year, for one yard and a touchdown. That was against the Eagles and, if you recall, Sellers coughed the ball up when it was just a hair over the goal line (or a hair short of it, depending on who you talk to). I pointed out Betts short-yardage numbers—two carries in third and two or less to go situations for minus two yards—in the first blog. Rock did it some in his rookie year but he doesn’t have the size to push the pile and he does have a tendency to put the ball on the ground. Am I missing some proven commodity here? If you don’t have that short-yardage guy and you believe that such a deficiency could cost you the Super Bowl then you pay what it takes to

Michael: What about team unity? Obviously, winning helps unite a team, but bringing Duckett in clearly has made waves at least among the RB corps.

Joe: They have a right to be upset if the coaches were blowing sunshine up their tailpipes while they spent all spring and summer working out in Ashburn, just to have the rug pulled out from under them on the eve of the season. You'd be mad, too.

This argument against the deal holds the least amount of water in my view. You don’t decide against making a move that you believe will improve your team because it might bruise the feelings of some of the players. These players are realistic enough to know that any sunshine blown their way is just temporary and that clouds could be cast in front of it at any second. We heard the initial gut reactions of Cartwright and Betts. Cartwright has apologized for what he said and Betts seems to be OK with it, too. They are professionals and they will go about their business and try to earn—that’s the key word, emphasized like in the old Smith Barney commercials—their roles and their playing time.

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Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

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.


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.


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: Redskins player quick hitters—Defensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Defensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 22, 35 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—defense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one. Yesterday it was the offense, now the defense is up.  

DE Jonathan Allen—He was close to being ready to practice during the last couple of weeks of the season so his Lisfranc rehab is going well. Anticipation will be high when he takes the field in Week 1.

DE Stacy McGee—From looking at my social media timelines I can conclude that many Redskins fans hear “free agent D-lineman” and automatically say “bust”. That’s not the case with McGee. Last year he was the Redskins’ most consistent defensive lineman.

NT Ziggy Hood—I’ve said this before and it still holds true—Hood should not be a starting nose tackle. He would be very good as a rotational defensive lineman.

OLB Preston Smith—Sure, he’s inconsistent. But he’s on often enough to be a very valuable player. He lacks eye-popping sack totals but since he came into the league in 2015, only Smith has at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and four forced fumbles.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—He will turn 30 during training camp but he shows no signs of slowing down.

ILB Zach Brown—The Redskins needed to bring him back and they got it done. He does struggle in coverage at times, but the defense is much better with him than without him.

ILB Mason Foster—He and Allen saw their seasons end due to injuries at about the same time and the defense wasn’t the same after that. Foster brings experience and toughness to the defense that is hard to replace.

CB Quinton Dunbar—It’s possible that Fabian Moreau will beat him out for the starting job before the season starts. But Dunbar has come a long way since the former wide receiver volunteered to help out at cornerback when a rash of injuries hit during his rookie season. I wouldn’t bet against him.

CB Josh Norman—He certainly didn’t play poorly last year but the goose egg in the interceptions column is a black mark. The thing is, with quarterbacks like to test Dunbar and Moreau playing on the other side, he might not get many opportunities to pick off passes this year, either.

S D.J. Swearinger—After signing as a free agent, he put himself on the line, saying he was the leader of a defense before he had even played a snap with the group he wanted to lead. He walked the walk, filling both the leadership vacuum and the lack of quality safety play.

S Montae Nicholson—Jay Gruden said that Nicholson was the defensive version of Jordan Reed, a player who changes what the unit can do when he is on the field. High praise, but also a lot of pressure to stay on the field.

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) 26
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 128
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 172

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