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Fan mailbag: Moss' status, Haslett's schemes, and getting younger in the draft


Fan mailbag: Moss' status, Haslett's schemes, and getting younger in the draft

Before we get started here, I didn't answer any questions about whether the Redskins are interested in a particular player in the draft. They haven't let anything leak about any players and if they did it probably would be a smokescreen anyway. It's lying season, folks.

OK, on to your questions.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk do you think it's necessary to keep Moss for veteran leadership,or is that phrase overrated?

— rich depaul (@peyton03) April 15, 2014
Leadership is not overrated. It's perhaps romanticized when it's talked and written about but a locker room needs leaders and veterans usually fill those roles. But a team can't keep players solely due to their leadership abilities. Moss will have to earn a roster spot based on his ability to contribute on the field. If he can do that, his leadership will be a plus. It will be interesting to see what happens if Moss and a younger receiver are in a tie for the last roster spot. Will they stick with the experience and leadership or go with the younger guy who might be around in a couple of years?

Tarik and I posted about this earlier this week. Mike Shanahan like to talk about being the head coach of the whole team, offense and defense, and Haslett did not have a free hand when it came to running the defense. What Haslett has been talking about is a more aggressive approach on defense. For example, Brian Orakpo dropped back into coverage over 100 times last year; Haslett would have him rushing the passer on many of those plays. For this and other more aggressive tactics to work, the pass rushers will have to get to the QB or a shaky defensive backfield will be left on an island with alarming frequency. They will probably give up a few big plays but the hope is that the sacks and turnovers will make up for them. We will see.
@Rich_TandlerCSN So far we've heard about top DL/pass rush draft prospects visiting Redskins but no DBs. Surprising to you? #RedskinsTalk

— Not Your Average Joe (@JoeCoolMiller) April 15, 2014
Not at all. Draft visits are very close to meaningless. The Redskins drafted Jordan Reed last year and they didn't have him in for a visit; for that matter they barely talked to him during the pre-draft process. Last year about 6.7 percent of the players who were drafted had visits with the teams that drafted them. I see that you're trying to connect dots but history shows that if you try to do that based on visits you will end up with a picture that is incomplete at best and misleading at worst.

What will keep Roberts, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jordan Reed happy is winning. If Jackson goes a couple of games with two catches for 15 yards and the Redskins go 0-2 he might be a bit disgruntled. If that happens and they are 2-0 he will be happy to wait his turn. If Garçon's receptions for the season drop to 75 because other players are getting chances and the Redskins have a winning season he likely will be fine. If they are 3-13 again he might wonder about his role. Sure, they want to get the ball and nobody, including Jackson, will be happy if he ends up with, say, 40 receptions for 500 yards. But having an efficient offense and winning will take care of everything.
#Redskins have a young core of talented offensive players, will they look to get younger in the draft on defensive side? #Redskinstalk

— Justin Byram (@Justin_Byram) April 15, 2014
They will look for players who can help them in the draft. As I noted this morning, conducting a draft is not like going to Wegman's with your grocery list. In the draft you don't know what players are going to be there when your turn comes up. If you go into the draft thinking "we have six picks, we want to get younger on defense, so we have to use four or five picks on that side of the ball" the chances are very good that you will have a bust of a draft. A team doesn't get younger, on one side of the ball or as a whole, in one draft. It's process over several drafts of restocking your talent base by picking the best players available when you are on the clock.

It's kind of early to have a good feel for this but I'll take a crack at it. Special teams will be better if only because they can't be any worse but it's going to take a couple of years before they can improve to being even mediocre/competent. I think offensively they will be able to cut down on turnovers and Robert Griffin III (by the way, not one question submitted about him on either Twitter or Facebook) will be more accurate. But I'll buy in to the theory that Haslett's more aggressive approach to defense noted in the first question here will make his unit the most improved. The addition of Jason Hatcher will help put that approach into practice and Ryan Clark will help out the back end.

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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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