I am trying to remember the last time thee was as much hysteria over a fourth-round draft pick as there has been over the Redskins selection of Kirk Cousins. I cant. I honestly believe that Mike Shanahan would have been under less fire if he has just passed on the pick and not taken a player there at all.A multitude of different arguments agains the pick have been made. Some, such as saying that the Redskins could better have used the pick on another area of need, are debatable. Others, like Skip Bayless inserting a racial component into the pick, are just hysterical and stupid.The one I want to look at here is that this is a repeat of 1994, when the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler third overall and then came back and took Gus Frerotte in the seventh.Veteran John Friesz started the first four games of the season before Shuler was thrown into the fray against the Super Bowl champion Cowboys. The result was a highly predictable 34-7 beatdown. His grip on the starting job lasted for all of three games before Norv Turner, out of the blue, started Frerotte in the eighth game of the season against the Colts in Indianapolis.Frerottes performance in the 41-27 win earned him offensive player of the week honors. That created a controversy that lasted a year and a half and ended up with Shuler first being benched and then shipped to New Orleans for a mid-round draft pick.The conventional NFL wisdom is that picking a quarterback in the top five who busts is a death sentence for an NFL franchise. It is supposed to set a team back for years.But a funny thing happened to the Redskins when Shulers career cratered. They got better. While nobody was forgetting the glory days under Joe Gibbs, they were in contention for the playoffs until the last weekend of the season in both 1996 and 1997.They were able to remain competitive in large part because they had drafted bust insurance. They had a young quarterback ready to go when Shuler demonstrated that he couldnt get it done.The mistake wasnt drafting Frerotte, the mistake was drafting Shuler. Whether it was intentional or not, the Frerotte selection was a stroke of genius. Gus ended up starting games for seven different teams in his 15-year NFL career that ended just four years ago.Nobody thinks that Robert Griffin III will be another Shuler. But reality is that history says that there is a chance, perhaps as high as 50 percent, that RG3 will join Shuler on the scrap heap of NFL history.If the unthinkable happens, who would you rather have take the snaps, Rex Grossman or whatever other quarterback you could find on the street or someone like Cousins, who could provide a long-term solution?
News broke that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement.
Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.
In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry. Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing.
The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or the draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help.
Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams.
Injuries undid the run game, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg.
Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team.
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Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 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.
Galette to be a valued free agent
Originally published 12/13/17
Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.
To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.
Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”
But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.
“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”
One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.
And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.
But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.
Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.
Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.
The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.
—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201