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Jay Cutler—Get it done

Jay Cutler—Get it done

The Washington Redskins gave up 21 points of fewer 10 times last year. In fact, they gave up more than 24 points just once last year. Add Albert Haynesworth to the lineup and it could well be a rare Sunday that a Washington opponent gets past the upper teens in scoring.

Jay Cutler's Broncos have a record of 13-1 when they give up fewer than 21 points.

Do the math.

The Redskins need to get Jay Cutler.

Not at any price. Their 2009 and 2010 first-round picks are too much. But if Denver wants the 2010 #1, Jason Campbell, and maybe second-day selection this year?

Boom, just do it.

How about if Denver asks for this year's first and Campbell? I try to get back a second or third this year or next but if that's what it takes I do it.

I like Campbell a lot. I've even been categorized as a Jason Campbell apologist. He still has a ways to go but in the absence of a viable alternative—and I do not believe that Colt Brennan is anywhere near viable at this point in time—I'd rather give him one year too many to prove himself rather than one year too few.

Cutler isn't just a viable alternative; he is a major upgrade. Both have been their teams' starting quarterback for part of 2006 and all of 2007 and 2008. Campbell has attempted about 100 more passes. Cutler has just over 9,000 yards (7.4 per attempt), Campbell about 7,200 (6.4). When it comes to getting it into the end zone, Cutler has done it 54 times, Campbell 34. Campbell is markedly better at holding on to the ball, throwing 23 interceptions to 37 for Cutler.

I think that most would give up a dozen or so interceptions in return for an additional 20 TD's and an extra full yard per attempt.

This would not be a quick fix, an attempt to squeeze another year or two out of an aging veteran. Cutler will be 26 later this month making him a year and a half younger than Campbell. The Redskins would be set at quarterback until at least 2020.

The cap-strapped Redskins certainly can afford Cutler. He's signed through 2011 at reasonable base salaries and the Broncos would have to eat all of the guaranteed money left on the deal. If he's successful in the next year or two he'll want a new deal before that but the cap may not be an issue by then. Even if it is, the Redskins will find a way to get it done.

What of Cutler's attitude? Do you really want to deal for a quarterback who pouted his way out of Denver, one of the NFL's model franchises?

Certainly, you have to conduct due diligence here. Vinny Cerrato needs to call Mike Shanahan and have a long talk about Cutler's character, work ethic, and leadership ability. They need to talk to former coaches and teammates on the same subject.

There were indications that Jeff George would be Jeff George before he was Jeff George. Cerrato and company need to do a thorough search for such red flags.

Should these conversations indicate that Cutler is a reasonable risk the Redskins need to jump into the bidding. The Redskins have an advantage of some other suitors in that they are in the NFC. That gives the Redskins an advantage over a team like the Jets. The Broncos would much rather deal him out of the AFC. If two offers are roughly equal in terms of players and picks, Denver clearly is likely to go with the bid from the other conference.

Another advantage the Redskins have is that they have been talking to the Broncos for about a month about a possible deal. Oh, you actually believed the denials issued by Jim Zorn and Cerrato? What do you expect them to say? They have to work with Jason Campbell if it doesn't go through. They don't want to be in the same position as the Broncos are now, with a disgruntled quarterback on their hands.

One blogger puts the odds of the Redskins landing Cutler at 10-1. I think that's a bit low. Someone I trust put the odds at about 50-50 and that was before this announcement that Cutler is available.

The bottom line is that if the Redskins want to make something happen they have a history of being able to do so. And it says here that chances are that the Redskins want to make this happen.

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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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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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