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Need to Know: Redskins' one-year deal for Zach Brown has risk and reward for both parties

Need to Know: Redskins' one-year deal for Zach Brown has risk and reward for both parties

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 4, 23 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 13
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 38
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 50
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 102
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 150

Three and out—Zach Brown edition

1. According Pro Football Talk and other such analysis sites, Zach Brown was the best available free agent still on the market. The Redskins brought him in for a visit yesterday morning and struck a deal with him in the afternoon.

To be sure, Brown was ranked in the 40’s when the ratings first came out. He’s not a game-changing talent but a solid addition to a defense that needs all the help it can get.

For right now, it looks like they will start Brown and Will Compton at the two inside linebacker spots and have Mason Foster come in for nickel situations, something he did well last year after Su’a Cravens went out with an injury.

2. Brown reportedly agreed to a one-year deal. We don’t have any financial terms yet but LB Kevin Minter, who started 32 games for the Cardinals in the last two years, signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Bengals last month. It is a safe assumption that Brown’s deal is somewhere in that vicinity, perhaps with some incentives that could add to his pay.

3. The Redskins now have two potential starters, Brown and WR Terrelle Pryor, on one-year deals.

Often it is the player’s choice. As noted, Brown was looking for around $6 million per year in a one-year deal. He didn’t find any takers. So instead of setting for whatever he could get over three or four years and get locked into that, he opts for a one-year deal that will give him a decent payday and hope that he can cash in next year. He’ll be 28 when free agency comes around in 2018 and he hopes to be able to cash in.

Brown is taking a risk of injury by doing this. He knows all about that; in 2015 he played in one game before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. But it’s a chance he’s willing to take.

In some cases the team may prefer the one-year deal as it minimizes their risk. Free agents aren’t always good fits into a team’s culture or system. Instead of committing to a long-term deal and committing the guaranteed money needed to get that deal done, a one-year deal essentially lets them rent before buying.

The risk for the team is if the player blows up and has a big season. They then may have a situation where the player may be priced out of their range

Out—Brown’s deal will pay him up to $4.65 million. If it all goes against this year’s cap (that will depend on how the incentives are structured) they will have about $6.6 million in 2018 cap space. The Redskins will be at the point where they will need to do something to create more room. They need about $2 million in net cap space to sign their draft picks and they will want about $5 million to ensure that they don’t have to coast across the finish line on fumes.

One way to get more space is to rework DeAngelo Hall’s contract, which calls for him to make $4.25 million this year. They also could save up to about $7.5 million by restructuring Trent Williams’ contract, converting some of his 2017 salary into signing bonus and spreading the cap hit out over the remaining four years of his contract.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

More Redskins

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the second episode above and more here.

Many Redskins fans are hoping the team secures a defensive back in the first round by landing a guy like Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick. But if Washington opts to address a different position in Round 1, there'll be a quality safety available in the middle rounds in Terrell Edmunds.

Terrell, the brother of top-10 prospect Tremaine, is projected to be taken in the third or fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. As of now, the Redskins don't have a selection in the former, but a trade could change that. They pick 109th in the latter.

"Terrell possesses high end speed and explosion traits that are coveted for his position," writes NFL.com. "He has man cover talent against big targets and should step right into a role on the coverage units for special teams."

With D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson, Washington's starting safety tandem is taken care of on paper. Nicholson was injured often as a rookie, though, so depth is needed behind him. And their special teams have been leaky for quite some time, providing the Virginia Tech Hokie a place to make an immediate impact while he works his way into the defensive rotation.

It's a rotation he would likely feel at home in, too. Edmunds is more than comfortable talking trash, so if he does become a Redskin, he'd fit right in alongside the likes of the fellow vocal guys like Swearinger, Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar.