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Need to Know: Which players on the roster are the Redskins for life?

Need to Know: Which players on the roster are the Redskins for life?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 7, three days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from Twitter:

I gravitated to this question right after hearing Niles Paul say that he is “a Redskin for life” after signing a three-year contract with the team on Friday.

Who are the Redskins for life who are currently on the team? Paul may be one but he would have to sign another deal (at the age of 29) to be a Redskin on March 7, 2019.

Let’s look at two groups. The certain Redskins for life have at least a 75 percent chance of being with the team four years from today. The possible group has between and 50 and 75 percent chance.

Certain—Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Bashaud Breeland

At least one and maybe some more will join this group after the draft next month. The first-round pick will sign a four-year contract and it’s unlikely that they let him go before his rookie deal is up. At least one or two more draft picks are good bets to stick.

But at the moment that looks like a small group of players who are likely to be under contract to the Redskins in 2019. Honestly, I’m not sure how big this list would be if you looked at other teams. Four years is an eternity in the NFL. But it does seem to be a rather thin base from which the Redskins can build.

Possible—Jordan Reed, Robert Griffin III, Darrel Young, Tress Way, Niles Paul, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy

Griffin jumps out here, of course. He is a tough one to peg at the moment. To call this coming season pivotal for his future in Washington would be quite the understatement.

Whether or not Reed stays around depends on health. Young may be a bit of a stretch because of his age. He is going to be 28 next month but fullbacks frequently survive into the thirties.

I know that many will argue with the inclusion of Riley. I look at him as a survivor who may take a pay cut to stay as a reserve and special teamer even if he is displaced as the starter. And we’re talking 50/50 chances here.

Timeline

—It’s been 69 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 190 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 44; 2015 NFL Draft 54; Redskins training camp starts 145

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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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.”

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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.