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Not much bang for the buck from Redskins 2015 free agents


Not much bang for the buck from Redskins 2015 free agents

Many were somewhat surprised last year when Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan hit the free agent market rather heavily in 2015. After saying in his introductory press conference that he was going to rebuild the team through the draft, McCloughan signed five free agents, all on the defensive side of the ball. None of them could be defined as a big-splash type of acquisition but he did spend some money. The free agent contracts totaled $69 million and ranged from one to four years.

Perhaps McCloughan would have been better off staying out of the free agent market. The team didn’t get a whole lot of bang for its buck. Here are the five free agents ranked by the value the team got for its money:

DE Ricky Jean Francois—3 years, $9 million: The former 49er and Colt played about 37 percent of the defensive snaps (427/1157) and he always seemed to provide a spark when he was in the lineup. He had two sacks and 17 tackles and provided solid leadership as a playoff race veteran (his teams were in the playoffs in each of the last four years).

NT Terrance Knighton—1 year, $4.5 million: Although he was nominally the starter, he played fewer snaps (408) than did Jean Francois. Pot Roast did provide a run-clogging presence in the middle and he is the first true nose tackle the Redskins have had since they started running the 3-4 in 2010.

S Jeron Johnson—2 years, $2.5 million: He was supposed to be a starting safety but he was beaten out in training camp by Duke Ihenacho. The fact that Trenton Robinson, not Johnson, came in at safety when Ihenacho went out for the year with a wrist injury in the season opener meant that Johnson had fallen to third string. He played 195 snaps and, according to Pro Football Focus, teams were six for six when throwing into his coverage.

DL Stephen Paea—4 years, $21 million: He played 221 snaps and he was mostly invisible. Paea did record 2.5 sacks but he did little else to justify his contract. His season ended when he was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury in Week 14.

CB Chris Culliver—4 years, $32 million: Perhaps it’s unfair to put him on the bottom of this list since he missed eight games due to injuries and those are something that a player can’t control. But even in the seven games in which he played he had no interceptions, no fumbles forced or recovered, and just one pass defensed. That’s not much of a partial season for that kind of money.

It should be noted that it takes more than one season to judge a free agent contract. Any of the four players who are under contract for 2016 (Knighton is not but he could return) could rebound and live up to their deals. But so far none of the free agents are providing much value for the money spent. 

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

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.