The Redskins had two No. 1 picks this spring. One, of course, is quarterback Robert Griffin III, who they took with their top pick in the draft, the second overall.Their other first choice, judging by how quickly they contacted and signed him, was free agent wide receiver Pierre Garon. Even though the Redskins had just found out that they were getting slapped with a 18 million salary cap penalty they still made the former Colts receiver an offer he couldnt refuse and the deal was done within an hour of the start of free agency on March 13. They showed how much they wanted him by giving him a five-year, 42.5 million contract.Thats a lot of money for any receiver, especially considering Garon does not have a 1000-yard receiving season on his resume and he never has caught more than 70 passes on a season.He spent his four years in Indianapolis either playing behind or playing second fiddle to the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison so his lack of a big season is understandable. But big free agent contracts are usually given out based on proven production, not on potential. The Redskins rolled the dice with Garon.He said that he did not feel that his contract put him under any added pressure. You know, anytime you play in the league, theres pressure. If youre a sixth- round pick or if youre a first day free agent, you know its pressure no matter what, he said. Everybody has their own pressure. Free agents just have to go out there and make plays, do this and give it your all every time you play and thats all you can do. Mike Shanahan believes that Garon and Josh Morgan, another receiver with so-so career stats who signed a contract worth 12 million over the next two years, have something to prove. When you do bring a player in or two players in that have played and played well, its a welcome addition to your football team because they are better players that are proving themselves or youre hoping they are better players that are proving themselves.The Redskins will be looking for big plays out of Garon. If he can pull off plays like his 87-yard touchdown catch and run against the Bucs last year just a few times in 2012 he will go a long way towards earning his contract.Last year the Redskins lacked a player who could score from anywhere on the field. In fact, that has been a glaring hole for them for many years. They have not been able to score from outside of the red zone and when they get close to the goal line they struggle to punch it in. That combination has made the Redskins offense among the lowest scoring in the league year in and year out.Shanahan and the organization recognized that need by making priorities of bringing in Griffin, who was one of the most accurate deep passers in college football a year ago, and Garon. As with many plans and strategies executed by the Redskins in years past, it looks good on paper but well have to wait and see how it plays out on the field.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
One head-scratcher from over the weekend was the Redskins’ apparent decision to hold on to defensive end Terrell McClain despite the fact that his 2018 base salary of $3.25 million would become fully guaranteed as of 4 p.m. on Sunday.
McClain missed four games with a toe injury last year and when he was playing he was not one of the top performers on the line. Perhaps he will improve in his second year in the defense but his performance certainly didn’t warrant a fully guaranteed salary.
Sunday came and went, and McClain was still on the roster. However, there was a change regarding the eight-year veteran. According to John Keim of ESPN, the Redskins and the player agreed to remove the full guarantee of the 2018 salary and change it to an injury-only guarantee.
MORE REDSKINS: NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0
The change will help alleviate what could be a numbers crunch down the road. The Redskins normally carry six defensive linemen. They have four keepers in Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. They have been trying to sign a free agent D-lineman like Johnathan Hankins and if they fail to do that they are likely to take one early in the draft. That would mean that five of the roster spots are spoken for.
If McClain had the guaranteed salary that might lock him into that sixth spot, leaving Ziggy Hood, a favorite of the coaching staff, on the outside looking in. The removal of the full salary guarantee levels the playing field between McClain, Hood and another possible free agent or draft pick when it comes to competing for that last roster spot.
If McClain loses out in the battle for a roster spot in training camp releasing him would save about $3.4 million in 2018 cap space. However, there would be a dead cap charge of $2.5 million in 2019. If his salary had remained fully guaranteed his departure would have caused a net cap charge of about $2 million.
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.
Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense
The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.
Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood
I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.
Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight
Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.
Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett
I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.
Tandler on Twitter
And only have a window for him to become the starter in year 4 of a four-year contract? No, thanks.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) March 19, 2018
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174
In case you missed it
- Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency
- Visitors will help determine Redskins' FA strategy
- Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract
- Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick