One of the items near the top of the Redskins’ offseason to-do list was to find a spot for 2014 second-round pick Trent Murphy. The emergence of 2015 rookie Preston Smith, the re-signing of the injured Junior Galette, and the presence of stalwart Ryan Kerrigan would leave very few snaps at outside linebacker for Murphy.
Joe Barry and the rest of the coaching staff figured that the answer was just to get Murphy pointed in the right direction.
“Murph is at his best when he’s going forward, when he’s able to get off the ball and go forward,” Barry said on Inside the Locker Room on ESPN 980.
The job that Murphy held last year had him moving backwards a lot.
“He played at Sam linebacker last year,” said Barry. “Sam linebacker has got to drop, he’s got to play a curl flat, he’s got to zone match people in corridors, he has to be able to play zone drops. He did a great job but it was unfair to him.”
Murphy played defensive end at Stanford and he led the nation in sacks. He played end some last year in nickel situations so the decision was made to have him do it in their normal defense.
“So, I sat him down and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’” said Barry. ‘”In base, instead of you playing outside linebacker in a two-point stance with 50-50 rushing and dropping, we’re going to kick you down to that five technique where you always have your hand in the dirt and go forward. Get off the ball and go, which he already does in sub anyway as a sub defensive end.”
It is possible that Murphy may have ended up as a full-time defensive end regardless of the presence of the other talented players at outside linebacker. Barry believes that it was his obligation to set his player up for success.
“A coach has a number of jobs but the first thing is to get his players into position to do what they do best,” he said.
The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.
Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction.
What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb.
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For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined.
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The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.
Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.
Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.
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After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.
The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).
The salary cap hits per year are as follows:
2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million
The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.
Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.
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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/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.