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Redskins Ponder WR Options

Redskins Ponder WR Options

During his one-hour appearance on WJFK radio on Wednesday, Joe Gibbs gave a few hints as to what the team’s strategy will be for the free agent signing period that starts next month and for the April College draft.

The clearest statement he made was:

We would like to solve everything that we could on our football team in free agency

The team would then enter the draft with the idea of being able to “free wheel it” and take the best available player rather than drafting for need.

His other concrete comment was that the team would not be interested in free agent receiver Plaxico Burress and Carolina receiver Mushin Muhammad.

With (Muhammad) and Plaxico, what you're talking about is big bucks.

Clearly, since the team has announced that it is seeking to trade Rod Gardner, receiver would have to be considered a need. With Muhammad and Burress apparently out of the picture, who does that leave? Perhaps David Patten could be persuaded to leave the Patriots and give the Redskins a solid, blue-collar performer who could be had for a blue-collar price.

Beyond that, the other options at the moment are inconsistent and overpriced, like Jerry Porter, or has-beens like Joey Galloway or never-were’s like Tai Streets. There are certain to be a few cap casualties at the position, but the likes of Az-Zahir Hakim and David Terrell make that potential list of choices sound like the proverbial waiver wire from hell.

And the competition for this limited talent will be fierce. Just look in the Skins’ own division; Philly certainly should be looking to upgrade from Alan “Alligator Arms” Pinkston and Freddie “The Mouth” Mitchell, the Giants are happy with their receiver corps and you have to think that Bill Parcells isn’t happy with his group of Quincy Morgan, Keyshawn, and Ms. Terry Glenn.

Should nothing fall into place in free agency, the other option is to be not-so free wheeling in the draft and nab either Michigan’s Braylon Edwards or USC’s Mike Williams with the ninth overall pick. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad way to go but remember that receivers rarely contribute consistently until their third year.

Speaking of receivers in their third season, it’s possible that the team will give Taylor Jacobs the opportunity to win the starting job. He showed some promise last year after losing most of his rookie season to a freak abdominal injury.

In fact, the Redskins just may need to give Jacobs a shot and either draft a receiver late or go for someone who is a second- or third-tier free agent. After all, since 2001 the Redskins have invested two firsts (drafting Gardner and compensation for Laveranues Coles) and a second (Jacobs) in the position. You can’t go on spending that many high draft picks and, in the case of Coles, large chunks of cap money on one position and expect to be in a position to win.

True, all three of those receivers were brought in by previous coaching staffs. But that shouldn’t matter to Joe Gibbs. You would think that a man who could adjust his offense so that Alvin Garrett could replace the injured Art Monk as a starter in and catch three touchdown passes in one playoff game and another one in the Super Bowl could figure out a way to get the ball in Taylor Jacobs’ hands several dozen times next year.

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!