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Redskins yet to begin contract talks with Chris Baker, Pierre Garçon, other free agents

Redskins yet to begin contract talks with Chris Baker, Pierre Garçon, other free agents

Kirk Cousins ranks as the top free agent question for the Redskins, but the team has a number of other players with expired contracts. And so far, it seems the Washington brass isn't interested in working on new deals. 

Defensive lineman Chris Baker is yet to hear from the team on a new deal, per a source with knowledge of the situation.

Baker has been the team's best defensive lineman the past two seasons, and if he hits the open market, will have suitors around the league. An able run stopper with good burst to apply interior pressure on quarterbacks, Baker registered 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons. 

Elsewhere on the roster, receivers Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson both could hit free agency. 106.7 the Fan's Brian McNally reported the team has reached out to neither player on a new contract. Should the Redskins lose both Jackson and Garçon, that is taking 2,000 receiving yards out of the 2016 offense. 

Staying on offense, veteran tight end Vernon Davis joined the 'Skins last year on a one-year 'prove it' type deal. He proved it. Davis caught 44 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns and gave the 'Skins a viable option at tight end when Jordan Reed dealt with injuries. ESPN's John Keim reported that the 'Skins have not talked much about a new deal with Davis either.

Speaking at the Senior Bowl with CSN, team president Bruce Allen said the team wanted to finalize their coaching staff before diving into player contracts. The staff is almost full, though some lower level positions are still open. Regardless, it's also possible for the team to reach out to players and their representatives while filling coaching jobs. 

Free agency does not open for another month, and the 'Skins still have time to enter into negotiations with the players they want to bring back. A month is a lot of time, but it's curious that Washington has gone silent on multiple notable free agents, especially for players they intend to bring back. The team has been allowed to work on new contracts with their own players for weeks. 

It's too early to determine that the Redskins are moving on from any of their free agents, though the extended silence says something. 


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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

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.


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.


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.