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Resetting Redskins' depth chart at safety with additions of Donte Whitner and Josh Evans

Resetting Redskins' depth chart at safety with additions of Donte Whitner and Josh Evans

With both of their starting safeties out for the season the Redskins are forced to do some scrambling.

Free safety DeAngelo Hall went on injured reserve with a torn ACL last week. Yesterday strong safety David Bruton was put on IR with a concussion. Although neither player was playing particularly well, losing two starters for the season forces a team to scramble. The Redskins now have five safeties on their roster. How will the sort out on the depth chart?

Will Blackmon took Hall’s starting spot at free safety. He played fairly well against the Browns last Sunday but he is still learning the position after 10 years as an NFL cornerback.

The starting strong safety is Duke Ihenacho, at least for now. He was inactive the first two games, played some against the Giants and then he stepped in after Bruton went out.

Ihenacho earned the starting job last year before a wrist injury ended his season just eight snaps into the opener. It seems likely that he will start on Sunday against the Ravens and it will be up to him to hold on to the job.

Pushing Ihenacho soon could be newly acquired Donte Whitner. He has 10 years at the position under his belt. He has been the starter at strong safety for three teams and he has been durable.

Since 2010 Whitner has started 93 of a possible 96 games. Whitner was a Pro Bowl selection three straight years from 2012-2014.

Yesterday he said that football is football and that he would take the playbook back to the hotel to study up on terminology. Whitner could get some snaps this week but he is more of a threat to Ihenacho’s job security as the weeks go on.

For a while the Redskins were debating whether they should sign Whitner or Josh Evans. They decided to put Bruton on IR and sign both.

Evans is 25 and he started 36 games in Jacksonville. It’s kind of puzzling why the Jaguars decided to let him go on September 2 when the league is short of competent players at the position. Perhaps he will fit better into a role as a part-time performer on defense and as a contributor on special teams.

But the way things are going at safety for the Redskins, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start at some point this season.

Deshazor Everett is the fifth safety on the team. He has yet to play a defensive snap this year and the signing of two safeties indicates that the Redskins might want to keep it that way. He is a good special teams contributor and that will keep him around while he learns how to play defense.

One other thing that should be noted here is that Bruton isn’t necessarily done for the season. The team can choose to activate any player who went on injured reserved after the formation of the 53-man roster after that player has been out for eight weeks.

Right now center Kory Lichtensteiger and Bruton seem to be the main candidates to be activated if their respective rehabs go well.

MORE REDSKINS: Lauvao expects to be back on the field

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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