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The Taylor release and the Cycle of Futility

The Taylor release and the Cycle of Futility

The Washington Redskins offered Jason Taylor a raise. Taylor already was scheduled to make an $8 million salary and a $500,000 roster bonus in 2009. The Redskins were happy to pay him that money on one condition—that he accept another half a million dollars in exchange for about 27 days of additional word duty. Taylor refused and, as a result, he was fired.

The 27 days represented the 75% of the team's offseason conditioning workouts, voluntary sessions that are held at Redskins Park. Attendance at these sessions has historically been very high for the Redskins, with all but a handful coming in to work out. Dan Snyder offered that $500K bonus to Taylor as an incentive for him not to be one of that handful of no-shows.

The Redskins didn't expect the 34-year-old to come to these workouts just because he suffered from two major injuries last season, to his knee and to his calf, that forced him to miss a total of three games. And his attendance was not expected just because he had one of the worst seasons of his career. And it wasn't expected because he could benefit from spending some time with his teammates and learning more about his role in the defense.

No, his attendance was requested in return for $500,000 or about $18,500 per day. For this amount of money, he was asked to leave his family on Monday evening, fly to Dulles, participate in three days of workouts and then return to South Florida on Thursday evening. All to be better prepared to perform for an employer who was willing to pay him an additional eight million, five hundred thousand dollars.

But, citing a desire to spend time with his wife and children in Miami, Taylor refused to agree. Snyder and Vinny Cerrato decided that they were better off spending that $9 million elsewhere and Taylor was released.

Taylor is gone before the second-round draft pick they gave the Dolphins in a panic move last July after Phillip Daniels was lost to a knee injury on the first day of training camp is even used. And that will help ensure the continuation of a cycle of futility for the Washington Redskins.

Here's what I said about the move a few days after it was made, even while Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Dave Elfin, the decidedly non-homer reporter for the Washington Times were praising it:

To be clear, I don't necessarily think that they should have taken Calais Campbell or Quentin Groves in the second round of the draft. I stand by my point that the biggest problem this team has had this decade is scoring points, not preventing the other team from scoring.

Still, if one injury to a starter at one position forces you to make a trade that burns a second and a sixth and over $8 million in cap space you haven't done a very good job in building depth at that position. You can nitpick over what player should have been taken over another with a given draft pick, but having depth means that you have someone who can step in as a starter in the event of an injury. The Redskins, by their own admission, didn't have that depth.

So the cycle will continue. They don't have that second-round pick so it's likely that some time in the future when a starter goes down with an injury—and that happens all the time in the NFL—they won't have a capable replacement ready to insert into the lineup. So they'll have to get on the phone again and trade away another future draft pick for another player who doesn't quite mesh with a system that he doesn't fully understand.

In the July 2008 post cited above, I commented on Elfin's characterization of the Taylor trade as a "no-brainer"

I don't know about the characterization as a no-brainer, but Vinny Cerrato and company certainly acted as though it was one. No doubt, however, it was a bold move and like most bold moves it's likely that it will prove to be either a master stroke or a colossal blunder.

Time will tell.

Time has told us that it was a colossal blunder. History tells us that it's one that is likely to be repeated.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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.