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Will the Redskins have to overpay to keep Perry Riley?

Will the Redskins have to overpay to keep Perry Riley?

Jim Haslett listed four of the Redskins’ pending free agents that he would like to be back. One of them, DeAngelo Hall, is signed, sealed, and delivered. We discussed the very quiet state of the Brian Orakpo negotiations yesterday. And the chatter is that the Redskins and Chris Baker are going well and it would be a surprise if they didn’t come to an agreement at some point.

That leaves inside linebacker Perry Riley and it appears that there is some distance between the Redskins and Riley’s camp. There seems to be little chance that Riley will be signed before free agency starts on March 11.

What happens in modern sports is that free agent prices that teams have to deal with are set by their dumbest competitors. In the past, the Redskins have been among the not-so-smart teams setting high player salaries. Now, they are in a situation where they could be paying for the reckless spending of others.

It has been reported that Riley wants a contract comparable to the one that the Dolphins gave Dannell Ellerbe a year ago. He got a deal worth $35 million over five years despite having started just 14 games in four NFL seasons.

As Evan Silva of Rotoworld, who ranked Riley as the 103rd-best free agent available, said that Riley isn’t worth half of what Ellerbe makes. And while the Redskins are willing to pay more than that, they will point to the deal that the now retired London Fletcher signed in 2012. The veteran signed for two years and an average of $5.4 million. At the time he signed the contract, Fletcher has 14 years of NFL experience and he was coming off of his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. It’s hard to argue that Riley is worth more than Fletcher.

What Riley ultimately gets paid may come down to supply and demand. There was a report that seven teams have contacted D’Qwell Jackson, released by the Browns yesterday. It is not known if the Redskins are one of those teams but you have to figure they have done their due diligence on Jackson. But the point is that there should be a reasonably healthy market at the inside linebacker position.

We know the Redskins have a high level of demand there with Fletcher retired, Riley on the free agent market, and the team having no viable starting options on the roster. They need to sign two starting caliber inside linebackers whether it’s Riley and someone else or two new players.

That leaves them in a weakened position in dealing with Riley. They may have to be willing to overpay to an extent to keep him so they don’t risk having to start all over in the heart of their defense.

But there is an upper limit to what they will pay. If another team thinks that Riley is worth an Ellerbe contract the Redskins could wish him well and move on to other options.

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Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins


Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins

NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets. 

While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:

Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. 

Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks. 


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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

USA Today Sports Images

The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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.