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The case for - and against - the Redskins trading for Antonio Brown

The case for - and against - the Redskins trading for Antonio Brown

The Redskins Talk Podcast took a look at how much it'd cost the Redskins to acquire Antonio Brown, and whether the move would be worthwhile.

Click play in the embedded podcast player below to listen to the entire podcast. 


The Redskins need an offensive playmaker. Anybody that watched many Washington games in 2017 saw that glaring need, particularly at the receiver position. 

And now, Antonio Brown is absolutely available. 

The Steelers wideout is probably the best receiver in football. He has elite speed, great hands and off-the-charts athleticism. In the past six years, he's had at least 100 catches and 1,200 yards every season. He's made the Pro Bowl six years straight, and he's been named All-Pro four times in that span. 

There is zero question about Brown's talent. Zero. He's elite. 

The questions come from what drove a big enough wedge between Brown and Pittsburgh that he's demanded a trade, and that the Steelers have agreed to try. 

Beyond that, the more pressing question for the rest of the NFL is where Brown will end up. NBC Sports' Peter King suggested the Redskins could be a landing spot for Brown.

Could it be? King wrote:

A smart guy in the league told me the other day: “Look for the desperate teams with Brown.” What team is more desperate than Washington, which is hemorrhaging fans, has no idea who the 2019 quarterback will be, has no idea who the 2020 coach will be, hasn’t won a playoff game in 14 years, and has an embattled owner searching for anything that will get his team out of the muck and mire of mediocrity? This also fits the Pittsburgh plan of wanting to send Brown out of the AFC. The problem, obviously, would be finding a quarterback to get the ball to Brown. But Washington’s a team that loves to win the offseason and hasn’t done so in a while. I’d be surprised if Bruce Allen and Kevin Colbert don’t talk about Brown.

Inside the Beltway, folks want to know if Brown's availability is the exact answer to the Redskins' lack of playmakers. A case can be made either way.

The case for the Redskins trading for Antonio Brown

Brown had 104 catches for 1,297 yards with 15 touchdowns last season. 

The Redskins top three receivers - Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris - had 101 catches for 1,224 yards and four touchdowns last season. Combined. 

Washington needs a big-play wideout, desperately. And don't forget Crowder could leave the team when free agency opens in a few weeks. 

With four selections in the Top 100, the 'Skins have a decent arsenal of valuable draft picks to offer in a trade. Additionally, the Burgundy and Gold have a bunch of late-round picks they could use to sweeten a trade offer. That includes three fifth-round picks and two seventh-round picks. Keep in mind, however, the 'Skins don't have a fourth-round selection. 

Word is the Steelers are being selective about what teams they will talk about trading Brown. Excluded from discussions will be teams in the AFC North and certainly the New England Patriots.

As the Steelers possible trade partners shrink, maybe the Redskins can make a reasonable offer of a second and third-round pick. Washington cannot offer a first, the team just has too many holes, but getting Brown and still having a third-round selection would be a tremendous coup for Bruce Allen. 

Brown wants big chunks of his remaining contract converted to guaranteed money. Washington is hard up against the salary cap, and to even entertain a move for Brown would require significant cap relief. That would likely come in the form of releasing numerous players and restructuring others. 

But, in an odd way, the Redskins could be better off moving Brown's cash to a signing bonus. It would give Brown the guarantees he wants, and allow Washington to spread that money out over the remainder of the contract. 

It's a long shot, but it's not impossible. Brown would be a tremendous talent upgrade if this scenario somehow unfolds. 

The case against trading for Antonio Brown

Everything you just read above? It's damn near impossible. 

Pittsburgh will want a first-round pick for Brown. The Redskins CANNOT give up a first-rounder for a receiver that's going to be 31 this fall. 

Washington needs a lot of help all over the field, and using that cap space and draft capital on one player does not make sense. Remember the trade for Robert Griffin III, combined with the $36 million salary cap penalty sent down from the NFL in 2012, that set the organization back for years? 

Giving up draft picks for Brown, combined with Alex Smith's remaining $40 million on the salary cap, could spell the same doom. 

Beyond that, there are serious questions about Brown the teammate. Not his work ethic, and not his ability, but his temperament and actions inside the locker room. The volatile wideout wore out his welcome with one of the best franchises in the history of professional sports. 

What will Brown's act look like in D.C.? The team has not handled high-profile, high drama talent particularly well over the last two decades. 

Not to mention, who is going to throw Brown the ball? All receivers like to get the football, and Brown might not realize how good he had it playing with Ben Roethlisberger. For all of his personality faults, Roethlisberger puts his receivers in position to make plays. Always. 

Will that happen with Colt McCoy and whatever other QBs the Redskins bring in for 2019? 

Making a flash move just for the sake of a flash move is a terrible idea. Not to mention the Redskins don't have anywhere close to the cap room needed to acquire Brown. 

Sure, Brown is an elite talent, but Redskins fans looking for long-term franchise success should shut this conversation down before it begins. 

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Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Three key takeaways from Kendall Fuller's (second) first media session as a Redskin

Guys like Thomas Davis, Sean Davis and JD McKissic have all gone through their first sessions with the local media this week now that they're officially Redskins. Kendall Fuller had his, too, but because he's coming back to Washington after two years in Kansas City, it was really his second first session with the beat reporters.

So, here are three takeaways from the corner's call on Wednesday, which was a very useful way to catch up with him:

1) He doesn't know yet what his role will be — and that's perfectly fine with him

Fuller was at his best in the slot with the Redskins, but he moved around with the Chiefs, taking snaps on the outside as well as at safety in addition to the action he saw inside. He's essentially as versatile as a tuxedo T-shirt, giving Washington options in terms of what they'll do with him.

As of now, he's still not exactly sure where Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio will ultimately employ him. Regardless, he anticipates making an impact no matter where lines up.

"I'm just excited to show my talent, knowing that I can play anywhere on the field," he told reporters. 

Fuller is clearly the team's highest-profile acquisition of the offseason so far, and his versatility is part of why he was such a priority for the Burgundy and Gold to bring in. Add that quality next to his age — he just recently turned 25 — and it's easy to envision him having those chances to show that talent for quite some time.

2) He, too, is well aware of what the Redskins are building up front

Thomas Davis explained in his time with the media on Tuesday how the likes of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ioannidis and others made joining the Redskins an enticing thought. A day later, Fuller echoed that thought.

"When you're a DB and you're looking at the front seven, you know how important that is for you and your success," Fuller said.

Of course, the franchise went 3-13 with that same crew just a year ago, but the hope is that they'll fare far better with a scheme switch and improved coaching (and, also, the possible arrival of Chase Young). Fuller believes he stands to greatly benefit from their presence. 

3) Being back home is a giant bonus for him

The Maryland native and former Virginia Tech Hokie identified Ron Rivera's reputation and the group mentioned above as things that convinced him to return to the organization that drafted him. But being back in the area factored into his free agent decision, too, as it's a place he's obviously comfortable in.

In doing so, he let slip that he used to forbid his mom from attending afternoon games to ensure she was at home preparing dinner for him. It sounds like that rule is about to be reinstalled. 

"I had to let her know that she's going to have to start doing that again," he said.

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Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Like many of the Redskins new free agent signings, safety Sean Davis held an introductory phone call with local media on Wednesday, as any normal press conference will unlikely be happening in the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the call, Davis answered questions about his role with the Redskins will be, what the free agency process was like, and his excitement to be with the Burgundy and Gold, among other topics.

Here are three major takeaways from his conference call.

1. He's completely healthy.

During the first three seasons of his career, Davis was very durable. The safety missed just one game between 2016-2018 while starting in 40 of them.

But during the Steelers Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots, Davis suffered a shoulder injury, one that cost him the rest of his 2019 season. 

Davis was asked very early on during the conference call how his shoulder is currently feeling, and the safety's answer should please many Redskins fans.

"My shoulder’s good," Davis said. "I passed my physical, so I’m feeling strong, feeling great and I’m ready to get back on the football field. My shoulder is doing good."

It's worth wondering if the Steelers would have tried to Davis, should he had been healthy during the final season of his rookie deal. The Redskins jumped on Davis in free agency, signing him to a one-year contract, essentially a prove-it deal for the safety just hours after the new league year began. Should the 26-year-old have a bounce-back season and stay healthy in 2020, he'll set himself up for a nice payday next year.

2. Davis models his game after the late Sean Taylor.

It was a little ironic that Davis was introduced to the local media on April 1, the same day Sean Taylor was born 37 years ago. Davis, who grew up a Redskins fan in Prince George's County, said Taylor had -- and still has -- a major influence on his game.

"He was probably the biggest influence on my football game," Davis said of Taylor. "I’ve been wearing 21 since high school. I had to wear 28 for Pittsburgh my first two years, but once 21 opened up it was a no-brainer I had to jump on it. He was just an awesome player, a huge role model."

Davis won't sport No. 21 in Washington, as that number has been off-limits since Taylor's tragic death in 2007. While the newest Redskins safety will have to choose another number (No. 28 has also not been worn by any Redskins player since Darrell Green), Davis hopes he can have an impact on the field in a way Taylor once did.

"He was just a beast, he was the best and I’ve tried to emulate my game after him," Davis said. "He instilled fear in the receivers, he was doing everything imaginable, so he was really a freak athlete and I just try to do what I’m supposed to do, but also unleash the inner beast in me and play like Sean Taylor. That’s my goal every week I’m out there, play like Sean."

3. Davis has played multiple positions and sees his versatility as a strength.

Davis, like many of the Redskins free agent signings this offseason, has experience playing multiple positions. In Pittsburgh, Davis played both safety positions -- each for a full season as a starter -- and played a little cornerback, too.

"I have played a lot of positions. I just like being on the field, honestly," Davis said. "I feel like I can play any position you really want me to. As long as I’m on the field, I feel like I’m going to make an impact on defense."

The Redskins expect Davis to play free safety, as Landon Collins will play the strong safety role lining up closer to the line of scrimmage. However, Davis and Collins both have experience playing all over the field, allowing the Burgundy and Gold to get creative with their looks next season.

"I’m just looking forward to being the deep guy, being the one that everyone has to depend on," Davis said on playing free safety.

Since Davis moved from strong safety to free safety in 2018, one aspect of his game he's really focused on is making open-field tackles. He'll likely have plenty of opportunities to make those with the Redskins next season.

"Being the last line of defense, open-field tackling – it’s one of the hardest things in football and it’s one thing that I pride myself on," he said. "Each year, I’ve missed less tackles. I’m just looking forward to improving my game each and every year and the best is yet to come."

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