The Redskins needed to add a starting caliber safety. They signed maybe the best young safety on the free agent market in Landon Collins.
The Redskins needed to add a veteran quarterback. They traded for Case Keenum, two years removed from an NFC Championship game appearance.
Collins looks like a home run signing for Washington. The 'Skins had to add a safety and did so without burying their salary cap for 2019. The contract has outs after two and three years as well, and Collins has shown he can be an elite player. His All Pro 2016 season, at just 22 years old, is proof.
The trade for Keenum is a double, but the tag at second was pretty close. He's not a great quarterback, but he's a capable starter. More importantly, bringing in Keenum, along with veteran Colt McCoy, should mean the Redskins don't end up in the sort of desperate state that led to Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson getting starts late in the 2018 season.
Both deals addressed needs for the Redskins, which is good. The bad news is plenty of needs still exist.
The Redskins lost outside linebacker Preston Smith and wide receiver Jamison Crowder in free agency, and both players started for the last few seasons in D.C.
Replacing them won't come cheap, but they have to be replaced.
There's some thought third-year pro Ryan Anderson is poised for a breakout season. Asked about expectations for Anderson, VP of player personnel Doug Williams said, "That's up to Ryan."
A few years ago, a similarly strong but unproven third-year pass rusher had a breakout season in Washington. His name was Trent Murphy, and after six combined sacks in 2014 and 2015, he popped for nine sacks in 2016. Anderson has just two sacks through two seasons, but with Smith gone, this would be a great time for the former Alabama star to break out.
The 2019 NFL Draft also has a lot of edge rushing potential, both in the first round and in the later rounds. Expect the Redskins to add at least one outside linebacker in the draft, maybe more, and that could be as early as the 15th pick.
Receiver might be different.
The Redskins likely need help in free agency and the draft.
Beyond Crowder, Washington also lost Maurice Harris, who signed a deal with the New England Patriots. Michael Floyd seems unlikely to be back either.
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, Jehu Chesson and Cam Sims are the only returning wideouts that played in 2019, and frankly, that group is underwhelming.
Asked if the Redskins needed to address receiver now, Gruden replied with his usual humor, "Maybe."
The coach continued: "We’ll have to wait and see who’s out there and go from there. We like to add one more here but there's a lot of good receivers in the draft."
During the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Gruden and Williams talked about the need for a big receiver being added to the group. Sources have told NBC Sports Washington that the team will also consider trades leading up to the draft as a means to add a wideout.
No matter what happens, Washington needs to bring in more pass catchers. The team could use both an experienced veteran and a dynamic rookie. Gruden was telling the truth about the pass catching group in this year's draft, there are many intriguing options brimming with potential.
Potential isn't enough for the Washington receiving group in 2019. They also need performance.
Left guard remains a big need, but less so than edge rusher and receiver. Expect the Redskins to address all three in some capacity, and quite possibly, in that order.
With Golden Tate signed by the Giants, there isn't much in the way of name recognition among the remaining WR free agents. Edge rusher is different, with guys like Justin Houston available, but the price tag for sack guys is inherently larger than catch guys.
The second wave of free agency offers opportunity for teams to find value. But the rules of life hold just as true in football: More often than not, you get what you pay for.
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