The Redskins showed they still know how to make a big splash in free agency by agreeing to a six-year, $84 million deal with safety Landon Collins on Monday.
By Tuesday morning, however, the team showed financial restraint. Washington had been chasing free agent linebacker CJ Mosley, last of the Ravens, according to multiple reports.
Mosley will not make it to the Burgundy and Gold though as he signed with the Jets for a monster contract.
A four time Pro Bowler and a tackling machine in Baltimore, the Ravens wanted to keep Mosley but decided the franchise tag was too expensive.
Mosley is obviously a very good player, and New York decides to pay him handsomely for his skills.
The Jets blew past the $14 million franchise tag figure and paid Mosley $17 million per year. That’s a lot of cash for an inside linebacker, a position considered by some to be devalued in the NFL.
It’s dangerous to look at the first figures that get reported in NFL deals, as actual guaranteed money often looks different than impressive yet largely unattainable balloon contract figures.
Still, for a Washington team that has other options at linebacker, going to $51 million guaranteed for Mosley would have been an unwise decision.
The team already spent big on Collins, and besides, is Mosley really worth double what Zach Brown is scheduled to make in 2019?
Not according to Pro Football Focus.
FWIW - Zach Brown was the 4th ranked ILB by Pro Football Focus in 2018.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) March 11, 2019
CJ Mosley was 42nd.
Brown is slated to make about $8 million in 2019. He didn’t play his best in 2018, but at the end of the season Brown informed the media he played through an oblique injury for much of the year.
In 2016 and 2017, Brown was arguably the best tackling linebacker in football. He doesn’t do other things as well as Mosley, but double the cost?
For some time, Redskins fans have assumed Brown was on his way out as a cap casualty. Maybe he’s not, especially after the team was able to get Collins under contract for just $4 million against the cap in 2019.
Beyond Brown, the Redskins should have Reuben Foster playing at some point this season. A first-round pick in 2017, Foster has elite skills and is playing on a rookie contract. That’s a big advantage if he can stay out of trouble and on the football field.
Brown and Foster could account for less than $10 million against the cap in 2019. Mosley will be near double that.
Add it all up, and maybe sitting out the high prices at inside linebacker isn’t the worst idea, a position that isn’t a dire need in Ashburn.
The team also has Mason Foster, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons under contract next year. None are world beaters, but the need at ILB is not as significant as edge rusher, or even safety or nickel corner.
There is still plenty of time left in free agency. Brown may still wind up elsewhere, but there are some reasons why the ‘Skins haven’t hastily released the linebacker.
The surging cost of Mosley shows that.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- All in the Details: If you liked the Collins signing, you're going to love his contract
- 2019 Free Agency Tracker: All the latest news and rumors
- A New Look: Redskins believe Collins will revamp their defense