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Lessons the Redskins can learn from Josh Norman and Paul Richardson's tenures

Lessons the Redskins can learn from Josh Norman and Paul Richardson's tenures

Josh Norman and Paul Richardson were two pieces the Redskins brought in on hefty five-year deals, but now both are gone without seeing those deals reach their respective conclusions. Washington released Norman and then Richardson on Friday, ending each player's disappointing time with the franchise.

Those disappointing times contain a pair of lessons for the Burgundy and Gold, too.

When the Redskins signed Norman in 2016, he was coming off of a spectacular season with the Panthers. The DB picked off four passes, forced three fumbles and scored two touchdowns for Carolina, and when they surprisingly let him go, Bruce Allen pounced.

Norman would never match that level of production again, though, and by the end of 2019, he was ceding time to guys even the most hardcore fans had never heard of. He deserves blame for that drop-off, too, as he was the one who dropped plenty of interceptable passes and who started getting burnt by lesser opponents on a fairly regular basis.

But the Redskins are at fault as well, and this is where the first lesson can be learned.

It never felt like the defense was prepared to get the most out of Norman's skills, forcing him to line up in man coverage when that wasn't his strength. No. 24 was at his best when he could sit in a zone and use his instincts, not when he had to rely on his mediocre speed in one-on-one matchups.

For some reason, the team made an enormous investment in Norman, then largely refused to shape their schemes around that investment. He's absolutely culpable in what will ultimately go down as a failed tenure, but so are the coordinators and position coaches who chose not to adjust. 

The Richardson signing, meanwhile, was the right idea, at least on the surface. He was coming off of his best year as a pro when Washington acquired him in 2018, and the expectation was he'd take the next step once he was a part of an offense that featured him more.

They overlooked Richardson's significant injury history, however, which forced him to land on injured reserve twice and prevented him from ever becoming a consistent target. Therein lies the second lesson.

Richardson is just one example of how the Redskins have lately put too much stock in players with injury issues. In the past couple of seasons alone, they've seen their competitive hopes dashed thanks to the losses of Richardson, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Derrius Guice, Reuben Foster, Shawn Lauvao and others.

The organization took a risk by slotting all of those names into key parts of their depth chart, knowing full well that they all tended to get hurt. Those decisions have cost them tremendously.

Moving forward, Ron Rivera will look to build out his roster, and thanks to the releases of Norman and Richardson, he has more money to do so in free agency. It'll be on him to spend it wisely — and realize the mistakes his new team has made recently.

If Rivera wants to replace Norman with a pricey free agent corner, for instance, he and Jack Del Rio will need to ensure that corner will be coming to a defense where he can thrive. In fact, they already have one defensive back they need to take advantage of in Landon Collins, or else he may leave in a few years on a similar note as Norman.

In general, Rivera and his staff must be flexible and put their stars in the right roles.

And when it comes to committing big money to free agents, the Redskins may have to be pickier about durability. Most NFL players will have some injury concerns, and some will suffer ones in the future that are impossible to foresee. Yet guys like Richardson, who had multiple I.R. stints before joining Washington, may need to be bypassed for healthier options.

Poor personnel choices will happen. That said, the Redskins can do a better job of limiting them. If Rivera, Kyle Smith and the rest of the front office are wiser with whom they bring in, and then mold their systems around those additions, then there should be fewer Normans and Richardsons in the coming years. 

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Redskins running back Derrius Guice being sued by his former agent

Redskins running back Derrius Guice being sued by his former agent

Despite missing much of his first two professional seasons due to multiple knee injuries, Derrius Guice is already one of the most popular players on the Redskins.

His personality helped raise his profile, which has led to a number of endorsement deals beyond his NFL rookie contract.

Now, Guice’s former agent has filed a lawsuit over not being paid in return for these deals.

The running back’s initial agent after leaving LSU was Fadde Mikhail, but Guice left his agency weeks before being drafted. He then signed with Young Money, and according to Mikhail in the lawsuit, was required to pay back the money he had been lent during the pre-draft process.

Per the lawsuit, Guice and Young Money have allegedly not repaid Mikhail, and the latter is now asking for $500,000. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a California court.

Guice has endorsement deals with Nike and Hyundai, in addition to other opportunities to earn money from his likeness and autographs. This supplemental income is what Mikhail’s suit is regarding, in addition to alleged pre-draft loans of $191,000.

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Stephen A. Smith thinks Redskins are drafting Chase Young despite positive health noise about Tua Tagovailoa

Stephen A. Smith thinks Redskins are drafting Chase Young despite positive health noise about Tua Tagovailoa

The NFL Draft begins in three weeks, and what the Redskins will do with the coveted No. 2 overall pick remains a hot topic of conversation.

There's a large consensus from many draft experts that the Redskins will select Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young, who many have deemed a generational talent. However, there are still rumors surfacing that Washington is interested in drafting Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, but those have quieted down since the Redskins traded for QB Kyle Allen last week.

ESPN host Stephen A. Smith was asked if he thinks the Redskins should take Tagovailoa with the second overall pick, and he quickly shot down that notion.

"I've been told the Washington Redskins are not going to touch Tua," Smith said on First Take. "They're going after Chase Young. They're not drafting a quarterback. That's what I've been told."

Smith explained that pass rusher is arguably the second most important position on the field behind quarterback, and passing on a generational talent like Young would be a mistake. Additionally, Smith believes that Tagovailoa's durability concerns are not to be taken lightly.

"You can't have a question mark at the quarterback position due to talent, then bring in an additional question mark due to durability in arguably the most violent sport that we know," he said.

In the first part of his statement, Smith is referring to Dwayne Haskins, who the Redskins selected 15th overall last season. Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie but played his best football at the end of the season. New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera has preached wanting competition for Haskins, and he got his wish when he traded for Allen last week. The two are expected to battle for the starting job come training camp.

Tagovailoa has just recently fully recovered from a dislocated hip injury that he suffered last November. Last week, a video surfaced of the QB throwing for the first time since his injury.

On Thursday, a report from NFL Network's Mike Garafolo stated that Tagovailoa participated in a medical re-check administered by an independent doctor provided by NFL team physicians, and the results were "overwhelmingly positive." 

Despite the positive medical reports that have surfaced about Tagovailoa, Smith believes his durability is too much of a question mark to justify taking him over Young.

"He's the elite pass rusher in the upcoming draft. You've got the chance to take him with the No. 2 overall pick," Smith said on Young. "Could you imagine if they pass on him and grab Tua, then Haskins doesn't pan out and Tua gets hurt early? That would be problematic. You don't want that."

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