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Need to Know: How aggressive will the Redskins be this offseason?

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Need to Know: How aggressive will the Redskins be this offseason?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 8, six days before NFL free agency starts.  

News and notes

—The Eagles are showing a reluctance to rest on the laurels by trading for Michael Bennett. Trading for a player who is 33 years old and has a cap hit of nearly $8 million doesn’t make sense for a lot of teams, especially one that was about $10 million over the 2018 cap before the trade. You have to think that some teams would be reluctant to deal for Bennett due to his high profile as a social activist. But the deal works for the Eagles, who have a window of opportunity while paying Carson Wentz on the rookie wage scale. They are very aware of this while other teams in a similar spot do not seem to be. They may pay for it down the road like the Seahawks are now, but they want to collect more Lombardi Trophies in the meantime.

—How aggressive will the Redskins be this offseason? Their quarterback will not be on a rookie contract but it’s reasonable to expect that he will outperform his $17 million salary this year. They have been stuck near .500 for the past three seasons. Will they take some chances and squeeze some big contracts into small 2018 cap numbers? Will they use their top draft picks to fill immediate needs rather than being patient and taking the best available player? Trade some future draft picks for immediate help? It would be surprising if they did go the aggressive route. If they do, there is no guarantee that it will work. We will find out starting over the next several days as the pre-free agency frenzy gets underway.

—Being aggressive is not in and of itself a good thing. It worked for the Eagles last year as they made deals all year long. That doesn't mean that moves they make this time around won't backfire. At age 33 Bennett has high bust potential. But they are the team that Washington is chasing, and the Redskins can take what has become their usual cautious approach at their own peril.

—Niles Paul’s tweet here sure makes it look like he has heard that he will not be re-signed by the Redskins.

Paul is right, of course, he has played his role and done what has been asked of him. He moved from wide receiver to tight end, took a leadership role on special teams, and lined up at fullback when needed. His departure has seemed to be inevitable since the Redskins drafted Jeremy Sprinkle last year in the fifth round. If Paul does not return, the Redskins likely will have five players left who were on the roster when Mike Shanahan was the head coach from 2010-2013.

—The survivors of the Shanahan era are Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed, Nick Sundberg, Trent Williams, and Chris Thompson. Will Compton could re-sign adding a sixth. Players who were on the team with Shanahan who are likely to depart soon are Paul, DeAngelo Hall, and Kirk Cousins. Hall is the only player who predates Shanahan’s arrival; he joined the team in 2008 when Jim Zorn was the head coach. Williams, a 2010 draft pick, remains the longest-tenured Redskin.

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.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 30
—NFL Draft (4/26) 49
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 185

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler


Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.