Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 27, 15 days before NFL free agency starts.
Up in the air—Linebacker
As free agency approaches, some players are locked in for 2018. We’re going to look at some others who have little certainty about where they will be playing when the coming season starts. Yesterday the focus was on the offensive line; today, it’s the linebackers.
Brown was one of the Redskins’ best defenders last year and one of the best bargains in football. He was leading the NFL in tackles through and giving the Washington defense sideline to sideline range it hasn’t seen in years through Week 14 when a variety of injuries ended his season early. This cost the Redskins all of $2.3 million on a one-year contract.
The Redskins are the third different team to employ Brown in the last three seasons. While he seems to like it here, he would be willing to make it four teams in four years if that’s what it takes to get him the type of contract he thinks he deserves. He will be 29 in October and this will be his last chance to cash in.
There have been some talks going back to December but they have not become serious enough to figure out where they are headed. It is likely that Brown’s camp will hold off on making a deal at least until after the combine, when hypothetical offers will be flying all over Indianapolis, tampering rules notwithstanding.
Galette would be perfectly happy to end his career as a member of the Redskins. But there are two problems that might prevent him from doing that. One is named Preston Smith and the other one goes by Ryan Kerrigan. They are the two starters at outside linebacker and as long as they are around, Galette will not get as many snaps as he would like to.
How do we know this? He has said so, on social media, on TV, just about anywhere he has had the opportunity. Galette played roughly half the number of snaps that Smith and Kerrigan played. Health was not an issue once he got past a hamstring that bothered him in training camp. And according to the NFL’s NextGen Stats, he was the third-most effective pass rusher in the league.
Galette will be a tough player to value on the open market. Looking at his sack total last year, which was three, age (he’ll be 30 next month), and injury history, he probably would warrant a deal in the $3-$4 million per year range. But talent evaluators look beyond the top-line numbers and the film shows that Galette can be very disruptive to the opponents’ passing game. That ability is rare and it gets players paid. His name did not appear on an injury report all year. Looking at outside factors, this is not a good year for edge rushers in the draft so multiple teams looking to add pass rush could be interested in Galette.
Murphy is another player who will be hard to value when free agency starts. After getting six sacks in his first two NFL seasons combined, he broke out for nine in 2016. A 2017 that approached his ’16 production would have given Murphy status as one of the hot free agents available this year. But, of course, he suffered a torn ACL in the first preseason game and he was lost for the year.
So, who is he? The guy he was his first two years who could provide some situational pass rush? Or a player who is capable of posting double-digit sacks every year?
As usually is the case in free agency, nobody really knows. The Redskins likely will make efforts to keep both Murphy and Galette. If and when one of them agrees to a deal, it may be hard for them to continue to pursue the other.
Tandler on Twitter
Standoff ends with Cousins extending his middle finger to Bruce and waiting until BA has to cave, which is sometime on March 15.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 26, 2018
—NFL Combine (3/1) 2
—NFL Draft (4/26) 58
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 194
In case you missed it
- Who's still in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes?
- Examining Redskins with uncertain futures on the offensive line
- A Potential Draft Advantage