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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins include Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade?

Need to Know: Why did the Redskins include Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 1, 41 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 29
—NFL Draft (4/26) 84
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 220

Why Fuller?

Some more thoughts about the Alex Smith deal:

—Why did the Redskins include Kendall Fuller in the trade? Because it was the only way the deal was going to get done. It’s not like the Redskins said, hey, how about we throw in Fuller? The Chiefs wanted him, the Redskins wanted Smith and that was the deal to which the parties agreed. It’s that simple.

—Some have wondered why a deal had to be made at all. With Patrick Mahomes waiting in the wings to take the starting quarterback job, Smith was a luxury the Chiefs could not afford. Before the trade, the Chiefs were about $9 million over the cap. Smith had to go and perhaps if the Redskins had waited it out they could have signed Smith for no compensation. But they would have remained in limbo at the position and the Chiefs could have dealt him to another team. In addition, there was no guarantee that they could have signed him if he had been cut.

—I don’t think that anyone argues that Smith and Cousins are comparable quarterbacks. They are in the “good” category, below the level of elite and special quarterbacks, but they also offer competence and stability that many other signal callers do not. The Redskins did not get a major upgrade to the team in the deal. Sometimes you have to make a trade not to get better but to prevent getting worse. This was one of those deals.

—The four-year, $94 million contract extension the Redskins will give Smith once the deal is finalized on March 14 also was needed to get the deal done. The Browns reportedly offered one of their second-round picks in exchange for Smith. However, they did not want to give Smith a contract extension of that length. They viewed Smith as more of a short-term fix to bridge the gap until the quarterback they plan to take in this year’s draft is ready. But Smith was not interested in that role, preferring to go somewhere that was committed to him for at least the next three or four years. The Chiefs accommodated him and now he will be wearing burgundy and gold this fall.

—Another reason why the Redskins had to make this trade was due to their unwillingness to face the strong possibility that Cousins was not going to sign a long-term deal. They should have known this since they put the franchise tag on him prior to the 2016 season. The only backup plan they came up with was 2016 sixth-round pick Nate Sudfeld, who didn’t impress anyone enough to earn a second season. The smart way to handle the situation would have been to spend a mid-round pick on a quarterback to develop. Had they done that, they might not have been such a desperate situation with only Colt McCoy under contract. In fact, you could argue that they should have started to plan for the future in 2014 when the future of Robert Griffin III started to turn cloudy. But they didn’t look to draft any insurance and they paid the price for being in a position of desperation.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 18, eight days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the running backs are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 rushing yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, and quarterbacks

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys—He actually finished 10thin the league in rushing yards behind two backs who will face the Redskins. Elliott gets boosted up the list because he was suspended for six games last year. He averaged 98 yards per game played and had he been able to play in 16 games he would have led the league in rushing yards with over 300 yards to spare. In three games against the Redskins, he has averaged 110 yards per game and he has five touchdowns. The Redskins’ revamped rushing defense will be tested twice.

Mark Ingram, Saints—He will be coming off of a four-game suspension for Redskins vs. Saints in Week 5. Will he be rested or rusty? If he’s in any kind of form, the Redskins defense will have to be on its game. Last year against Washington in the Superdome Ingram rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. 

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars—The rookie did surpass the thousand-yard mark, posting 1,040. Some pointed out that it wasn’t a consistent effort as he gained 310 yards, almost 30 percent of his total, in two back-to-back games in Weeks 5 and 6. That’s fine but he still is a difficult opponent with his combination of size and speed. I look for him to have a big breakout this year. 

Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry, Titans—Lewis averaged 5.0 yards per carry with the Patriots last year and Henry gained 744 yards while sharing time with the now-retired DeMarco Murray. Lewis will play a lot of third downs and will spell Henry sometimes early in games. That will leave the 6-3, 247-pound Henry fresh to grind up the clock if the Titans have a late lead. 

Jay Ajayi, Eagles—Nobody has quite figured out why the Dolphins dealt him to the Eagles in midseason, but Philly was more than happy to add him to the offense. Ajayi became a workhorse in the postseason with 42 rushing attempts and six receptions in three games. 

I do need to mention Giants rookie Saquan Barkley here. I have to think that the second overall pick of the draft will rank somewhere on this list but without seeing him in an NFL uniform yet it’s hard to rank him. He will be dangerous, no doubt. 

Best of the rest: Lamar Miller, Texans, Alvin Kamara, Saints, Ronald Jones, Bucs

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

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Timeline 

Former Redskins offensive tackle Geroge Starke, one of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 8
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 22
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 45

The Redskins last played a game 199 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 53 days. 

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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