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NFL trade deadline is 2 weeks away and the Redskins should absolutely be selling

NFL trade deadline is 2 weeks away and the Redskins should absolutely be selling

With the NFL trade deadline coming up in two weeks the Redskins front office needs to plant a for sale sign in front of their Ashburn facility. The problem is they might not attract many buyers.

Just about any player not named Terry McLaurin should be available on offense, and while the defense has a few more performing assets, Washington team president Bruce Allen should be taking any and all calls about possible trades. In fact, Allen should be making calls, trying to move players for future draft picks. 

One thing Allen absolutely should not do is give up future assets. At 1-5 and playoff prospects nearly dead, the Redskins are in no position to deal away draft picks. 

The reality at Redskins Park might not be realized yet, but this is a team that needs a major rebuild. The Burgundy and Gold got their first win of the season on Sunday in Miami, and while there were some encouraging signs, don't confuse the victory with accomplishment. Miami was giving up 40 points-per-game and the Redskins scored just 17. Had Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a pass on a two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds of the game, the great Redskins meltdown of 2019 would be in full swing. Instead, the ball fell to the turf, and the Redskins squeaked out a win. 

Squeaking out wins over a hapless Dolphins team means very little when it comes to overall roster organization. And the harsh truth is Washington needs more talent or chances to get more talent in a bad way. 

The problem with trying to sell at the trade deadline, however, is having players that other teams want. Outside of young players like Terry McLaurin and Daron Payne, the Redskins don't have many marketable pieces. Could Adrian Peterson maybe help a team making a playoff push? Sure, but what would that squad give up for Peterson, considering he was unsigned for months of the 2018 offseason. What about Ryan Kerrigan? Good teams can never have enough pass rushers, but it seems unlikely Washington would even consider moving him.

There is one big piece that Washington can dangle in trade conversations: Trent Williams. 

The seven-time Pro Bowler hasn't shown up in 2019 and it's painfully obvious to all parties that he's not coming back. 106.7 the Fan's Craig Hoffman reported that the Redskins won't move Williams this year, which seems crazy but believable given the absurdity of Williams' lengthy holdout and the Redskins insistence on thinking it will end.  

The time to trade Williams was months ago, and it's just grandstanding to continue bashing the team for something that is so obvious. Still, trade Williams now. Get draft pick compensation or player compensation, whatever works, but get it done.

There are internet rumors that Tampa might be looking to move young tight end O.J. Howard and Washington could be interested. If it's a straight player swap, that is worth considering. Howard has up to two years remaining on his rookie deal, and the Redskins options at tight end are in bad shape. Jordan Reed is on the injured reserve list and there are real questions about him never playing again. Vernon Davis is 35 and in the last year of his contract. Howard would be a talent upgrade and he's an Alabama alum. The Redskins love 'Bama guys. 

The Williams/Howard rumor could be pure nonsense too. Allen has been very clear he has no plans to trade Williams, repeatedly, and so far has stuck to his word. Allen even said last week that there has been "no dialogue" with any other team. 

Last season the Redskins bought at the trade deadline, bringing in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for what the organization thought would be a late-season playoff run. Washington sent Green Bay a fourth-round pick for Clinton-Dix, and the price ended up being too high. Clinton-Dix was barely, if at all, an upgrade over Montae Nicholson and for most of his time in Washington he seemed focused on his pending free agency. 

What that trade did prove was Allen is willing to wheel and deal at the trade deadline. He should do the same this year but in the opposite direction.

Sell. Don't buy. 

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Dwayne Haskins says he's 'blessed' to call Alex Smith a teammate

Dwayne Haskins says he's 'blessed' to call Alex Smith a teammate

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith's gruesome leg injury. He broke the tibia and fibula bones in his leg Week 11 last season in a game against the Houston Texans, and after significant infections and more than a dozen surgeries, Smith finally appears on the road to recovery. 

Elizabeth Smith, Alex's wife, posted an uplifting video to Instagram documenting the quarterback's rehab to this point. Remarkably, he's running and working out again despite some reports this time last year that he might lose functionality in that leg forever. 

Tuesday morning Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins posted to Twitter reacting to Smith's video, "This man, is one of the best people I ever been around. Blessed to be able to call him a teammate."

In the immediate months after the injury, Smith was not around the team much. He was in the hospital for a significant amount of time and then worked on his rehab. But he's been a near constant presence at Redskin Park since the summer. Smith was in Richmond for training camp, and he's been traveling with the team for road games. 

The rookie was not around last fall when the injury occurred, and since Haskins joined the team in late April, Smith has been there. 

Smith is a part of this Redskins team, and clearly Haskins views that as a resource.

That's a good tone for the rookie and the veteran to strike because on some level, the two could eventually be competing for the starting quarterback job. Smith is guaranteed more than $20 million for the 2020 season, and at this point, it seems unlikely the Redskins would release him. Perhaps an injury settlement could arrive and Smith takes a different role in the organization, but that's speculation at this point. It's also possible that Haskins puts together a string of impressive play down the stretch of the 2019 season and takes a firm hold as Redskins QB1 for 2020. 

There's also one other wrinkle for 2020 that could emerge at quarterback. With a 1-9 record, the Redskins are currently in line for the 2nd overall pick. Should LSU quarterback Joe Burrow fall to 2, or should the Redskins finish the season with the No. 1 overall pick, things could get very interesting.

For now, Redskins fans should be happy to see the relationship between an accomplished veteran like Smith and a first-round pick like Haskins. The two have much in common, being Heisman finalists and playing for Urban Meyer in college. The first overall pick in 2005, Smith knows what it takes to make it in the NFL, and that knowledge could certainly hold some value for Haskins. 

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At 1-9 and sinking, Redskins coach and players know that 'close' is just a myth

At 1-9 and sinking, Redskins coach and players know that 'close' is just a myth

Redskins team president Bruce Allen famously described his team as “close” multiple times during the last few years.

Close? Close to what?

Allen never really answered that, but in some alternate universe, there was often talk about a 6-3 record midway through the 2018 season and coulda-beens and shoulda-beens. 

“It means you’re close. It means you’re close to being better. We have to find the right ingredients and right chemistry to do that,” Allen said last January. “We were two games out of the playoffs, and no matter how you want to look at the season, we were two games out of it. And the year before we were one game out of it, and the year before we were one game out of it. So we have to find the right ingredients to get over that hump.”

Of course, none of that mattered in the real universe. Ever. 

In the time since Allen’s infamous close comments, the Redskins are 1-9, fired head coach Jay Gruden and seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams has made clear he will never return to the organization. 

Now, however, in a fit of honesty, a top Redskins official has admitted that the team is, in fact, not close. 

"I don’t think we’re close today. I have to be honest with you,” Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said after his team lost 34-17 to the New York Jets on Sunday. 

Callahan provided the unnecessary qualifier that the Redskins weren’t close in the Jets game, but the reality is the Redskins aren’t close in any capacity. On Monday, the Redskins coach expanded on his comments.

"The translation is what really gets to me, taking plays from the grass to the game," Callahan said. "Nobody wants to hear it and I understand that. No one wants to hear how hard you practice and how hard you prepare because everyone does in the National Football League. You’ve got to come to the game and you’ve got to make plays. When that doesn’t translate, yeah there’s disappointment."

The coach deserves some level of credit for the honesty, but the reality absolutely backs up his sentiment. This Redskins team just don't make enough plays to validate much conversation around their proximity to real competition.

The team is not close to a competent defense, particularly after going down 34-3 to the Jets before a late two touchdown rally. 

The team is not close to an explosive offense, particularly after getting just three first downs in the entire first half against the Jets. 

The team just isn't close. 

The Redskins are 1-9 and on a solid path to a 1-15 record. It would be the worst mark in Washington since 1961. Jack Kennedy was president then. 

Even if rookie QB Dwayne Haskins improves and can lead this team to a few victories, the Redskins still won’t be close. The team lacks playmakers on offense, the offensive line has struggled much of the year, and the defense has been a mess most of the season. 

Players recognize the conversation about competing and being close isn’t accurate, and simply isn’t good enough anyway. 

“The message can't keep being, 'We're close, we're close.' The message can't be 'I'm proud of your guys' effort, get ready for next week'. We have to put points on the board, put touchdowns on the board. That's what wins at this level,” Redskins WR Paul Richardson said after a Week 9 loss in Buffalo. 

Richardson is right. Pro football isn’t about participation trophies. It’s about wins. 

For years the Redskins’ brass has talked about effort as a panacea to bad football. Effort alone won’t change anything. Effort needs to be met with capable players, and capable players also need to exert maximum effort. There’s a legitimate question how much of either the Redskins are getting. 

The only thing the Redskins are close to is their worst record in nearly 60 years. 

Close to what? Close to nothing. 

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