Washington Football

Washington Football

The 2020 NFL Draft and bulk of free agency is now in the rearview mirror, as teams are now in the middle of their virtual offseason programs.

With much of the acquisition period of the NFL offseason in the past, ESPN's Bill Barnwell is taking a deep-dive into how each team did. Barnwell weighed each team's roster moves, draft haul, and current needs when creating his overall rankings, and his whole post is quite intriguing.

Barnwell ranked the Redskins offseason 11th on the list, which any fan of the Burgundy and Gold should be thrilled about.

Here are four takeaways from Barnwell's column as to why he ranked Washington at that spot.

The hiring of Ron Rivera and an improved defense

The best move the Redskins made this entire offseason had nothing to do with any player acquisition; it was hiring well-respected head coach Ron Rivera. The hiring of Rivera came just a couple of days after the team fired longtime team president Bruce Allen and head athletic trainer Larry Hess, marking a significant change in the organization.

Rivera made several moves on the defensive side of the ball the impressed Barnwell. Washington added immediate starters in free agency with the signings of cornerback Kendall Fuller and veteran linebacker Thomas Davis. Additionally, they took one-year flyers on Sean Davis and Ronald Darby, two low-risk players that could bring a nice return for the Redskins secondary.

To top that all off, the Redskins added Chase Young -- the consensus best player in the draft -- with the No. 2 pick.

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Selling low on Trent Williams, Quinton Dunbar

The Redskins had two players express their frustrations with the organization this offseason, and Rivera found a trade partner for both of them. Washington shipped seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams to San Francisco in April and sent the team's best cornerback from a year ago, Quinton Dunbar, to Seattle in March.

The problem for Barnwell was not that the Redskins traded these players, but what they got in return.

"The team also sold low on two disgruntled veterans, tackle Trent Williams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar, although I'm pushing some of the blame for the modest Williams return from San Francisco on deposed executive Bruce Allen," Barnwell wrote.

Washington netted just a third- and a fifth-round pick for Williams, well below his true value. The left tackle is one of the best, if not the best, at his position and could have been worth more had the Redskins traded him much earlier. However, Rivera was not left with much choice and got the best deal he could for Williams.

The Redskins recouped a fifth-round pick for Dunbar, what many felt was a round or two lower than his actual value. But Dunbar has just one year remaining on his contract, and it would have been difficult for the Redskins to net more than they did for a guy who has had trouble staying on the field over the past few seasons. Dunbar was arrested for allegedly being involved in a robbery this past week, and while his lawyer maintains that the cornerback is innocent, his future in Seattle is uncertain at best.

Not enough help for Haskins

The Redskins entered the offseason desperate for offensive playmakers to help out Dwayne Haskins, and Barnwell isn't sold that they did enough to help out their young quarterback.

Washington heavily pursued Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper, but the pass-catcher turned down a larger contract from the Redskins to stay in Dallas. After missing on Cooper, the Redskins added just three pass-catchers. Two of those, Logan Thomas and Richard Rodgers, are unproven tight ends and the lone wideout they signed, Cody Latimer, was arrested this past weekend.

Washington added two playmakers in the middle of the draft in Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden. But it's asking a lot for a third- and fourth-round pick to make an immediate impact on an offense they have to learn virtually due to the circumstances.

Barnwell would have liked to see Washington chase after former Jets wideout Robby Anderson, who was one of the better second-tier receivers on the market. Anderson ended up signing a two-year, $20 million contract with Carolina, a cheaper deal than many expected him to get.

 

"Anderson is probably stretched as a No. 1 wideout, but he would have made an excellent No. 2 across from budding star Terry McLaurin," Barnwell wrote.

Not done yet

The Redskins have placed the franchise tag on right guard Brandon Scherff, but Barnwell believes it would be wise for the two sides to agree on a long-term extension before the deadline.

In his five seasons with the Redskins, Scherff has transformed into one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL. The Iowa product has earned three Pro Bowl nods and been a staple along Washington's offensive line. After already losing Williams this offseason, Barnwell says the Redskins must do whatever they can to keep Scherff.

"After losing Williams, the next thing for Washington to do to protect Haskins is to retain its star guard," Barnwell wrote. "Scherff was retained via the franchise tag on a one-year, $15 million pact, and I'd expect the Iowa product to top that figure on an average annual salary across a new deal. A Scherff extension would likely come in somewhere around five years and $75 million."

You can read Barnwell's full column here.

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