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Redskins paid for potential in Paul Richardson, Ravens paid for dependability in Ryan Grant

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Redskins paid for potential in Paul Richardson, Ravens paid for dependability in Ryan Grant

The Ravens paid Ryan Grant a lot of money. A lot of money. How much?

How does a $10 million signing bonus sound? Or $14.5 million guaranteed?

It's true, all of it, those are just the sexiest parts of a four-year deal that could be worth as much as $29 million. 

For some Redskins fans, this deal is easy to dismiss. But for Baltimore, the deal could make sense. 

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Think about a few things, starting with the fact that Grant hasn't missed a game in four seasons. 

No Ravens wideout with at least 10 catches in 2017 played a full season, and most of them played even less. Breshad Perriman, a first-round pick in 2015, has started four games in three years. 

Last season, Ravens leading receiver Mike Wallace posted totals of 52 catches for 748 yards and four touchdowns. Joe Flacco targeted the 31-year-old Wallace 92 times.

Kirk Cousins targeted Grant nearly 30 less times, but the 27-year-old made just seven fewer catches and had the same amount of touchdowns. 

Grant was the Redskins most consistent receiver in 2017, and the Ravens had no wideout that anyone would label consistent.

Beyond that, Grant has an impeccable reputation among coaches and teammates as a hard worker. Don't believe it? Let his former Redskins teammates explain. 

Then there is the matter of the NFL salary cap. 

It's a good time to be a free agent. Sammy Watkins had less than 600 yards receiving last year, and landed a contract paying him $16 million. PER SEASON. 

The Redskins signed Paul Richardson to a deal worth as much as $40 million and $20 million guaranteed over five years. 

Richardson is a big-play threat with elite speed, two things Grant isn't. But Richardson has also finished two of his four NFL seasons on the injured reserve, while Grant has never missed a game. 

Make no mistake, the Redskins paid for higher potential with Richardson than Grant showed in four seasons with Washington. 

For the Ravens, however, it might have made sense to pay for the high floor of Grant. Baltimore hasn't had a dependable wideout for some time. Grant gives the Ravens dependability, and durability, and those attributes cost money too. 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series