The Redskins haven't made the playoffs since 2015 and feature a head coach who is in a very precarious position. Sounds like a somewhat flammable situation, right?
While it does, one Sports Illustrated writer believes some of Washington's rivals are in more explosive spots. In his list of the NFL's five "most combustible" teams, Conor Orr included two NFC East squads but not the Burgundy and Gold.
Instead, Orr sees the Cowboys and Giants as "tiptoeing over dangerous waters" more than the Redskins.
"If a roster with young, increasingly expensive wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, linebackers and cornerbacks doesn’t perform, there will be changes," Orr wrote about the Cowboys in the MMQB post.
As for the Giants, he said, "There’s going to be a mad rush to not only finalize Eli Manning’s career, but elevate Saquon Barkley’s while he’s still in his (much earlier and much shorter) prime."
The other three franchises who made the list were the Jets, Raiders and Browns.
In searching for teams to include, Orr is defining "combustible" organizations as ones with rosters that are on the verge of massive changes if 2019 doesn't work out. As mentioned earlier, another postseason-less campaign would put a lot of pressure on the front office to find better players and likely end Jay Gruden's tenure, but a lot of key pieces for the Redskins' future do feel set.
Under center, Dwayne Haskins is going to be around for a long time, and anytime your potential long-term QB is in the building at a cheap rate, things won't feel too "combustible." Elsewhere on the offense, Derrius Guice will hopefully emerge as a star running back for at least the next few years, and while the receivers are unproven, most of them are very young. A solid core might be forming at the point-production positions.
Sure, the Trent Williams situation feels like it could drastically change things up front, but if that gets solved, four out of five offensive lineman starters will be back in 2019. Williams is the only one past 28 years old, too.
As for the defense, the D-line is loaded and still mostly a few years away from needing those pricey second deals. Washington's two edge rushers, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, are signed through 2020 and 2022, respectively.
While linebacker could use more talent, it's not like there are any enormous names or contracts there that would cause any large ripple effects elsewhere should they be kept or released. In the secondary, the main question surrounds Josh Norman and how much longer he'll be around. Landon Collins, of course, will be a fixture and the other spots have some at least viable options for down the road.
Orr chose franchises coming off major spending sprees (like the Jets and Raiders), franchises who are looking to compete deep into the playoffs (the Browns and Cowboys) and a franchise that's about to end a decade and a half long era and welcome in a new one (the Giants).
Yes, the Redskins have elements of the first and third groups and would certainly like to be a part of the second. But since they're locked in to much of their roster because they're happy to be or, quite frankly, don't have the financial flexibility not to be, maybe things aren't as combustible as you'd originally think.
With that being said, this is the NFL. When this list is revisited 12 months from now, Washington very well could be a part of it.
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