The Redskins need to sign a second quarterback.
That is not an indictment on presumed starter Dwayne Haskins, not in the slightest. It’s simply an admission of reality for a roster that currently has only one healthy passer.
Every team in the NFL carries at least two quarterbacks, and while Alex Smith remains on the Redskins payroll, he’s not on the active roster. Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury back in November 2018 and hasn’t played since. It’s unknown if he ever will again.
That leaves the Redskins in a unique situation because while Smith remains on the Physically Unable to Play list, he still counts more than $21 million against the Redskins salary cap.
Considering Smith’s financial impact on the team, not to mention the organization used the 15th overall pick last year on Haskins, adding a second QB this offseason has been a difficult decision.
Maybe that’s why it hasn’t happened yet.
There’s also the second overall pick which the Redskins hold in April’s NFL Draft. Real interest or illusion, Washington met with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa at the NFL Scouting Combine and head coach Ron Rivera said repeatedly that “everything is an option” in the draft. (See full video above)
Would the Redskins really draft Tua one year after taking Haskins? It seems unlikely, especially with Ohio State defensive end Chase Young available, but it can’t be ruled out.
What also can’t be ruled out is trading down out of the second pick, but to do that, Washington needs to create the perception that drafting Tua is a real possibility. If it wasn’t, why else would another QB-hungry NFL club trade all the way up to No. 2 to grab him?
And perhaps that’s one reason why the Redskins have hesitated in signing a backup quarterback.
Rivera talked about wanting very serious competition for Haskins this offseason. The coach said it multiple times.
To create that competition, the Redskins need somebody for Haskins to compete against. Right now that somebody doesn’t exist, but the Coronavirus might play a part in that.
With the country reacting to the spreading virus, NFL teams aren’t able to hold OTAs or even have players in their buildings. There is no timeline when that will change and normal business will resume.
Considering that, maybe Rivera and the Redskins brain trust is just waiting to sign another QB. Whoever it is, that player wouldn’t be allowed to work with the team yet anyway. And outside of a trade for an established starter like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, or a willingness to spend some money for a guy like Jameis Winston, the crop of QBs available don't necessitate the Redskins move with much speed. Blake Bortles, Blaine Gabbert, Joe Flacco, those guys will be available. There is no real hurry.
In the meantime, maybe it makes the Tua talk at No. 2 that much more believable. From an outside perspective, trading down from No. 2 seems preferable than actually drafting Tagovailoa. Washington needs help at a number of positions, and adding high value draft picks could be a big help to rebuild the team.
It could all be nothing. The Redskins haven't been particularly active or aggressive in free agency, and maybe not adding another QB so far is part of that deliberate strategy. Maybe they want to draft another passer in the later rounds instead of signing somebody, that would be the smartest financial move while Smith's salary remains on the books.
Much of this could change if the Panthers actually release Newton. The Redskins don't have the draft capital to trade for the former MVP, but if Newton hits the open market, things could change.
In the meantime, while the whole country is on pause, the Redskins might be using that to their advantage to try and develop more interest in their draft position.
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