While Ron Rivera surely hopes his tenure with the Redskins lasts a long time, most of the free agents the coach brought in before his first season are joining his team on short-term deals.
Aside from Kendall Fuller and Wes Schweitzer, every single player Washington signed in March agreed to one- or two-year contracts. Even Schweitzer's deal, though technically three seasons in length, is effectively of the one-year variety, too.
On a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Rivera explained why the Burgundy and Gold went with that approach in free agency.
"A lot of these guys want to come in and say, ‘Hey give me an opportunity to compete, let me prove myself,'" Rivera told the media. " I love that guys are betting on themselves, that they’re going to come in and prove that they belong, that they deserve an extensive contract."
Rivera's only been in charge of the Redskins since the start of January, but it's already more than clear he loves competition. In fact, you can call him obsessed.
So while additions like JD McKissic, Cornelius Lucas and Logan Thomas aren't the familiar names many fans were likely hoping for, Rivera and VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith appear content with throwing all of them onto the field next to the current roster and seeing who ultimately rises to the occasion. The ensuing battle to survive through the preseason may be cage match-y, minus the chairs.
Now, this haul would be very different if the Redskins were successful in their push to land Amari Cooper. He would've cost the organization a "substantial" amount of cash and secured more money a year than a handful of their eventual signings will combined.
In the end, though, Cooper remained in Dallas and the Cowboys' rival was a lot quieter overall. But if Rivera's instincts come through, he does expect at least a few of his acquisitions to make some noise for their new franchise.
"One of the things that we tried to do when I was in Carolina, we looked at guys and IDed guys that were on the cusp of becoming solid starters," he said Tuesday. "Not a flash in the pan type guy that you’re hoping for, but a guy who’s done it steadily over a couple of years. We IDed a few of those guys and we went out and brought those guys in and had them become a part of our football team."
That kind of description seems to apply to defenders like Sean Davis and Ronald Darby, among others. If healthy, coached up and focused, those are some lesser-known names around the league who could deliver for Rivera and his staff.
In summing up the Redskins' plan for this portion of the NFL calendar, the 58-year-old was sure to point out that he's viewing this rebuild as a real project as opposed to a quick fix. It's like he's wearing binoculars when scoping out his end goals, not glasses.
That's one more reason he's pleased with what was accomplished the past few weeks. Once 2020 wraps up, he'll be ready to figure out which short-term options deserve to stick and which don't. 2020 itself isn't necessarily the primary objective.
"We think it’s a good mix right now," Rivera said. "Again, as we develop and grow, it’s not going to happen overnight. That’s one of the things that we feel we have: more time to be patient and develop these guys.”
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