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Despite some strong signings, 3 things Redskins still need to address this offseason

Despite some strong signings, 3 things Redskins still need to address this offseason

It might seem impossible for an organization to be both highly functional yet at times in various stages of disarray, but the Redskins 2017 offseason has achieved that rare balance.

When the team dismissed Scot McCloughan in early March, expectations for the team plumetted.

A month later, the Redskins have addressed needs throughout the roster via free agency, with a few really strong signings mixed in.

Inking Zach Brown to a one-year deal on Monday likely adds a fifth new starter to the Washington defense, a unit that needed a significant overhaul from 2016.


With Brown on board, combined with Terrelle Pryor at wideout and D.J. Swearinger at safety, the Redskins front office deserves credit for a smart and effective free agency period. That said, plenty remains to be done. Let's take a look:

1. Pay up — Signing Pryor should help offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon on the 'Skins offense, but the huge issue remains that Kirk Cousins is again set to play on a franchise tag. He did it in 2016, and broke his own single-season passing yards record. At some point, Washington must pay up to keep Cousins.

Bruce Allen told CSN at the annual league meetings that the team has options for 2018 with Cousins should a deal not get reached, but those options are outrageously expensive. Get a deal done with Cousins before the July 15th deadline, and this offseason will look like one of the best in recent memory, even with the ugly divorce from McCloughan.

2. Pick your nose — Coming into the 2017 offseason, defensive line needed the most work of any position group on the 'Skins. Even with the signings of Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, defensive line remains the position group in need of the most work. The team is still yet to address the nose tackle position.

Asked about the position at the league meetings, Jay Gruden said, "Coach [Jim] Tomsula has assured me that he will find a nose guard, [and] he’ll make a nose guard. If you look at his track record, [and] you look at the nose guards [that] he’s had, none of them have been priority first-round draft choices. He’s made nose guards. He coaches that position extremely well, and I have faith that he’ll do that."

That's great in theory, but it's a lot for Washington to rely on. Perhaps the 'Skins can get a solid year from former first-round pick Phil Taylor, but that would be a big leap from his 2016 season, while Ziggy Hood returns for Washington after a solid if unspectacular 2016 season. It seems free agency is largely done after the Brown signing, but Washington still has 10 draft picks, and must continue to build on the defensive line to field both a better team in 2017 and beyond. 

3. Get deep — Unlike the D-line, the Redskins offensive line is arguably the best position group on the team. With two Pro Bowlers in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, not to mention Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, four of the 'Skins five O-line spots have strong players. Shawn Lauvao was not a strong player in 2016, and though he battled injuries, the 'Skins could upgrade at left guard. It's likely the team brings back Lauvao, and he has played well in spots with Washington. Still, among the 10 draft picks later this month, Bruce Allen would be wise to continue to fortify the offensive line. At the very least, the team absolutely needs a backup center.



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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes


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.


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