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Need to Know: The Redskins' 5 most important offseason moves

Need to Know: The Redskins' 5 most important offseason moves

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 13, 44 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.


Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 32
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 50
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 89

The five most important events of the offseason

The Redskins are about to close the loop on their front office situation with a 9 a.m. announcement of the new personnel structure. That, obviously, will be big news. Let’s look back and count down the five most important events that have occurred since the season ended on January 1.

5. Drafting Jonathan Allen—The Redskins had not drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since 1997 so the pick was significant. They also got a very good one. Allen was widely considered to be one of the top half dozen or so players in the draft pool but some odd circumstances and questionable selections by other teams let him slide back to No. 17. There is real hope that Allen can be a cornerstone of a defense that is a strength of the team rather than a weakness that needs to be compensated for.

4. Free agency arrivals and departures—Chris Baker, DeSean Jackson, and Pierre Garçon punched their tickets out of town soon after free agency started in March. The Redskins got out the checkbook and focused mostly on the defense, bringing in linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. They did try to mitigate the loss of their starting receivers by bringing in Terrelle Pryor.

3. Kirk Cousins gets and signs exclusive franchise tag—This is a big deal because it never has happened to a quarterback before. Before Cousins in 2016, the only quarterback to play a season on a franchise tag was Drew Brees. The Chargers did not tag him for a second time. He signed the tender a few weeks after getting it, guaranteeing him a 2018 salary of nearly $24 million. There was a lot of chatter about a possible trade around the time of the combine but it turned out to be nothing but noise.

2. Coaching staff moves—Defensive coordinator Joe Barry was fired, along with some of his position coaches. Greg Manusky replaced Barry and Jim Tomsula was hired to coach the defensive line. Everyone knew that offensive coordinator Sean McVay would become a head coach eventually but his time came a year or two earlier than many thought it would as he was hired as the Rams head coach. Matt Cavanaugh took his place. Finally, after all of the staff shakeups underneath him Jay Gruden got a two-year contract extension that carries through the 2020 season.

1. Scot McCloughan fired—This was one of the ugliest chapters in memory, starting with McCloughan first being left home as the team sent its contingent to the NFL Combine. Then they let him twist in the wind for a week or so before firing him while having an anonymous source trash his character on the way out the door. The impact of the departure of one of the best talent evaluators in the business will take a couple of years to determine. The other end of this story will be closed out this when the team announces the new front office structure created in the wake of firing McCloughan.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."


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Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

The Redskins need a stud wide receiver. Badly.

Antonio Brown is a stud wide receiver. Undoubtedly.

So, Washington should pick up the phone, call Pittsburgh and figure out a way to work out a trade for Brown, right? 

It's not that easy.

There are plenty of obstacles between Brown becoming a member of the Redskins, as Washington would have to clear out quite a bit of salary to make room for him and also weigh whether he'll fit into their locker room.

Another thing worth considering, too: What's the point of acquiring Antonio Brown without a QB to maximize his talents?

There are serious questions about whether Alex Smith will play next season, or ever again. That means, barring a drastic move, the Redskins will go into 2019 with someone like Colt McCoy or an unproven youngster starting under center.

Sure, you could argue that Brown would make that passer's life a lot easier. He would, to an extent. But ask someone like Odell Beckham or Larry Fitzgerald what life is like on the outside, even as an elite talent, when the guy getting you the ball isn't properly equipped to do so.

Brown is one of the best pass catchers of his generation and will likely end up as one of the best of any era. Whatever offense he's lining up for next season will be better thanks to his presence.

However, this is a guy who's grown frustrated in a franchise that's made the postseason four of the past five years and is unhappy in a place where he's paired with a top-tier signal-caller. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, have neither the track record of success or a settled situation at QB, so it's fair to be very skeptical of how he'd handle a move to D.C.

Now, for this organization to break out of football's middle class, an area they're stuck in, going after a star and taking a risk is absolutely worth trying.

Unfortunately, the quarterback depth chart will affect every potential move. And when that potential move involves heavily investing in a premier wideout, the quarterback depth chart should probably dissuade anyone from ultimately making that move.