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Offseason review: Skins counter youth movement, re-sign Fletcher

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Offseason review: Skins counter youth movement, re-sign Fletcher

While the offseason has few weeks to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Earlier, we looked at the hiring of Raheem Morris and the roster decisions made at the start of free agency and the signings of wide receivers Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan. Today we examine the re-signing of London Fletcher.The Redskins are on a youth movement. In 2009 they were the oldest team in the league. By putting a greater emphasis on the draft and by signing free agents who are in their primes they have become younger. When the final cuts are made on Sept. 1 the team should have an average age of about 27, which is near the NFL average.However, they had no interest in going young at one particular position. London Fletcher became a free agent in March but the team had let it be known as early as last season that they wanted to re-sign the 37-year-old Pro Bowl inside linebacker. Fletcher indicated that he would like to return but there were hints that the money would need to be right.For their part, the Redskins were not going to lowball Fletcher but, as has been their practice since Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen arrived in Ashburn in 2010, they werent going to bid against themselves for their services.As the March 13 start of free agency approached, the concern among Redskins fans that the team might not bring back Fletcher started to grow. When the teams salary cap space was chopped by 18 million when the NFL imposed a cap penalty on the team, anxious turned to panic as many wondered if the Redskins would have enough money to get Fletcher back in the fold.Those fears escalated when the Redskins dropped a sizeable contract on wide receiver Pierre Garon and spent some more on receiver Josh Morgan. A Twitter campaign using the hashtag resign59 was launched to try to use popular sentiment to push the Redskins into making a deal with Fletcher.Meanwhile, there seemed to be little panic at Redskins Park or in Fletchers camp. Both sides waited patiently for the market at middle linebacker to be set. There were no reported visits by free agent inside linebackers to the Redskins, with the exception of one by ex-Giant Jonathan Goff not to long before Fletcher eventually agreed to terms. If Fletcher visited another team, it was kept very, very quiet.It took a while for the market to set itself. It wasnt until late March and early April that deals came in for inside linebackers David Hawthorne (Seahawks to Saints for 5 years, 19 million) Stephen Tulloch (staying with the Lions for 525.5) and Curtis Lofton (Falcons to Saints for 527.5).Those other three players are all younger than Fletcher but they dont have his credentials as a three-time Pro Bowl performer (plus several other seasons where he played at a high level but was snubbed) and unquestioned team leader. It seemed reasonable to pay him according to the market set by Hawthorne, Tulloch, and Lofton, which was around 5 million per year.And, ultimately, they did. On April 13, just a few days before the start of the teams offseason workouts, Fletcher announced on his Twitter feed that he was back with the Redskins. One of the least contentious contract disputes in memory came to a close. The deal is for 10.75 million over two years.The Redskins will have Fletcher through the 2013 season after which he presumably will retire. The Redskins drafted his heir apparent, Keenan Robinson, and so a smooth transition could be in the offing.

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Various sources

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>>

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>> 

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