It looks like the Redskins are finally starting to get it.
A few years ago they were a team that looked nothing like the better teams in the league. The Redskins were older and they had more players that they had signed as free agents compared to the teams. Their ratio of homegrown players was low.
Now they are following the path that most successful teams follow. Here is a look at how the Redskins’ 53-man roster for their wild card playoff game was built compared to the rosters of the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos:
Redskins: 22 draft; 4 college free agents; 24 free agents; 3 trade/waivers
Panthers: 19 draft; 5 college free agents; 24 free agents; 5 trade/waivers
Broncos: 20 draft; 7 college free agents; 21 free agents; 5 trade/waivers
The Redskins would have had three more draft picks on the 53-man roster if not for injuries. Niles Paul, a 2011 pick, and Martrell Spaight, a fifth-round pick in 2015, both went on IR before the season started and Kyshoen Jarrett, a 2015 sixth rounder, was injured in the final game of the season.
Of course the Panthers and Broncos had some draft picks on injured reserve as well so the comparison would be roughly the same.
Of the Redskins’ 23 free agents, six were what you could call premium free agents, players signed in the spring to multi-year contracts with seven-figure guarantees. Players fitting that description are WR Pierre Garçon, DE Jason Hatcher, WR DeSean Jackson, DE Ricky Jean Francois, S Jeron Johnson, and NT Terrance Knighton. Players on injured reserve who could be considered premium free agents are CB Chris Culliver, DE Stephen Paea, OL Shaun Lauvao, and WR Andre Roberts.
It should be noted that having a certain number of homegrown players on the roster is not a guarantee of success. But to stay away from major salary cap problems you have to have a good base of players who perform well on their rookie contracts. The Redskins aren't completely there but it appears that Scot McCloughan has them on their way.
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