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Redskins defensive line reset: Cost/benefit analysis of cutting Ricky Jean-Francois

Redskins defensive line reset: Cost/benefit analysis of cutting Ricky Jean-Francois

In the last week the Redskins said goodbye to their two best defensive linemen from 2016 in Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-François. Baker was an unrestricted free agent, and though the team did not attempt to re-sign him, Swaggy left of his own volition.

François' situation was different. He was under contract, and the 'Skins cut him. Let's break down the move like its business school with a cost/benefit analysis.

Costs

  • Losing François hurts most in the locker room. A vocal leader, the 30-year-old veteran did not hesitate to challenge his teammates for better play during tough stretches. 
  • Signed by Scot McCloughan in 2015 with a nod toward changing the locker room culture, count one fewer player with ties to the 'Skins former GM.

Benefits

  • The Redskins immediately save $3 million towards the 2017 salary cap by releasing François. 
  • François was not overly productive in two seasons with the Redskins. He will turn 31 this season, and with the signings of Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, it's likely François would compete for more snaps.

Those are the facts. Looking beyond that for insight, it's possible François' recent criticism of the team played a part in his release. As sensational as that sounds, however, remember this was a player on the 24th ranked rush defense that lost snaps to Ziggy Hood, a free agent the team did elect to bring back.

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Eagles will open just one training camp practice to fans, and charge them

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USA Today Sports

Eagles will open just one training camp practice to fans, and charge them

Following a growing trend, the Philadelphia Eagles cut fan access at training camp way back. Way, way back actually. 

The Eagles will open just one training camp practice to the public, and what's more, the team will charge fans to watch. To watch the Eagles lone public training camp session will cost $10, but it's important to note that the proceeds will go the Eagles Autism Challenge, per an ESPN report.

Raising money for charity is admirable. That's not a debate. 

Still, Philadelphia might be on the forefront of an NFL wide trend that significantly limits fan access to teams during training camp. Last year, the Eagles held two open practices at Lincoln Financial Field that fans could attend. This year, it's just one, and by putting it at their home stadium changes the atmosphere too. For some fans, it might be great to get to see the stadium without paying game day prices, but for others, the up-close access of training camp will be greatly missed. 

The Redskins were widely mocked nearly 20 years ago when they moved training camp sessions to their practice facility in Ashburn and charged to watch the practices. The outcry was deserved, not to mention that by charging to watch practice allowed other team's scouts to attend. The NFL changed a rule in 2017 that opposing scouts are not allowed to watch a team's practice regardless of cost. 

Other teams around the league are slowly pulling away from the traditional training camp experience of going away for a few weeks of practice. In the NFC East, the Eagles and Giants hold their camps at their facilities while the Redskins and Cowboys travel. Dallas does their training camp in Oxnard, California, while the 'Skins go to Richmond. 

Washington's deal with the city of Richmond expires after training camp in 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Redskins training camp practices after that, especially as the team wants a new stadium. Any new stadium would probably include facilities to hold training camp practices, similar to the Giants in New Jersey. Additionally, the promise of training camp practices could be part of the negotiations for a new stadium. 

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Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

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USA Today Sports

Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

Training camp comes for the Redskins near the end of July, and in mid-June, not much looks overly worrisome. Except for the Trent Williams situation.

As fans well know, Williams missed all of mandatory minicamp amid reports that the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle was upset with his contract. There are also reports that Williams is upset with the Redskins medical staff, and one report that the former Top 10 pick "vowed" never to return to Washington. 

That's serious stuff.

Jay Gruden rotated between calling Williams the Redskins best player and one of the team's most important players when the coach spoke about the situation during minicamp. Regardless of the exact assessment, Williams is obviously important to the Redskins plans for 2019, and how good the team can possibly become. 

Looking to the fall, there are a few probable outcomes for the Williams situation to end. Here's a look at the possibilities:

  1. Redskins trade Trent Williams - This seems like quite a long shot, but not impossible. Williams has started 119 games in Washington since 2010, but just two playoff games in that time. He's a very valuable player, one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and could obviously draw interest around the NFL. A trade seems quite unlikely, but if a contending team wanted to move for Williams, he might actually want to go. This doesn't seem likely until closer to Week 1, and it doesn't seem likely anyway. The Redskins won't be able to get close to equitable value for Williams on the trade market. 
  2. Redskins cut Trent Williams - There is zero chance this happens. Zero. ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  3. Redskins make it work with Trent Williams - The reality of pro football doesn't bode great for Williams. He's under contract for two more seasons and the salary structure of the NFL means there isn't much money without game checks. All of that suggests Williams arrives for the Redskins somewhere in mid-August, perhaps after training camp in Richmond but well before Week 1 in Philadelphia. That doesn't mean, however, that the 'Skins couldn't make a goodwill offer to Williams. His deal in 2020 holds barely any guaranteed cash, and perhaps making more of his salary a certainty could help him come back to the fold. 
  4. Trent Williams never returns - This seems highly unlikely, but has been reported. Williams seems very angry at the Redskins medical staff based off his Instagram posts, and if he can't trust the doctors, maybe he can't play for the organization. Williams has made a tremendous amount of money during his NFL career, with nearly $100 million in career earnings, so never say never. 

 

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