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Redskins’ focus in free agency needs to be on their own players

Redskins’ focus in free agency needs to be on their own players

Two weeks from today, the Redskins and the rest of the NFL will start free agency. We are running a series on CSNwashington.com taking a position-by-position look at which players the Redskins might be interested in signing. It started yesterday with the safety position.

Even though new GM Scot McCloughan is committed to building through the draft, the organization will need to sign some free agents from other teams; there are simply too many holes to fill with draft picks.

But the Redskins should spend a minimal amount of their cap space, which currently stands at around $16.1 million but could grow to well over $20 million with some contract terminations and renegotiations, on free agents from other teams.

Instead, the focus should be on signing their own players, the ones they drafted and developed. If you want to know why the Redskins have struggled for so long, get ready for a sobering fact.

Since 1984, a span of 31 drafts, the Redskins have taken 20 players in the first round. Only two of them, 2000 first-round picks LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels, have signed second contracts with the Redskins. Some, like Brian Orakpo, have stayed on the franchise tag. Carlos Rogers, the team’s top pick in 2005, was kept around another year as a restricted free agent. But for the most part the Redskins’ first rounders have moved on when their rookie contracts were up if not sooner.

How can a team sustain any sort of success if it can’t hold on to its top talent? Or, in some cases, when their first-round picks just aren’t worth keeping?

The team has four first-round picks up for new contracts in the next calendar year. Orakpo will be a free agent on March 10. There is a legitimate case to be made for letting him walk, although the Redskins should at least ask for a chance to examine the best offer that Orakpo gets on the open market before making a final decision.

Next year, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, and Robert Griffin III all are set to be free agents. The team should work with Williams’ and Kerrigan’s agents to get them locked up for the long term before the 2015 season starts. The little-used term “Redskin for life” needs to be applied to both of them.

Griffin is a different case. The team can decide to activate an option clause in Griffin’s contract that would lock him up for 2016 for a salary of about $16 million. That does not seem likely to happen. The best course of action would be for the Redskins and Griffin’s camp to hammer out a two- or three-year deal with some guaranteed mone and some incentives. Such a deal would give the player some degree of security while giving the team some options to move on if Griffin continues to struggle.

The Redskins’ draft pick retention problem extends beyond the first round. The last second-rounder to sign a second contract was Fred Davis, who came back on a one-year deal after being franchise tagged after his rookie deal ran out. You have to go back to the second-round pick in 2002, backup running back Ladell Betts, to find a second rounder who signed a multi-year extension. The last second-round starter to sign a multi-year extension was 1999 second-round pick Jon Jansen.

How about the third round? Chris Cooley, picked in 2004, is the only player drafted in that round to sign an extension during the free agency era.

Next year is a big year when it comes to free agents. In addition to Williams, Griffin, and Kerrigan, other players slated to be unrestricted free agents are Keenan Robinson, Alfred Morris, and Darrel Young. Instead of shopping for stars from other teams as they have done for so many years, the Redskins need to hone in on targets closer to home.

At some point, a team has to start taking care of its own. For far, far too long the Redskins have either failed to do that or have drafted players that just weren’t worth hanging on to. Both issues need to be corrected if the team is ever going to move forward.

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Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

It did not take long for Dwayne Haskins to win approval from the media and the Redskins coaching staff in a short amount of time at OTAs. 

That excitement from the Redskins OTAs has reverberated across the country and made him the feature of NBC Sports' Chris Simms QB School series. There, the current NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback made big comparisons to the No. 15 overall pick Haskins to Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. 

Simms was enthralled with the skillset that Haskins possesses and his potential. Citing his arm talent and the small mechanics of the 22-year-old, Simms thinks he has all the tools to be a top-tier NFL QB.

"He reminds me a lot of a big Ben Roethlisberger with his style of football play. [Haskins] arm is special, there's no doubt about that," Simms said. 

Comparing a rookie QB to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback that has made six All-Pro teams is not too shabby. Roethlisberger has thrown for over 54,000 yards in his career with 363 touchdowns across his NFL career. They both wear No. 7, both played their college ball in Ohio, and both are known for their ability to hurl a football down the field. 

Some of the strong qualities of Haskins that Simms highlighted were his tight and quick arm motion, his controlled body rotation, and the accuracy down the field. At the same time, he pointed out that Haskins has a tendency to drop his elbow on passes, forcing his passes to sail high. 

"[Haskins] has Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent and I know he's already wowed some people down there in Washington in his first few practices." 

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Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Before you blink Redskins training camp will be here, which means preseason football is not far off and the 2019 NFL regular season will come with it.

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2019 training camp schedule, set to begin July 25. Training camp will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va. for the seventh straight year. 

This year is set to be the most intriguing training camp since Robert Griffin III was drafted by the team in 2012. Playing in his first NFL training camp first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins will be the center of attention with the team's quarterback position still up in the air. There will be competition from trade acquisition Case Keenum and Redskins mainstay Colt McCoy. 

More to watch:

-Derrius Guice will be in the backfield practicing with Adrian Peterson for the first time.
-The return of the Alabama Wall in Darron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
-Which wide receiver(s) will step up into holes in the offense.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2019 Redskins training camp.

When is the Redskins 2019 training camp?

The Redskins 2019 training camp begins on Thursday, July 25 at 9:45 a.m. ET and runs to the team's final practice on Saturday, August 11. 

What time does the Redskins training camp start?

Most days of the Redskins training camp schedule starts with a practice at 9:45 a.m. ET with a late afternoon walkthrough at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

The Redskins 2019 training camp is located at the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/25 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fri. 7/26 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sat. 7/27 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sun. 7/28 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 7/30 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Wed. 7/31 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Thurs. 8/1 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fan Appreciation Day:
Sat. 8/3 — TBA — 1:00 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/4 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Mon. 8/5 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 8/6 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Thurs. 8/8 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/10 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/11 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — No Walkthrough— TBA

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