Washington Redskins

Quick Links

All’s quiet in Ashburn

All’s quiet in Ashburn

We're about 18 hours into the NFL free agent signing period and the sounds of silence are emanating from Redskins Park.

Well, near silence anyway. The Redskins did ink quarterback Todd Collins to a three year deal that will be worth at least $9 million ($3 million guaranteed), perhaps more with incentives. He signed the contract knowing that he would be the backup to Jason Campbell. Collins provided a feel-good story last year, coming in for an injured Campbell and leading the Redskins to four straight wins and a playoff spot. The uplifting, underdog tale—Collins hadn't see any extended playing time in a decade—provided us with something to smile about in the wake of the murder of Sean Taylor.

Not to minimize the retention of a backup QB who has proven he can win, but that hardly qualifies as the big splash to which we have become accustomed around this time of year.

Unlike in past years when the start of free agency meant that the fax machines were cranking all night long as the number crunchers worked various "what if" cap scenarios into and through the wee hours of the morning, all reports are that there is little activity in Ashburn. Redskins One is in the hangar, getting a much-needed extended rest after logging many hours in the air during the coaching search. No free agent visits are scheduled.

That bears repeating. No free agent visits are scheduled. It used to be tough to get a room at a hotel near Ashburn this time of year as they were all booked with free agents and their entourages waiting to take their shots at getting a fat paycheck signed by one Daniel Snyder.

All across Redskins Nation there are definite signs of withdrawal. After years of being accustomed to the thrill of being in the mix for the biggest names in the free agency pool, there is the hollow feeling of, well, hollowness. Nothing.

Many aren't handling this well. They are sitting at the keyboard, banging out messages about every released player and every pending free agent wondering how he might look in burgundy and gold. Others are staring at their phones, local sports talker number on the speed dial, waiting to call in and rip Snyder for overpaying yet another bum.

But the activity all is elsewhere. The Eagles inked Assante Samuel for five years and $47 million. In Miami the Tuna is reeling in players left and right. Tens of millions of dollars are being guaranteed almost every hour.

Sure, it's just like Vinny Cerrato said it would be a week or so ago. The Redskins are following the market instead of setting it. They'll let everyone else pick up the big tabs and settle for some leftovers in a week or so.

But, of course, that's no fun. Acting responsibly usually isn't. It's like sitting at home doing your homework on a Thursday while all your friends are at a party. In the long run, it's what you need to do. But at the moment it sure is boring.

Quick Links

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 26, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 46 days.

Today’s schedule: Players report to training camp for physicals and conditioning test. Jay Gruden news conference 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 15
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 38

Five pre-camp questions for Jay Gruden

RICHMOND—The media portion of training camp gets underway on Wednesday as Jay Gruden holds his pre-camp presser at 2 pm at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center (that’s probably the last time I’ll use the full name of the facility).

Here are some questions we will ask of Gruden as he enters his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.

Will Kirk Cousins’ contract situation be a distraction? This must be asked, even though we know that the answer will be no. Yes, Cousins handled a similar situation just fine last year. But a quarterback playing on a second franchise tag is unprecedented. Certainly, Gruden has to guard against things getting out of hand if the season starts to turn sour.

In his fourth training camp, what is he doing now that he wishes he would have done in 2014? One very visible change has been a reduction in the amount of contact that takes place on the field. Will this continue to decline or, give the issues the team had tackling last year, will it ramp up? What used to be the morning practice and afternoon walkthrough were flipped a couple of years ago. Has there been any thought to changing it back?

How has the adjustment process to having so many new coaches gone so far? The Redskins have new coordinators on both sides of the ball and several new position coaches. As happens when any group of co-workers gets added to a workplace, there is an adjustment period. In the NFL, the coaches have to get up to speed with each other in a hurry.

Will Gruden use the season-ending loss to the Giants as a motivational/learning tool or just bury it in the past? It’s a fine line between learning from past mistakes and dwelling on them. While Cousin should make sure that he doesn’t throw another late-game interception like the one he threw in that game, he can’t have it spook him to the point where he can’t pull the trigger on a pass late in a close game. How Gruden handles the 2016 finale could have a major effect on how 2017 unfolds.

After having one of the highest pass ratios in the league, will Gruden look to run the ball more often? Last year, Sean McVay called passes on 62.4 percent of the Redskins’ snaps. The Redskins drafted a fourth-round running back in Samaje Perine and they may team him with starter Rob Kelley and call to keep the ball on the ground a few more times per game.

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

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!