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Briggs: “Thought I was headed to Washington”

Briggs: “Thought I was headed to Washington”

Lance Briggs thought he had a new team—the Washington Redskins.

Shortly after he agreed to terms with his current team, the Chicago Bears, Briggs revealed that he believed that he was D. C. bound.

"I didn't think I was going to be a Chicago Bear. I actually thought I was headed to Washington," Briggs said. "At the last minute, my agent (Drew Rosenhaus) told me we had a deal with the Bears. We talked for a while, and I told him this was the deal that made sense."

The contract that Briggs signed is reported to be for six years and $36 million, with $12 million guaranteed. That latter figure is a far cry from the $20 million in guaranteed money that was supposed to be the starting point for Rosenhaus in his negotiations.

So, if Briggs and the Redskins almost had a deal, did the Redskins' pledge to be smart in free agency really last just about 36 hours?

It depends on how you want to look at it.

If you interpreted "smart" as going after only the middle- and lower-tier free agents then, yes, the Redskins did get lost on the path to enlightenment, NFL style.

If you interpreted the term as meaning the Redskins would only go after players who appeared to be available at prices that are bargains relative to the rest of the market, Snyder and Cerrato did not stray.

Briggs' now ex-teammate, wide receiver Bernard Berrian, got $42 million over six years with $16 million guaranteed from the Vikings. Yes, they play different positions and there tends to be a bit of a premium paid for the "skill" positions. Still, Berrian has never posted a 1,000-yard season and has never sniffed a Pro Bowl invitation. Briggs has gone to Hawaii three straight years.

So, if you can pick up a player of Briggs' caliber for a price tag that contains well under $15 million in guarantees, it could be considered smart business.

Even in this paradigm, though, it may not have been an intelligent move for the Redskins to sign Briggs. The Redskins have a weakside linebacker in Rocky McIntosh and, assuming that he can return from injury, he should have a number of quality years left in him.

Any dollars spent on Lance Briggs would have would have been dollars that the team would not have available to spend on positions of true need.

In the end, however, I don't think that the Redskins were really seriously in pursuit of Briggs. Certainly, it would not be beneath Rosenhaus (or any other agent, for that matter) to use some very mild interest on the part of the Redskins as a ploy to drive up the price for his client.

As Snyder and Rosenhaus have an excellent working relationship, I wouldn't put it past Snyder (or any other owner who wanted to drive up the price of retaining a key player to a conference foe) to throw out a lowball offer just to indicate to the Bears that Briggs had other options.

Still, all's well that ends well. It's the start of day three of free agency and the Redskins still have all of their draft picks and they haven't blown a hole in the cap.

You can only be smart one day at a time.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.