Quick Links

Need to Know: Bad drafts lead to Redskins free agency needs

Need to Know: Bad drafts lead to Redskins free agency needs

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 10, 49 days before the NFL Draft.

Five thoughts on free agency so far

—It seems that safety is emerging as a big area that needs to be addressed in some form during free agency. As usual. The name of the Bengals' Reggie Nelson, who will be 33 in September, came up as a player the Redskins are interested in. Even though he had eight interceptions last year, at that age he is not the ideal solution. But until they can find solutions in the draft, something that seems to get harder and harder for everyone around the league to accomplish every year, they will have to do the best they can.

—They also could get Dashon Goldson back. There is no talk that there was any bitterness between the player and the team over negotiations to cut his pay from the $8 million his contract called for but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some hard feelings about it. But it’s possible that Goldson will go out into the market, not find anything to his liking, and come back and sign with the Redskins. We saw this a few years ago with DeAngelo Hall. But Hall had longstanding ties to the Redskins whereas Goldson has been around for only a year. I’d say the odds are against it but we’ll see.

—The Redskins are going to have to fill a few more holes than just safety. And while getting several free agents may run counter to what Scot McCloughan preaches it’s necessary and here’s why. The 2011 and 2012 drafts should be forming the core of the team now. They should have several starters and a number of key contributors on the team working on their second contracts. But from 2011 they have Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul. From 2012 they have Kirk Cousins. That’s it. And they had a total of 21 picks in those two drafts. It’s no wonder that there are holes to fill.

—The Redskins may wait until the draft to acquire another running back. The supply has been diminished at top-shelf prices. The top available running back available, James Starks of the Packers, is ranked No. 49 on Rotoworld’s top 50 available free agents list. As I’ve said all along, I think that the plan is to go into the draft and try to pick up a running back on Friday night or sometime early on Saturday. If they can’t land one there—or maybe even if they can—they will look to the May free agent market where there will still be some quality players available for a fraction of the $6.5 million that Chris Ivory got from the Jaguars.

—This is looking way ahead but the Redskins could have two more spots on the 53-man roster up for grabs than they had last year. With Darrel Young gone they are unlikely to sign a fullback. And if they draft a quarterback in the sixth or seventh round or sign one as an undrafted free agent they might keep that player on the practice squad instead of the 53, clearing another spot. Probably one spot would be for an extra tailback so they would carry three or four. And one might go to a fourth tight end if they can find a blocking tight end. Again, just something to tuck away for training camp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 61 days ago. It will be about 184 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 38; 2016 NFL draft 47; Redskins training camp starts 148

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

Quick Links

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!