Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 21, 49 days before NFL free agency starts.
Let’s take a look at five receivers the Redskins could pursue in free agency:
1. Julian Edelman, NE (2013 stats 105 rec/1056 yds/6 TDs)—Santana Moss is unlikely to be back and Edelman is quite capable of playing Moss’ slot position. Jay Gruden’s Bengals generally employed bigger receivers and Edelman has decent height at 6-feet even (correction: most have Edelman listed at 5-10).
2. Jerome Simpson, MIN (48/726/1)—Jay Gruden has some good information on him as he was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator when Simpson was there. He has had some off-field issues running afoul of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy that might make some teams shy away. They also could drive down his asking price.
3. Golden Tate, SEA (64/898/5)—We can add punt returns to his stat line here as he brought back 51 punts for an average of 11.5 yards. That’s not a spectacular average but it would have represented a quantum leap in production from what the Redskins had in 2013. Tate may be a bit too costly for the Redskins this year but the return skills could justify overpaying for him.
4. James Jones, GB (59/817/3)—Jones will be 30 before the season starts and hemay have lost a step so he would have to come at a reduced rate. He certainly appears to have something left in the tank; he’s just a season removed from a 14-touchdown season in 2012.
5. Andrew Hawkins, CIN (12/199/0)—There are a few issues here—he wasn’t very productive last year, he’s only 5-7 and he’s a restricted free agent. But he does bring an element of speed, something the Redskins don’t have enough of. And he did have a very productive 2012 season (51/533/4) so he has demonstrated that he can get it done. If they tender him at a level that doesn’t require any compensation, Gruden may encourage Bruce Allen to make a bid for him.
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—It’s been 23 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 229 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 29; Offseason workouts start 76; NFL Draft 107
In case you missed it
The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.
They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.
Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.
The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.
Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.
Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.
Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.
DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.
LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.
G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.
T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.
CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.
RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.
Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)
Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.