Quick Links

Need to Know: Five possible Redskins free agent targets

jermaine-kearse.png

Need to Know: Five possible Redskins free agent targets

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 19, 36 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Question of the day

We’re flipping into offseason mode with Need to Know. At least a few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.

This is a tough question because it takes a few years to get a good feel for what a general manager likes to do in free agency and we only have one Scot McCloughan offseason to go on. In addition, the free agent pool today will be vastly different from the one that will exist on March 9, when free agency starts, as players get signed by their current teams and others who are under contract for 2016 become cap casualties.

But this is all in fun so let’s take a look at five potential targets:

Dolphins RB Lamar Miller—He won’t be 25 until OTAs start and he can be the dynamic back the Redskins are looking for. Miller has runs of 97 and 85 yards the last two years. Another plus is that he has had a fairly light workload in his career; in four seasons he has averaged 160 carries a year and never more than 216 in any one season.

Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse—At 6-1 he’s not a huge receiver but he would add some needed size to the Redskins’ receiving corps. He can get it done in the red zone; he has five red zone touchdown receptions in the last three years, more than any Redskin not named Reed or Garçon. McCloughan is familiar with him as he was with the Seahawks when they signed Kearse as an undrafted free agent in 2012

Jaguars C Stefen Wisniewski—The former Raider signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Jaguars. He didn’t miss a snap and was one of the Jags’ best offensive linemen. At the age of 27 he’s in line for a more substantial deal and the Redskins should take a hard look to see if they should offer him one.

Chargers S Eric Weddle—Yeah, I know, another aging safety. And this one is a long shot but I think the Redskins will keep their eye on him. Incumbent safety Dashon Goldson is slated to make $8 million in 2016 and I don’t think that the Redskins will pay him that. If he won’t renegotiate, the Redskins will need an alternative if they decide to move on from Goldson and that could be Weddle. At age 31 he would be a short-term solution but he would be a quality (two-time All-Pro, including 2014) stopgap.

Broncos ILB Danny Trevathan—If Mason Foster leaves, or even if he stays, Trevathan could be a good fit. He has the background in a winning organization that McCloughan likes and he’ll be 26 in a couple of months.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game nine days ago. It will be about 236 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 36; NFL free agency starts 51; 2016 NFL draft 100

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Need to Know: Which Redskins will surprise in 2017?

Need to Know: Which Redskins will surprise in 2017?

 

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 22, one day before the Washington Redskins start OTAs on May 23.

Timeline

It’s been 141 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 111 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 22
—Training camp starts (7/27) 66
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 80

Who will surprise in 2017?

Here are four Redskins who I think will surprise in 2017; two who will exceed expectations and two I think will fall short of expectations.

Two up

OLB Preston Smith—If you have been reading this space for a while you know that I have predicted that Smith is on the verge of a breakout multiple time. Here is one more time. We have seen the good-to-great version of Smith on multiple occasions—the last four games of the 2015 season including the playoff game, when he terrorized Sam Bradford and saved that Vikings game with an interception, and against the Bears when he blocked a field goal. I think that competition from rookie Ryan Anderson will give him the jolt he needs to become a consistent defensive force.

CB Bashaud Breeland—Breeland never quite seemed to find his groove last year. When he started off the year he was guarding the likes of Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant as teams took advantage of Joe Barry’s reluctance to have Josh Norman follow the opposition’s top receiver. Later in the year he reportedly had disputes with former secondary coach Perry Fewell over how he was being utilized. This year he should be more comfortable defending mostly No. 2 receivers. That, and the fact that he is entering the final year of his rookie contract should propel him to a solid year.

Two down

TE Vernon Davis—I don’t think that Davis will fall off terribly at age 33, even though Father Time is undefeated. But he isn’t going to sneak up on anybody this year and the added attention from defenses could depress his production. His numbers (receptions, yards per catch, catch percentage) all fell off in the second half of 2016 compare to the first half. The stats could take another dip in 2017.

DE Jonathan Allen—No, Allen is not going to be a draft bust. He will be just fine. But some are expecting him to be the second coming of J.J. Watt right off the bat. Watt was good as a rookie, recording 5.5 sacks, but not great. It wasn’t until his second season that he started to rack up double-digit sacks and became a perennial All-Pro. So, don’t be surprised if Allen doesn’t wow you right off the bat. There is a big adjustment when going from college to the NFL, even after playing in the SEC. Allen will put in the work it takes to develop into a very good player. But the work may not bear fruit until towards the end of this season or many not until 2018.

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

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: Plenty for running backs to work on

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: Plenty for running backs to work on

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Running backs to-do list

Tandler: A year ago the main concern going into OTAs was identifying a backup to Matt Jones, who was the unquestioned starter. Now the Redskins appear to have some depth with two potential starters, neither of whom is Jones.

Undrafted rookie Rob Kelley started the last nine games after a bout of fumble-itis landed Jones on the bench. The Redskins drafted Samaje Perine, who rushed for 4,122 yards in three seasons at Oklahoma, including an NCAA record (since broken) 427 yards in one game, in the fourth round.

One thing that both Kelley and Perine must work on is catching passes out of the backfield. Perine caught just 40 passes in 33 games with the Sooners. Passing to Kelley was something of an adventure. He was targeted 17 times and he was charged with four drops.

Jay Gruden isn’t necessarily looking for another Giovani Bernard, who caught 56 passes for the Bengals in 2013, Gruden’s last year as offensive coordinator there. But a back who can catch passes will either draw some defensive attention or give the offense an occasional easy first and 10 if the back is ignored on a swing pattern.

Finlay:  The competition between Perine and Kelley should be a fun one for fans to trach this summer. Gruden has been effusive in his praise of "Fat Rob" since the midway point of the 2016 season, and it's not just bluster. Kelley has quick feet and good vision that allows him to escape tackles in the backfield at a succesful rate.

The Redskins struggled to run the ball in 2016, and Kelley's emergence had as much to do with avoiding negative runs as it did Jones' fumbles. Jones repeatedly got taken down in the backfield. With Kelley, it happened much less often. The challenge for Perine will be getting acclimated to the speed of NFL defensive lines. In college at Oklahoma, Perine played in a wide open spread offense, and in a conference where defense seemed optional. Perine is not accustomed to defenders in the backfield, and it could take some getting used to. Kelley, who played collegiately at Tulane, was quite accustomed to defenders in the backfield. 

It's also important to point out Chris Thompson. He carved out a solid role in 2016 and the same, if not more, will be expected this fall. He accounted for more than 700 total yards and five touchdowns, and was vital on a number of third downs. 

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

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!

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