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Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 15, 9 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

QOD: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Normally I limit questions to one tweet or Facebook post but Justin here had a couple of related tweets that brought out some related issues that I’ve been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer to Forte is simply no, I don’t see that happening. Scot McCloughan has said he stays away from free agents who are in their 30’s (exceptions made for players like Will Blackmon, who are needed as immediate injury replacements). And Forte is a high-mileage 30. He has 2,035 career rushing attempts plus 487 receptions. He is coming off of career lows in both rushing yards and receptions.

To be sure, those numbers don’t mean that Forte doesn’t have some good years left in them. Frank Gore is a few years older and had a good season in Indianapolis after coming in with over 2,400 rushing attempts and over 500 receptions. But I think that McCloughan will let another team squeeze whatever they can out of Forte and pay him the $3-$4 million per year it will take to sign him.

So will they turn to the draft? With Alfred Morris very unlikely to return and Matt Jones not yet ready to take the reigns as the workhorse running back, they do need a running back. Since McCloughan views the draft as “the lifeblood of the organization” he’s rather get one there.

But waiting for the draft is risky. If you go into the draft with a shopping list of needs you will almost inevitably leave with your needs unfilled and/or with a bad draft. It’s best available player; if it’s close between two players, of course, you go with the position where there is more need. But you’re relying on some good fortune there, hoping that players you need are the best available or close to it.

There are a lot of ways it can play out but here’s a scenario I see as most likely. McCloughan stands pat during free agency, letting players like Forte, Lamar Miller, and Chris Ivory find homes elsewhere. Then he sees if there is a good fit in the draft, somewhere around rounds 2-4. If he can’t find a satisfactory solution there he looks at the secondary free agent market for someone like Pierre Thomas.

If they go the veteran route then the leadership role that Justin mentions is taken care of. But if they go in the draft, it’s still not an issue. Darrel Young is the natural leader of the running back group.

What happens if Young, who will be an unrestricted free agent, is gone and the running backs are Jones, a rookie, Chris Thompson and perhaps Silas Redd? That’s why you have a coach in ex-player Randy Jordan who can lead the unit. A team that is rebuilding (and despite their achievements in 2015 this is still very much a rebuilding team there are going to be some areas where there just isn’t a natural leader, a mentor to show the younger players how it’s done.

In 2012, Morris came to the Redskins and the running backs were second-year players Roy Helu and Evan Royster and Young, who was in his third year. Despite the lack of a veteran to show him to ropes, I seem to recall Morris being able to get the job done pretty well.

Timeline

—Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green was born on this date in 1960.

—The Redskins last played a game 36 days ago. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 9; NFL free agency starts 23; 2016 NFL draft 73

In case you missed it

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!

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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!