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Need to Know: Kerrigan first Redskins first rounder extended since Chris Samuels

Need to Know: Kerrigan first Redskins first rounder extended since Chris Samuels

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 30, the day the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

As I noted in a post yesterday, prior to reaching a contract extension agreement with Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins have been able to re-sign only two of the 11 first-round picks they have had since 1997 whose contracts had expired. Here is a look at what happened to them.

DE Kennard Lang, 1997—Signed with the Browns as a free agent in 2002. He played with the Browns for four seasons before finishing up his career with Denver in 2006.

CB Champ Bailey, 1999—Played out his rookie contract and was given the franchise tag by the Redskins in 2004. But they ended up trading him and a second-round pick to the Broncos for RB Clinton Portis. Yeah, I know, why the second? Simply put, the Redskins offered it and the Broncos took it. Bailey is a likely first ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

OT Chris Samuels, 2000—Re-signed with the Redskins and ended up playing 10 seasons until spinal stenosis ended his career.

LB LaVar Arrington, 2000—Also re-signed with Washington, although there was a disagreement over some money that Arrington’s camp thought would be in the final deal that wasn’t. Things did not end well as he repaid some of his guaranteed money to be let out of his deal in 2006.

WR Rod Gardener, 2001—The Redskins traded him to the Panthers for a late-round draft pick following the 2005 season.

QB Patrick Ramsey, 2002—He was traded to the Jets for a sixth-round pick in 2006.

S Sean Taylor, 2004—We all know the sad story here, cut down by a home intruder after just three and a half years in the NFL.

QB Jason Campbell, 2005—Mike Shanahan couldn’t wait to get rid of him when he came in as coach in 2010 and he shipped Campbell to the Raiders for a 2012 fourth-round pick.

CB Carlos Rogers, 2005—After his rookie contract was up in 2010, a loophole in the CBA rules allowed the Redskins to keep him for a year as a restricted free agent. He signed with the 49ers in 2011.

S LaRon Landry, 2007—He signed with the Jets as a free agent in 2012. A dispute over how to treat an injury poisoned any chance of a long-term deal.

OLB Brian Orakpo, 2009—The Redskins tagged him in 2014. After another injury-plagued season, he siged with the Titans as a free agent.

Status of recent first rounders: Trent Williams (2010) is signed through this season, Robert Griffin III (2012) also is signed through 2015 and the team has an option for 2016 for about $16 million. Brandon Scherff (2015) signed a four-year contract earlier this year.

To add up the trail of frustration for the first-round Redskins, there were 10 players who have had expiring contracts. Two re-signed, Samuels and Arrington although only Samuels stayed with the team to finish his career. Two were franchised, Orakpo and Bailey although Bailey was traded shortly after being tagged. In addition to Bailey, three were traded. And three left as free agents.

Today's schedule

—Redskins walkthrough, 10:35 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference approx. 2:45; Redskins practice, 3 p.m.

Timeline

—It’s been 214 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 45 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 15; final cuts 38

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Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual contenders to go deep into the playoffs. The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart. Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Earlier this week we looked at the offense; today the defense is up. Although there could be a change to a 4-3 base defense in the making depending on who the coordinator is, we’ll line them up in a 3-4 until there is word to the contrary.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

Defensive line

Starters: Chris Baker*, draft pick/free agent X 2
Backups: Matt Ioannidis, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier

It seems that Baker wants to stay and give that the Redskins would be starting their D-line virtually from scratch without him the chances of coming up with a deal seem strong. I will spend the entire 99 days between now and the draft saying that it’s not a given that they will take a defensive lineman, or any defensive player, with their top draft pick. But someone like Malik McDowell of Michigan State sure would fit in well here along with a free agent like Bennie Logan of the Eagles. The organization will be looking for leaps forward from Ioannidis and Lanier.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Outside linebacker

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Lynden Trail

Although nothing is certain until pen is put to paper, the chances of Galette giving it another go after two torn Achilles in two years are strong. Trail and Houston Bates will battle for a fifth spot, if there is one. Given Smith’s inconsistency and the uncertainty of Galette’s health it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft an edge rusher.

Inside linebacker

Starters: Will Compton, free agent
Backups: Martrell Spaight, Mason Foster, draft pick

I’m putting Compton there in dry erase marker, not in Sharpie. They love his leadership and work ethic but he must make more plays. I have a free agent starting beside him because it’s a tough position for a rookie to learn. But if they spend a high draft pick that player could jump into a starting job quickly.  Foster moves into the nickel role that he performed well after Su’a Cravens went out with an injury. Steven Daniels, a 2016 seventh-round pick who spent the year on injured reserve, could push Spaight for a job.

Cornerback

Starters: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar
Backups: Kendall Fuller (nickel), Tharold Simon, free agent/draft pick

This could go in a lot of different directions. The only spot set in stone is Norman’s. I have Bashaud Breeland moving to safety, which is something of a speculative hot take. If they make that move, they could spend a high draft pick or substantial free agent money on a corner or they could stay in-house with Dunbar or Fuller. Simon could make the team and contribute or he could be cut.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Safety

Starters: Su’a Cravens, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, draft pick

Safeties are hard to find. In college, potentially good safeties gravitate towards cornerback, where the NFL money is better. If a good one hits the free agent market, the laws of supply and demand push the price up beyond the value of the position. For those reasons, the Redskins might try Breeland at safety. Some in the organization have believed for a couple of years that safety is his best position. Cravens announced that he would be moving to safety so that change is firm. Duke Ihenacho, who is a free agent, could be back but I think he moves along. Blackmon is a good veteran reserve who can play nickel also. Even though he made a key interception when forced into duty against the Eagles, it still seems that they don’t trust Everett at safety and perhaps a mid-round pick will replace him.

Specialists: LS Nick Sundberg*, P Tress Way, PK Dustin Hopkins

I predict that Sundberg will be the first of the team’s pending free agents to agree to a contract. Hopkins may get some camp competition but it is unlikely to be of more than the token variety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.