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Offseason review: Safeties allowed to walk

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Offseason review: Safeties allowed to walk

While the offseason has another month to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Earlier, we looked at the hiring of Raheem Morris. Here we look at some personnel decisions they made with some existing players.LaRon Landry was a top ten draft pick in 2007 and midway through the 2010 season it looked like signing him when his contract was up after the 2011 season would be a high priority. Injuries and disagreement between the player and the club on how to treat those injuries changed all of that. Landrys contract expired at the start of free agency on March 13 without the two sides having any serious talks about a new deal.The Redskins signed O. J. Atogwe to team up with Landry to give them what they thought would be one of the better safety tandems in the league for the next few seasons. Injuries derailed his season and the Redskins decided not to bet the 4 million they were slated to pay him in 2012 that he would stay healthy this year.It is possible that the Redskins were on the fence about keeping Atogwe when they were blindsided by the NFLs 36 million cap penalty and then decided to cut bait. It was thought that the penalty, 18 million of which had to be take this year, might force the Redskins to jettison some high-priced veterans in order to stay under the cap.Among those who were thought to be in jeopardy were Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, who carry 2012 salaries of 3.8 million and 2.6 million respectively. Cooley was already a backup with the emergence of Fred Davis and Moss got pushed further down the down the depth chart when the Redskins signed Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan. But with training camp starting next month, both have remained on the roster.With their available salary cap dollars reduced, the Redskins found themselves with only two safeties with NFL experience on their roster. While DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty both started some games, neither is the caliber player you want to rely on for 16 games.However, with the cap constraints and a weak free agent market at the position, the Redskins had to make do with who they could sign. Brandon Meriweather joined his third team in seven months when the Redskins signed him on March 15. In mid-April the Bucs released Tanard Jackson, whose career had been disrupted by injuries and substance abuse related suspensions. The Redskins signed him a few days later. The 30-year-old Madieu Williams signed on April 10.While Jim Hasletts defense will have to make do with a bargain basement group of safeties, Kyle Shanahan, at least to this point, has some high-priced depth to rely on to help Robert Griffin III adjust to life in the NFL.Over the last couple of years, Hasletts has benefitted from having a lot of draft picks and free agent dollars sent in the direction of his unit so its hard for him to cry foul. But we will see if gambling on a low-cost safety unit pays off.

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Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 24, two days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 17
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 29
—Training camp starts (7/27) 93
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 138

Let’s make a deal

Even though the Redskins have 10 picks going into the draft, Scott Campbell, the team’s college scouting director, said that they will still be open to making deals to add more.

Washington has one pick in each of the seven rounds plus additional selections in the fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds. Campbell said that the team will be happy to add picks if the right deal is on the table. He is not concerned about having too large a draft class competing for a limited number of competitive roster spots.

“Yeah, I don’t know if you can have ‘too many guys,’” said Campbell. “I think the main thing to get better is you want to add competition to the team and anywhere you can add competition, even positions where you think you may be set depth-wise, you know, add more competition. Get the best players in here and I think it pushes each other and makes everybody better.”

It’s a matter of improving the odds of finding players who can help them.

“It’s not an exact science, Campbell said of the draft. “You’re not going to hit on all the guys. You’d like to think you can, but I mean that’s not reality, no one’s ever done that. Just increasing the odds of adding the more players, the more guys that can help us, that’s great.”

Campbell specifically mentioned the team’s two fourth-round picks, which are the 115th and 123rd overall selections, as possible capital to move up or as bait to trade back and get more picks.

What could they do with those picks? If they make a deal that goes by the draft value trade chart, they could trade their second-round pick (17th in the round, 49th overall) and the higher of the two fourth-rounders for the 11th pick in the second (42 overall). If they see a player they like in the third, that same fourth round pick would move them up to from the 81st overall pick (17th in the round) to the 68th overall pick (4th pick of the round).

The return for moving back in the fourth round is not very high. You’re looking at a fifth-round pick in return for moving all the way back from 115th overall to the end of the fourth round. That’s OK if you’re in a range where there just aren’t any players you like but you are very unlikely to get a game-changer in the fifth.  

With 10 picks it would be surprising if the Redskins just used all 10 of them without making any moves. It’s just a matter of if there will be a blockbuster deal involving their first pick or if there are more minor deals on Saturday afternoon.

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.

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

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