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Offseason review: Skins counter youth movement, re-sign Fletcher

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Offseason review: Skins counter youth movement, re-sign Fletcher

While the offseason has few weeks 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 and the roster decisions made at the start of free agency and the signings of wide receivers Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan. Today we examine the re-signing of London Fletcher.The Redskins are on a youth movement. In 2009 they were the oldest team in the league. By putting a greater emphasis on the draft and by signing free agents who are in their primes they have become younger. When the final cuts are made on Sept. 1 the team should have an average age of about 27, which is near the NFL average.However, they had no interest in going young at one particular position. London Fletcher became a free agent in March but the team had let it be known as early as last season that they wanted to re-sign the 37-year-old Pro Bowl inside linebacker. Fletcher indicated that he would like to return but there were hints that the money would need to be right.For their part, the Redskins were not going to lowball Fletcher but, as has been their practice since Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen arrived in Ashburn in 2010, they werent going to bid against themselves for their services.As the March 13 start of free agency approached, the concern among Redskins fans that the team might not bring back Fletcher started to grow. When the teams salary cap space was chopped by 18 million when the NFL imposed a cap penalty on the team, anxious turned to panic as many wondered if the Redskins would have enough money to get Fletcher back in the fold.Those fears escalated when the Redskins dropped a sizeable contract on wide receiver Pierre Garon and spent some more on receiver Josh Morgan. A Twitter campaign using the hashtag resign59 was launched to try to use popular sentiment to push the Redskins into making a deal with Fletcher.Meanwhile, there seemed to be little panic at Redskins Park or in Fletchers camp. Both sides waited patiently for the market at middle linebacker to be set. There were no reported visits by free agent inside linebackers to the Redskins, with the exception of one by ex-Giant Jonathan Goff not to long before Fletcher eventually agreed to terms. If Fletcher visited another team, it was kept very, very quiet.It took a while for the market to set itself. It wasnt until late March and early April that deals came in for inside linebackers David Hawthorne (Seahawks to Saints for 5 years, 19 million) Stephen Tulloch (staying with the Lions for 525.5) and Curtis Lofton (Falcons to Saints for 527.5).Those other three players are all younger than Fletcher but they dont have his credentials as a three-time Pro Bowl performer (plus several other seasons where he played at a high level but was snubbed) and unquestioned team leader. It seemed reasonable to pay him according to the market set by Hawthorne, Tulloch, and Lofton, which was around 5 million per year.And, ultimately, they did. On April 13, just a few days before the start of the teams offseason workouts, Fletcher announced on his Twitter feed that he was back with the Redskins. One of the least contentious contract disputes in memory came to a close. The deal is for 10.75 million over two years.The Redskins will have Fletcher through the 2013 season after which he presumably will retire. The Redskins drafted his heir apparent, Keenan Robinson, and so a smooth transition could be in the offing.

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line, and tight ends, under the microscope. Today the focus turns to quarterback.

2016 final game starter: Kirk Cousins

Has started all 32 games in two seasons since he was named the starter. Cousins played every offensive snap last year.

Departures: None

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starter: Cousins

Trade talk that was all over the place in February and early March is all but gone. It appears that Cousins will be the starter for 2017. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

2017 reserves: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

For a while in 2014, McCoy was ahead of Cousins on Jay Gruden’s depth chart, starting three games over a healthy Cousins. McCoy is under contract through 2018 and it will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at starting if Cousins leaves as a free agent. But for 2017 McCoy will continue his role as an insurance policy.

Sudfeld will find out a lot more about his future in burgundy and gold in the next several days. Former general manager Scot McCloughan was very high on Sudfeld’s potential as a future starter. If others in the building were as convinced as McCloughan was they likely will bypass the position in the draft. Taking a QB, especially somewhere in rounds three or four, would be a sign that they don’t like Sudfeld nearly as much as McCloughan did.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often  

Where can the quarterback position find improvement?

Cousins had another big statistical year, breaking his own team record by passing for nearly 5,000 yards. But he can improve in the red zone, where his completion rate plummeted to 47.5 percent after completing 64.1 percent in 2015. Cousins also saw his third-down completion percentage drop from 69.2 percent in 2015 to 61 percent last year. Not surprisingly, the offense struggled in both areas.   

Locks and bubble players

If no quarterback is drafted all three are locks. If one is taken, Sudfeld should start looking at how he can break his lease.  

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

How plausible is a draft day trade? Could the Redskins move up? And what to do about all those 'diluted samples'? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler break it all down.

<<<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!