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Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

The Eagles started making news on Tuesday afternoon when word got out that they were going to part ways with cornerback Cary Williams and pass rushers Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. While Philly fans and media were working on figuring out how these starters would be replaced with no obvious candidates to step in on the roster, the bombshell hit.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Eagles and Bills had agreed on a trade that would send linebacker Kiko Alonso to Buffalo in exchange for LeSean McCoy. Chip Kelly, who was give full control of player personnel in January, had traded away arguably his team’s best player for a linebacker who had a very good rookie season but missed 2014 with a torn ACL.

It is clear that Kelly is not afraid to use his newly acquired personnel power. Cole and Todd Herremans were the two longest-tenured Eagles, both drafted by the team in 2005. McCoy, who will be 27 before the season starts, came aboard in the 2009 draft. Graham was the Eagles’ top pick in the 2010 draft. The Andy Reid era, the most successful in team history, is fast fading into the rearview mirror.

Trading McCoy saved the Eagles $8.55 million in salary cap space. Alonso may take the place of veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who may also be released to save $6.9 million. That would give Kelly nearly $60 million in cap space to work with.

But what would he do with it? The word around Philadelphia is that Kelly only wants players who buy into his system, his way of doing things. It started last year when he was the driving force behind the decision to cut DeSean Jackson a year ago. The best way do that is to build through the draft, bring players in out of college and train them the way you want them. As Scot McCloughan says, free agents come in with their own agendas. You can only vet players so much during the interview and background check process. If Kelly does it that way it will be largely a process of trail and error.

One could surmise that Kelly wants the cap space because he intends to use a good chunk of the next two drafts to move up from 20th into the top five and take Marcus Mariota in the draft. That’s possible but putting all of your eggs in the basket of a spread offense QB is risky business, as the Redskins have learned. The fact that Mariota played for Kelly at Oregon may increase the chances for success but it’s far from a guarantee.

So what does this mean for the Redskins? In the short term is means that they won’t have to face McCoy twice a year. He has 206 carries for 807 yards and five touchdowns rushing and 51 receptions for 479 yards against the Redskins. The receiving numbers are by far his best against any opponent.

But beyond that it depends largely on if Kelly, who has 20 NFL wins, none of them in the postseason, knows what he has doing. He apparently convinced Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie that he does. Now he has to show Eagles fans and the rest of the NFL that he does.

If Kelly’s way works, the Redskins could find themselves needing 11 or 12 wins year after year to contend for the NFC East title. That would make the Redskins’ rebuilding job that much tougher and increase the pressure on Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan to get big results in a hurry.

And if Kelly busts? Well, for right now it would give the Redskins some company at the bottom of the division. Beyond that, we would have to see but given their record since 2007 the Redskins have little room to revel in the difficulties of other division teams.

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

In case you missed it

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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