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Redskins right to pass on Calais Campbell - and here's why

Redskins right to pass on Calais Campbell - and here's why

The answer to everything is always money.

Calais Campbell is a terrific player, arguably the best free agent defensive lineman available in 2017. And the Redskins need a boatload of help on the D-line. So it makes sense for Redskins fans to recoil when they see the news that Campbell will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dig a little deeper, however, and maybe the Redskins are making the right move. 

Campbell, who will be 31 years old when the 2017 seasons starts, stands to be paid $14 million per year on his new deal with the Jags. That's a lot of money to an aging defensive lineman.

Make no mistake, Campbell stays in great shape. He hasn't missed a game in two years and has only missed two games in the last four years. Campbell is a stud interior lineman that can get to the quarterback and disrupt passing attacks with his 6-foot-8 frame. The Redskins pursuit of Campbell made sense. 

This isn't just about age though. Couple the age with the high dollar salary, and then consider the true positional need in Washington.

RELATED: Options for the Redskins now that Campbell is off the table

For seven seasons the Redskins have run a 3-4 defensive base scheme. For the bulk of that time, the Redskins have lacked a true nose tackle. All 11 members of a defense are vital, but without a good, legitamite nose, the 3-4 has trouble standing up to the run game. That's been the case in Washington for a while.

Campbell is a great player, and an interior player, but at 272 lbs. he's not a nose. In fact, Campbell is most adept in a defensive tackle/end hybrid role. For all of their flaws, the Redskins don't lack for pressure off the edge. Could they be better? Sure, but Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Trent Muprhy, they're all good edge rushers. None of them can play nose. 

The Redskins need to shell out big money for someone on the defensive line in this free agency cycle. They must. But that list doesn't end with Campbell.

Dontari Poe goes 6-foot-3, 346 lbs. Johnathan Hankins goes 6-foot-3, 320 lbs. Bennie Logan goes 6-foot-2, 310 lbs.

The Redskins need big help from a big man in the middle of their defensive line. They need more help than just that, but an anchor of that D-line isn't a want, it's a need. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!