Quick Links

Redskins' roster situation requires an active free agency period

Redskins' roster situation requires an active free agency period

Bruce Allen did not talk to the members of the local media who made the trek to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. But he did talk to SiriusXM NFL Radio while he was there and among the topics discussed was free agency.

For the first time since 2011 the Redskins will have the same salary cap limit as the other 31 NFL teams. The salary cap penalty is gone and it sounds like Allen is ready to get to work spending some of the team’s available cap space. By most estimates they are about $29 million under the cap.

“We’ll have some room,” Allen said, (as transcribed by the Washington Post). “We’re gonna have some room to do some things. But we have some players who are free agents, and we’re going to talk to them first, to try to retain them. But we have the ability to maneuver around, and we’ll be active in free agency.”

The word “active” is what has drawn everybody’s attention. But even a cursory glance at the Redskins’ situation tells you that they have no choice but to be active. Sheer numbers tell the story.

Of the 53 players on the roster at the end of the 2013 season, there are about 21 who are under contract and have demonstrated the ability to either be a starter, key reserve, or key special teams performer. About seven more who fit that description ended the season on injured reserve.

There are other players on the roster and on IR who are worth keeping as developmental projects so you can add a few more to the existing core. They have six draft picks and you figure that about four of them will make the roster and that they can pick up an undrafted player or two.

Add those together and subtract out several players who may be released as cap casualties about you probably have about 12 to 15 veteran free agents the Redskins will need to sign. That’s “active” by any definition of the word.

There are some Redskins fans who, for unknown reasons, want the team to repeat what they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s and spend heavily in free agency, bringing in a few big-name, expensive players in the process. That approach has landed the Redskins four playoff spots with zero advances even as far as the conference championship game since 1993. But, to them, “active” means reeling in big names.

The one “big name” the Redskins might sign is their own Brian Orakpo. With a over a dozen holes to fill, there might not be any room for players like WR Eric Decker or S Jairus Byrd. The Redskins’ situation is likely to push them in the direction of signing lesser-know players.

Quick Links

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

Quick Links

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.