The rumor mill is starting to churn with talk of the Redskins trading for Aqib Talib, the talented but troubled Bucs cornerback.The chatter seems to have originated with a report in the website Buccaneers 101. I have no idea if reports from there should be considered reliable or not. However, some local chatter indicates that this story may have some legs to it and a pre-draft story in the Pewter Report, a Bucs site that does have a reputation for breaking stories, said that the Bucs made it known that Talib is on the trading block.That doesnt mean that a deal, which likely would involve a late-round 2013 draft pick, is imminent or that its going to happen at all. But it does mean that its worth a post taking a look at a potential deal.You dont need to look too hard to find connections between Talib and the Redskins. Bruce Allen was the Bucs general manager when they took Talib out of Kansas with the 20th pick in the 2008 draft. And Raheem Morris was Talibs position coach his rookie year and his head coach for the past three years.Allen, Morris, and anyone who see Talib on film can recognize his talent. He has great speed, especially for someone his size (6-1, 205). Talib has excellent ball skills and overall instincts. On most NFL teams he would be a starter or at least the first CB off of the bench.So why might the Bucs want to deal him? At least in part, it could be due to the troubled part of the talented but troubled label. He is facing a June 25 trial on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If found guilty he could serve up to 20 years on jail.What happened in the incident in March of 2011 that led to the accusation is not clear but any allegations that a person piston whipped and then fired at another individual (in this case, Talibs sisters boyfriend) are quite serious.This is not Talibs first brush with the law. He served a one-game suspension in 2009 after an incident involving an altercation with a cab driver. At the NFL rookie symposium he got into a fistfight with fellow Bucs rookie Cory Boyd. In addition to the felony assault charge, a woman is seeking 15,000 in damages from Talib, claiming that he threatened to put a cap in her after a December 2010 traffic incident.Since Mike Shanahan has been with the Redskins, he has stayed away from players who have had trouble with the law or character issues of any kind. That changed somewhat this year as the Redskins signed safety Tanard Jackson, who has been suspended a total of 20 games for violations of the substance abuse policy and safety Brandon Meriweather, who has had a couple of scrapes with the law.But neither has a felony conviction on his record and that is what Talib faces when he goes on trial on June 25. Even a conviction on a lesser charge or a plea bargain could lead to both jail time from the legal system and a suspension at the iron fist of Roger Goodell.Given all of that it is hard to see the Redskins being highly interested in Talib. If Morris and Allen have persuaded Shanahan to take a hard look at him, it is doubtful that any deal would take place prior to the resolution of the legal case. Even the, the organization will think long and hard about the wisdom of bringing in a player and a person like Aqib Talib.
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198
Friday quick hitters
What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.
McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0
Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.
Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or suffering from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him.
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In case you missed it
- Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa
- Questions emerge if McCoy can produce similar results at less cost than Cou...
- The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous
- DT McDowell could fit Redskins but there are plenty of questions
- Will the Redskins bring back Baker?
- Redskins free agency needs—Offense
Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs.
"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."
Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster.
In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable.
That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.
While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense.
Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting.
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