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Skins’ shunning of free agents goes against their nature

Skins’ shunning of free agents goes against their nature

The Washington Redskins have slammed the "Closed" sign down in front of the bank teller window. They've shut down the ATM. The capologists and other bean counters in Ashburn can take the rest of the week off.

The Redskins are done looking for free agents.

From Redskins.com:

"If something comes up [in free agency], we'll run it down," head coach Jim Zorn said on Tuesday. "There isn't anyone that I'm hot after. There's nothing on the hot list."

No hot list? After zero signings of any other team's free agents? After having only one visit, that from wide receiver D. J. Hackett, and offering him a lowball deal?

That seems to go against nature. It's like a dog is standing by the side of the road as car after car drives by. The dog only chases one of them and even then it makes only a few, halfhearted steps in the direction of a slightly damaged sedan. The gleaming sports cars and loaded Hummers that used to set off furious chases pass by without so much as a bark.

The Redskins' active stance in free agency didn't start when Joe Gibbs came to town. In fact, it didn't start when Daniel Snyder bought the team. In the beginning of modern free agency in 1993, the class included wide receiver Tim McGee, linebacker Rick Graf, and defensive tackle Al Noga.

In fact, it goes back even further than that. The Redskins were one of the few teams that signed free agents before '93.

In Plan B free agency, a system that allowed teams to protect most of their rosters but let a few free when their contracts expired, Washington acquired Super Bowl XXVI starting safeties Danny Copeland and Brad Edwards, among others.

Before that system started they gave up two first-round picks to sign linebacker Wilbur Marshall away from the Bears in 1988.

Going back further, they gave up multiple high draft picks as compensation for signing Dave Butz away from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975.

And, in 1976, there was a loophole in the rules that made it legal from free agents to sign with other teams with no compensation. There was a gentleman's agreement among the owners and general manager—something that would be called collusion today—to stay away from each other's free agents.

George Allen would have none of this gentleman's agreement stuff. He went out and signed Dallas tight end Jean Fugett, Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, and a running back from the Jets named John Riggins.

Although it took six years for the Redskins to figure out that Riggins was best utilized as a battering ram and not a blocking back or outside runner, he eventually was the difference in a Super Bowl winning team.

The Redskins have been trying to buy championships ever since, with results that never have been as successful.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!