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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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NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

A lot has changed since the end of the college football season, and that's obvious when you consider all of the names the Redskins might look at with the 17th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

Some players have surged up draft boards on the strength of strong combine or pro day efforts. Other have dropped, due to unfortunate incidents, injuries or poor measurements.


Think about players like Teez Tabor or Zach Cunningham. Those guys play in the SEC and seemed like first-round locks two months ago. Now the 'Skins might be able to value shop for those players in the second round.

The flip side: A plyer like Haason Reddick. A star at the Senior Bowl who really busted out at the Combine, the Redskins might love to have him but he could be a Top 10 selection.


All sorts of legal trouble and diluted urine samples will also impact draft night. Injuries too, or even the thought of possible injuries.

Few sporting events are as wild as the first round of the NFL Draft. Stay tuned with CSN for all your Redskins coverage. Chick Hernandez and Rich Tandler will be in Ashburn with the team, JP Finlay will be live in Philadelphia as the chaos unfolds. 


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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Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 27, 27 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.


Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 15
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 27
—Training camp starts (7/27) 91
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 136

Setting the odds one last time

So, today’s the day for the NFL draft and our final chance to make some Monopoly money on who the Redskins first-round pick will be. I’ve chosen five names from the various mock drafts out there and from my own analysis to come up with the five most likely players to be picked at No. 17. Then I broke out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and spread them out on the five players.

LB Haason Reddick, Temple, $30—Reddick could give the Redskins some versatility and learn the inside linebacker spot in the base 3-4 defense and then move to the edge in nickel situations. I’m nearing he’s a “hot” name but I’m not so sure I believe he’s a top-10 pick like I’ve been seeing in some mock drafts lately. Pick 17 seems to be about right for him.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, $25—Foster has more red flags than an interstate highway construction project, including a diluted drug test sample at the combine, multiple shoulder injuries, and getting upset during a wait for a medical test, also at the combine. But at some point, the talent makes the player too good a value to pass up at that point would be at No. 17.

Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, $20—Of the five names on here this is the one with the least buzz. But the Redskins need an edge rusher and McKinley, who can win with speed and by being relentless, may be the best one available. A lot of fans may be surprised by this pick but nobody should be mad if it happens.

RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, $20—I’ve been going back and forth about Cook. He’s undoubtedly a talented runner with breakaway potential. But some injury concerns and his fumbling problems create doubts about him. Then again, as with Foster there is a point where the talent outweighs the flags. I’m not so sure that No. 17 is the spot where that happens but I would not be shocked if the Redskins think that it is.

RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, $10—This is another player who supposedly zoomed up draft boards over the last few weeks without playing a single down. Five or six weeks ago he was a late first-round pick. Then he was a lock to go to the Eagles at 14 overall. Now everyone has him going to the Panthers with the eighth pick. The movement seems to be based more on pack journalism rather than any actual information coming out of teams. I’m not going to completely dismiss the chatter but I think there is a good enough chance that McCaffrey will be there when the Redskins pick to throw a few long shot dollars on him.

Bonus bet: As far as possible trades go, with an additional $100, I’ll go with $15 on a trade up, $35 on trade down, and $50 on staying put at 17.

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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