Quick Links

Will the Redskins have to overpay to keep Perry Riley?

Will the Redskins have to overpay to keep Perry Riley?

Jim Haslett listed four of the Redskins’ pending free agents that he would like to be back. One of them, DeAngelo Hall, is signed, sealed, and delivered. We discussed the very quiet state of the Brian Orakpo negotiations yesterday. And the chatter is that the Redskins and Chris Baker are going well and it would be a surprise if they didn’t come to an agreement at some point.

That leaves inside linebacker Perry Riley and it appears that there is some distance between the Redskins and Riley’s camp. There seems to be little chance that Riley will be signed before free agency starts on March 11.

What happens in modern sports is that free agent prices that teams have to deal with are set by their dumbest competitors. In the past, the Redskins have been among the not-so-smart teams setting high player salaries. Now, they are in a situation where they could be paying for the reckless spending of others.

It has been reported that Riley wants a contract comparable to the one that the Dolphins gave Dannell Ellerbe a year ago. He got a deal worth $35 million over five years despite having started just 14 games in four NFL seasons.

As Evan Silva of Rotoworld, who ranked Riley as the 103rd-best free agent available, said that Riley isn’t worth half of what Ellerbe makes. And while the Redskins are willing to pay more than that, they will point to the deal that the now retired London Fletcher signed in 2012. The veteran signed for two years and an average of $5.4 million. At the time he signed the contract, Fletcher has 14 years of NFL experience and he was coming off of his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. It’s hard to argue that Riley is worth more than Fletcher.

What Riley ultimately gets paid may come down to supply and demand. There was a report that seven teams have contacted D’Qwell Jackson, released by the Browns yesterday. It is not known if the Redskins are one of those teams but you have to figure they have done their due diligence on Jackson. But the point is that there should be a reasonably healthy market at the inside linebacker position.

We know the Redskins have a high level of demand there with Fletcher retired, Riley on the free agent market, and the team having no viable starting options on the roster. They need to sign two starting caliber inside linebackers whether it’s Riley and someone else or two new players.

That leaves them in a weakened position in dealing with Riley. They may have to be willing to overpay to an extent to keep him so they don’t risk having to start all over in the heart of their defense.

But there is an upper limit to what they will pay. If another team thinks that Riley is worth an Ellerbe contract the Redskins could wish him well and move on to other options.

Quick Links

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

Quick Links

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.