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Screwed Over or Smart Business?

March 21, 2017
The Redskins have lost three premier free agents since the 2017 league year officially opened.

In addition to that, the Redskins have allowed Duke Ihenacho to languish and apparently just told him that they do not intend to bring him back.

Washington also released Ricky Jean Francois because he crushed the organization on radio a few days before and he wasn’t untouchable like some others are.

The Redskins have made four additions to their roster in Terrelle Pryor, D.J. Swearinger, Stacy McGee  and Terrell McClain.

The three big names, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Chris Baker, present an interesting dilemma or question. They lost their two best wide receivers and their two best defensive linemen. 

Did the Redskins screw them or was it simply smart business?

My feeling is each situation is different and really the view is open to interpretation.

When it comes to Jackson, he doesn’t really care where he plays. He’s never been a team guy and never will be. He’s a hired gun who is really fast and can undress a defense.

He matured during his three years in Washington and said all of the right things for the most part, but despite a reported last minute push from the Skins, Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Bucs pretty quickly.

This was expected over the previous couple of weeks and it appears to be an ideal fit. Jackson also doesn’t have to pay state income tax on his salary which is a huge advantage compared to living in Virginia and the tax structure here.

Jay Gruden clearly liked Jackson over Garcon and that became obvious for several reasons, but it was surprising that Jackson didn’t seemingly get a whole lot of interest from the Los Angeles Rams (Sean McVay) or the Philadelphia Eagles (his former team).

The only mistake that I can see when it came to Jackson is that the Redskins apparently did make an offer until the last minute. I have no idea what the hell their strategy was but if you want someone on your team, you don’t let them wonder and question if you want them.

The Redskins simply did not care about this and wrongly thought they had an advantage.

Was this a screw job or simply smart business? I don’t think it’s a screw job but it sure didn’t make sense, as I explained above. I would have to say that, if anything, it was smart business to walk away from a 30-year old receiver who has a bit of an injury history and wasn’t a hard worker or great teammate.

Pierre Garcon requested/demanded a trade early last season, apparently frustrated with his role or lack of downfield opportunities.

Who knows the exact truth, but Chad Dukes of 106.7 the FAN first reported the trade request and that was backed up by John Keim of ESPN.

Garcon and Gruden reportedly butted heads behind the scenes and even though Garcon went on a thousand-yard plus season, it was clear that he was not in the plans as February turned into March and in reality, even before that. Jackson was the only option to return. 

Besides the trade request and the friction between Garcon and Gruden, as I’ve consistently said since December and wrote about frequently here on Josh Doctson was a much more natural replacement for Garcon than Jackson.

Redskins 2015: Pierre Garcon (Week 4 vs. Eagles)
Photo Credit: Ed Sheahin/PressBox

This one was pretty simple. Oh and when you factor in that Jay Gruden calls a bunch of the shots, even before Scot McCloughan was fired, this was what you get.

In my opinion, this was simply smart business by the Redskins to not bring back Garcon – even though he’s the better football player than Jackson and Doctson is far from a sure thing.

The screw job element is absolutely 100% what the Redskins did to Chris Baker. "Swaggy" was their best defensive lineman for the last two years

It’s that simple. For the Washington Redskins to not make an official offer is a double middle finger salute to a success story that did everything the right way.

Baker worked his way from an undrafted talent than wound up at Hampton from Penn State to the 53, late in the 2011 season. He tore up his leg before the ink was dry on that transaction and rehabbed that off-season to make a small impact in 2012.

2013 brought on a bigger role and a contract extension heading into 2014. Baker, with very little help around him, consistently made plays and stood out. He’s versatile and was able to play the nose and a five-tech defensive end position. In Tampa, he’ll play in a 4-3 with the uber-talented Gerald McCoy.

Baker drew solid interest from the Seattle Seahawks before re-signing with the Redskins three years ago and then backed up the Redskins faith in him.

The buzz around Baker’s departure was that the Redskins felt he was lazy and perhaps had some bad work habits.

I don’t know if any of that is true, but his performance on game day, didn’t really back that buzz up.

Baker was terrific in the 2015 NFC East championship season. He was probably not as effective in the first half of 2016, but he was a force with limited help for much of the second half of 2016. (PFF) and other outlets ranked him as a hidden gem in the free agent class. PFF, which graded Baker an 82.2 overall (out of 100) and graded his deal with Tampa as an "A". 

The Bucs were among several teams who had significant interest and they inked Baker to a deal, much like they did Jackson.

Unlike Jackson, the Redskins made no effort to keep Baker.

I have no problem if they made a business decision to value him at a certain number with limited desire to improve the offer, but as we know, they DIDN”T MAKE ONE!

Perhaps, new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula did not like Baker. Maybe it was new coordinator, Greg Manusky, who was on the staff last year.

That’s reasonable, but I’m not sure how they didn’t view what Baker had done over the last several years as something to reward or build on.

I can’t say that the Redskins never value their own. They did sign Jordan Reed, Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan to contract extensions and have kept Kirk Cousins dangling at a hefty price tag.

They do reward who they want to reward and spent huge money to bring in Josh Norman last year.

The only reasonable thing I can think of is that Tomsula’s defensive line in San Francisco seemed to be more conservative and less free-lance in their approach and perhaps, the new defensive staff did not like what they saw in that regard?

It would be nice if the Redskins made somebody available to talk to the media from the coaching staff, but they’ve chosen to remain silent.

That’s their choice. My choice is to say they screwed Baker over. A guy who seemingly did most things the right way, was shown the door and kicked to the curb.

He won’t say it, but I’ll say it for him. The Redskins not only screwed Baker, but they’ll pay for their mistake when he racks up 6-8 sacks this year in Tampa.

They let a guy dangle who was great in the community and always a good representative of the franchise. That’s their choice and I hope for their sake, they know what they are doing.

It’s not smart business to kick somebody in the onions after they did almost everything the way you are supposed to do it, yet that’s what the Redskins did. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Sports Network ( & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN