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Redskins Making a Big Mistake?

February 28, 2018
The Washington Redskins are far from perfect. That’s obvious. They’re in a league where everybody makes mistakes. That’s evident.

What isn’t easy to see is why the Redskins haven’t been able to figure “it” out.

Many blame it on Dan Snyder and that is the one constant synonymous with a lack of sustainable success. Recently, you certainly can point the finger at Bruce Allen, who runs the show.

Whatever the reason, they haven’t been able to figure it out when many others have. Clearly, teams like the Browns have not. But almost everyone else has had brief to consistent moments of success on a more regular basis than the Redskins have over the last quarter-century.

Hopefully, they figure it out soon. I see things very differently than they do and that’s why I am almost always at odds with their philosophies and business practices.

There are plenty of times I agree with them. I do think they did the right thing going with Alex Smith over Colt McCoy and a rookie. I do think that Smith offers them a slight upgrade in some key areas over Kirk Cousins. They made smart moves in bringing back Mason Foster and Quinton Dunbar.

The Redskins do some things well. They have been relatively stable on the field for the last three years, while still dealing with a lot of drama behind the scenes.

The problem is this: The Redskins version of stability is what other teams define as average or mediocre. They absolutely need to step up their overall performance and evaluation a big, significant notch.

One way to do that? Doing a better job in free agency.

Last year, the Redskins brought in six notable players via unrestricted free agency. Through one year (granted a short sample size), the Redskins went (2-6) or hit on 33% of their acquisitions.

Zach Brown and D.J. Swearinger were “hits” while Terrelle Pryor, Brian Quick, Stacey McGee and Terrell McClain were all disappointing in terms of overall impact.

That’s not to say those four did not make an impact in a game or two but there’s nobody that I’ve been able to find that think any of those four guys had even a “fine” year.

Brown, Pryor and Quick are all free agents and all three could be elsewhere in 2018. The only one of the three that the Redskins are believed to be interested in bringing back is Brown, who missed the final few games of the season.

I have no problem with wanting to bring back Brown. His speed and athleticism is much needed. However, it appears, as expected that he wants too much money for a player with some huge flaws.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reported on Wednesday that Brown is focused on a big pay day. “My understanding is that Brown wants to be compensated like a top 3 ILB.”

If this is true, on the surface, I wouldn’t bring Brown back at that rate and I would agree with the Redskins if they let him walk.

Per, the top three 3-4 inside linebackers ( C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier, Deone Bucannon) are all on the books for the Ravens, Steelers and Cardinals to have a $8.718 base salary as each have had their fifth-year options executed for 2018. Shazier will likely miss the entire season due to injury.

Luke Kuechly’s base salary for the Carolina Panthers this year is $7.6 million with a $13.1 million cap hit as part of a long term five-year, $61.8 million-dollar extension in September 2015.

Brown signed a $1.55 million base contract with the Redskins with another $1.0 million in bonuses and more based on incentives.

Here’s the problem: If Brown and his agent want the same or more on an annual average value than what Mosley, Shazier and Bucannon are making ($8.7 million) on a three or four-year deal, I can’t fathom the Redskins going there, especially after re-signing Foster earlier this winter. 

If we’re talking a one-year deal, while it still might be high, I could see the Redskins swallowing that somewhat bitter pill.

Anderson apparently clarified her earlier tweet on ESPN later Wednesday, via my pal Andrew Livingston, that the Redskins and Brown were talking about a deal between $7.5 to $9 million per year during the season, but she reportedly added that Brown is looking for $10 million.

Assuming this is all true, and I have no reason to think it’s not, that’s Bobby Wagner money. Wagner, is scheduled for a $10 million base salary and a $13.6 million cap hit in 2018.

Wagner is the top inside linebacker in the NFL per metrics and will be a free agent after 2019.

So in a nut-shell – Brown and his agent essentially want around $10 million per year, presumably on a multi-year deal.

As with the Kirk Cousins contract debate, the numbers are not exactly comparable to deals that were signed a few years back (Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson) so it’s not fair to do the same to Brown.

He wants Wagner money and much better than the other inside linebackers, even though he’s clearly not better than Wagner or Kuechly. He’s a free agent at the right time and the market usually only goes up.

He has a right to ask for that, but that money for one-year or a multi-year commitment should not come from the Washington Redskins.

Sorry, but I can’t pay even close to $10 million per year for a player that struggled in pass coverage all year long and cannot call the defense, as of right now. That’s been the knock-on Brown throughout his entire career. He’s regarded as more of an athlete than technician, which is fine, but in my eyes, it makes him not worth it.

I would be very surprised if Brown gets anywhere close to $10 million per year, but I could be totally wrong. All it takes is one team.

The Redskins seem prepared to wait out the market, as they should, and see if Brown comes back to them if he realizes quickly that his price tag is too high.

If he does and the Redskins can get him on a significantly lower AAV (6-7 million), then they should do a multi-year deal in the three-year neighborhood, but I wouldn’t do more.

If Brown comes back to them and wants a higher figure, then if I were the Redskins, I would be willing to consider a one-year deal at the $8.7 million the other big three are scheduled to make in 2018.

If not, the Redskins cannot be blamed in my eyes. Brown is hard to replace but he’s not irreplaceable.

There will be many Redskins fans and media that will be upset, but for whatever it’s worth, I’ll have the Redskins back. That’s something that doesn’t happen often, but when they do good, I’m more than happy to pat them on the back

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, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN     .