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Quick Snaps: Redskins Free Agent Frenzy??

March 15, 2018
The Redskins have been “officially” busy since the start of free agency and the league new year, Wednesday at 4 PM.

On Thursday afternoon, they brought back Zach Brown, first reported by J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington on a three-year, $24 million deal as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

They also announced officially the trade for Alex Smith, their new quarterback, as they completed a deal that was agreed to in late January and officially signed new receiver, Paul Richardson. 

Before his press conference on Thursday, Washington   trotted Smith out in front of the Redskins team cameras and had Smith issue a statement to their fans, along with a made-for-TV chat with good man and VP of Player Personnel, Doug Williams.

The team has yet to officially announce the contract extension that Smith reportedly agreed to for the Redskins to complete the deal. 

My pal John Keim of ESPN got some exclusive quotes from Jay Gruden about his new quarterback and what Gruden feels Smith brings to table.

With Smith’s arrival, Kirk Cousins officially leaves and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. I’m frustrated at what could have been and what was because I thought Cousins was a good to very good quarterback in a tough position, but I am also excited to see what Smith brings.

I hope that the Redskins reported addition of Paul Richardson allows Smith to have the kind of success he has had at times in his NFL career and especially last year in Kansas City.

The Redskins will be fine if they give Smith a lot of control at the line of scrimmage to check and audible out of bad looks and if they run a lot of the principles that the Chiefs and by extension the Eagles have run over the last few years.

The Redskins haven’t made a lot of news on the addition front outside of the Richardson agreement, because they are exercising caution and not blowing out their budget. Before the Brown contract, they had approximately $25 million left under their 2018 salary cap.

Washington visited and hosted former Giants corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but as of late Thursday afternoon, had not completed a deal with the veteran.

Washington also hosted Muhammad Wilkerson, before he signed with the Green Bay Packers.

The Redskins also had reported interest in a number of players that have already signed with other teams, including cornerbacks Aaron Colvin (who signed with Houston) and T.J. Carrie who signed with the Browns, per Grant Paulsen.

Washington could still target a veteran running back if they want to, as we suggested in this space the other day.

They still could and should be in the free agent market for a defensive lineman, like Bennie Logan (Kansas City) or a much pricier option in Sheldon Richardson also of Seattle. Richardson, was with the Jets in a base three-man front up until his trade to Seattle so he would fit with the Redskins. Dontari Poe, left Atlanta and signed a very nice deal with Carolina. 

Redskins fans, and I’m partially guilty of this too, would be ecstatic if the organization was able to land Tyrann Mathieu, who was released by the Cardinals due to salary cap reasons. Mathieu says his next destination is not about money, but he was let go in Arizona because he reportedly refused to take a pay-cut.

Still, I would be in favor of Washington rolling the dice here because Mathieu is young and versatile enough that Greg Manusky’s defense would receive a dramatic upgrade.

In addition to Paul Richardson, they re-signed veteran Brian Quick who was with the team last year and made six catches including a big one during the win in Seattle.  The team also signed some competition for punter Tress Way, signing Sam Irwin-Hill, who played college ball at Arkansas.

Washington also let a few players go, including most of their 2014 productive draft class. They are as follows.

Trent Murphy: The Redskins traded down with Dallas in the second round in 2014 with the Cowboys, who ultimately took DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence had 14.5 sacks in 2017 for the Cowboys.

Murphy (pictured above) had a solid career with the Redskins in 2014 and 2015. He broke out in 2016 with 9.5 sacks, but was then suspended for a PED violation during the off-season, which was served during 2017. Unfortunately for Murphy and the Redskins, he tore his ACL in the first preseason game of the year and was lost for good.

Murphy signed a reported three-year, $21 million-dollar deal with Buffalo, that could be worth up to $30 million.

Spencer Long: Long signed with the New York Jets, after starting at center and guard for the Redskins. He was a third-round pick in 2014, which was the pick that the Redskins got from Dallas in the Lawrence deal.

The Redskins have Chase Roullier to start at center but have a gaping hole at left guard.

Bashaud Breeland: The feisty corner signed a very good deal for the Carolina Panthers this week. Breeland’s overall talents and production probably exceed what he got paid, but the Redskins were tired of some of his antics.

Breeland worked hard and is quite bright, but his emotional immaturity got the best of him too often.

Still, the Redskins don’t have a very experienced option to replace him. Quinton Dunbar is a former wide receiver, who has been training and performing reasonably well on the job for the last three years. Fabian Moreau will also be in the mix.

Ryan Grant: Grant had his best year in the NFL in his walk year and as it turned out, he got rewarded by a desperate team in the Baltimore Ravens. That was before he apparently failed a physical and the deal was wiped off the books. Grant is a free agent again. He was a very good route-runner and usually reliable in catching the football but also had many flaws in his overall game, beyond his lack of speed.

Niles Paul: A fifth-round draft pick in 2011 under Mike Shanahan. He did it all and now will do it for the Jaguars. He was selected as a wide receiver and then moved to tight-end and also fullback at times over the last few years. He was also special teams ace and a leader. He probably wasn’t the same player he was after some very tough injuries, but if you talk about value and productive service, Paul rewarded the Redskins and more.

The Redskins still have not lost or brought back Junior Galette but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday morning that the team is currently negotiating with Galette. They have also re-signed Dustin Hopkins, Deshazor Everett and Dunbar.

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 (www.DCHotRead.com).  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN   



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