Although there wasn't any doubt here that the 'Skins visit with Russell was evidence of nothing interesting, Joe Gibbs made that point official scripture per Mark Maske and this morning's Post:
Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell made a pre-draft visit to Redskins Park yesterday, but Coach Joe Gibbs
cautioned not to read too much into it...
...NFL teams generally meet with as many draft prospects as they can, and club officials said their meeting with Russell was nothing more than making sure they prepare properly.
"It has nothing to do with Jason," Gibbs said. "We brought in every player in the first round, just about. . . . You're doing your homework. You're doing your due diligence. . . . We feel like we're set at quarterback."
Nothing to see here folks.
PFT brings up an additional, related point. Quality face time with potential stars is never a negative, even if they don't end up as Redskins:
For the Redskins, who typically add most of their new players via free agency, it doesn't hurt to bring these guys in and show them a good time at a first-rate facility...
So now Russell and the other guys who came to Redskins Park and are later drafted by someone else will become unwitting ambassadors for the organization. NFL players spend plenty of time with each other in the locker room and on the practice field; the 30 guys who came to town in 2007 could end up saying very positive things about the organization in front of teammates who are coming up for free agency in 2008.
Interesting point. That's a fairly subtle advantage but one that no doubt partially influences players in free agency, though probably not nearly as much as the contracts we offer. But a more explicit and direct benefit also exists:
In four years some of the players who came to town now will become free agents, too. And if, as we suspect, the 'Skins roll out the red carpet (and the pink shrimp) for the incoming draft picks, those guys will remember fondly their trip to D.C. when the time comes to pick a new team.
I don't know how many actual examples there are of this, though if reader(s) can find any I'd be appreciative. Have the Redskins ever brought in a rookie for a look and then later signed the player in Free Agency?