The Redskins added players they hope improve their third-down defense (keep in mind, two years ago they were good in this area), from linebacker Zach Brown (coverage skills) to rookie lineman Jonathan Allen (interior push). But there are still multiple questions: How long will it take for Allen to make an impact? Will Junior Galette, who missed the past two seasons due to Achilles tears, recapture his talents? When? Will linebacker Preston Smith progress? If not, will Ryan Anderson replace him and how effective will he be right away?
In the NFC East alone, the Redskins face top receivers such as Odell Beckham (New York), Bryant (Dallas) and Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia). Norman traveled with all three in various games last season and has made his opinion of the first two loudly known -- again -- this offseason. Norman also was clear last season that he wanted these assignments.
It’s a temporary situation. Let’s say that the Redskins hang on to Cousins with a long-term deal and he has a $22 million cap number in 2018. If that the case then Cousins, Norman ($17 million), and Williams ($13.9 million) would still be the top three players on the cap number list and they would total $52 million. On a cap that is projected to be $178 million that would be 29.2 percent of the total. That’s still on the high side but certainly manageable.
Surely the Redskins coaching staff understood Brown's positioning prior to his signing, and perhaps that's why Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has been creative in his rotation with Brown, Compton and Mason Foster during OTAs. All three will play this fall, and it seems the linebackers could be quite interchangeable. Brown explained that once he is up to speed in the defense, which should come by training camp, he'd be comfortable leading the huddle too.
Jamison Crowder - The emerging slot star is just in the third-year of his rookie deal, and considering he was a fourth-round draft pick, that means the Redskins are getting a steal. Likely Scot McCloughan's best pick as Redskins GM, Crowder combined for more than 1,400 receiving yards his first two seasons in the NFL, and is poised for his first 1,000 yard season this fall. With a salary of about $750,000 for 2017, Crowder delivers exceptional value for Washington.
"With that experience comes confidence and I think he’s more confident with every rep that he takes, with every path, with every course that he takes at running back, with his protections, with his routes," he said. "Now it’s just natural to him. He can be a runner and he’s very gifted in that regard as far as finding holes and running through people."