The Redskins addressed their most glaring need, quarterback, when they agreed to a trade for veteran signal caller Alex Smith; and then worked out an extension with he and his agent. This fills the vacancy that’s soon to be left when Kirk Cousins hits the open market on March 14th.
With their biggest need now filled for the immediate future, the organization can now shift their focus to re-signing our own priority free agents, negotiating with other teams free agents come March, and the NFL Draft.
The waters went from murky to clear in a matter of twenty-four hours, with the Redskins also getting major clarification about their future salary cap situation after the trade was accepted. Smith will count $17 million against the Redskins cap in 2018. It’s yet to be determined what his future numbers look like, but with an average of $23.5 million over the next four seasons (beginning in 2019), it’s pretty safe to assume the cap hit in the future will not come near what Cousins’ would have been if he were signed to a long-term deal.
Below is a look at the Redskins projected two-deep depth chart as things stand at this very moment. Gaps at either spot represent what I view to be future needs. You may see a few surprises in here as well.
QB: Alex Smith; Colt McCoy
RB: ____________; Samaje Perine
3rd Down RB: Chris Thompson
FB: Rob Kelley
WR: Josh Doctson; ____________
SLOT: Jamison Crowder
TE: Jordan Reed; Vernon Davis/Jeremy Sprinkle
LT: Trent Williams; T.J. Clemmings
LG: ____________; Kyle Kalis
C: Chase Roullier; ____________
RG: Brandon Scherff; Tyler Catalina
RT: Morgan Moses; T.J. Clemmings
DT: Jonathan Allen; Anthony Lanier
DT: Matt Ioannidis; Terrell McClain
1-Tech: Stacy McGee
EDGE: Ryan Kerrigan; Ryan Anderson
EDGE: Preston Smith; ____________
LB: ____________; Mason Foster
LB: ____________; Zach Vigil
Dime LB: Su’a Cravens; Josh Harvey-Clemons
CB: Josh Norman; ____________
CB: Quinton Dunbar/Fabian Moreau
Slot: Joshua Holsey
FS: ____________; Montae Nicholson
SS: D.J. Swearinger; Deshazor Everett
Based on this potential two-deep, I see some key areas the Redskins need to focus on in free agency and the draft.
Running Back - We need a starter. Rob Kelley should not be getting carries as a RB. If he wants to carve out a spot for himself on this team, it should be as a fullback. Last season, when we needed a fullback, Jay Gruden went to Niles Paul. That was a mistake.
I don’t think Perine is a RB1, but maybe he could surprise in his second year in the league. I still think running back needs to be a focus in this draft. A complete 3-down running back could take a lot of pressure off Alex Smith.
Wide Receiver - This is an area in need of both starters and key reserves. I wouldn’t mind the Redskins re-signing Ryan Grant for depth, but he should not be a starter. This is an area we should look to in free agency to find a WR1. I like Robert Davis as a developmental prospect, but I don’t know yet if he’s ready to take on a bigger role in 2018. Maurice Harris is a reserve at best.
Offensive Line - Left guard is in need of an up-grade. I’m still not opposed to re-signing Spencer Long, and letting either him or Roullier figure out the C and LG positions respectively. If Long is not brought back, I hope a quality free agent guard can be signed.
Defensive Line - I am still hoping an upgrade can be brought in either through free agency or via the draft on the defensive line. Getting Jonathan Allen back will be an upgrade in itself, but another impact defensive linemen will go a long way in helping the entire defense. I’m still not sold on the whole nose tackle idea, which is why I simply listed it as a 1-technique.
EDGE - An impact free agent like Ziggy Ansah would be a difference maker for this defense. Re-signing Trent Murphy and Junior Galette could be options as well if we can’t get a player like Ansah.
Linebacker - This is the area we are truly in need of a quality upgrade. Mason Foster is a nice reserve to have, but I have my doubts about him as a long-term starter. Zach Brown should be a priority re-sign, but even with him in the fold, another impact starter is needed for the long-term. I would look to the draft to find this player.
As for the dime linebacker role, I would hope Cravens can play there if/when he returns. Harvey-Clemons is still a bit light, but he has potential if he can add some weight this offseason.
Cornerback - The loss of Kendall Fuller hurt this group. It will not be easy to find his replacement. Hopefully, second year corner Joshua Holsey can step into that position. We also need a starter opposite Josh Norman on the outside. The tandem of Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau may be able to get the job done. The team may want to seriously look at re-signing Bashaud Breeland.
Safety - Right now, I do not consider this team to have a true starter at free safety. I love the potential Montae Nicholson brings, but injuries derailed a very promising rookie career, and up to this point, he hasn’t proven he can stay healthy enough to be a major contributor. It would be wise for the Redskins to invest at this position in the draft.
Now that QB is set, what is the Redskins top priority this offseason?
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