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The 5 O'Clock Club: Reflecting on the official start of free agency

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NFL: Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Alex Smith

We can finally, officially, welcome Alex Smith to the Redskins. He will be introduced to the press locally on Thursday, and Jay Gruden, finally unshackled from ‘tampering’ rules, spoke about him on Wednesday and called his signing a ‘no brainer’.

I’ll be back with a 5 o’clock club post about the Fuller-for-Smith trade before the month is out, after we know the details of No. 11’s contract extension.

Having been announced prior to the Superbowl last month, the final accomplishment of the trade felt anticlimactic.

Brian Quick

I was personally both surprised and pleased that Brian Quick returned to the Redskins. He made that one great catch against the Seahawks last year that got me excited about him, then was gone from the game with a concussion. It felt like that play was going to be his sole highlight from a very short Redskins career.

Writing a free agent profile about Donte Moncrief, who just signed a $7m per year contract, I said:

The Redskins have a reliable passer in Alex Smith , a good offensive-minded head coach in Jay Gruden, and a stable of pass catchers at RB, TE and WR that simply need a complement opposite Josh Doctson. There wouldn’t likely be a ton of pressure on Moncreif, who wouln’t need to be a #1 receiver in DC, but — frankly, if we’re looking for a guy like Moncrief — I’d personally prefer to bring back Brian Quick, who is basically the same receiver, and who already knows Jay’s offense, and flashed in the limited snaps he saw last year.

I, for one, and pleased to see him back in burgundy and gold.

Redskins cap space

OverTheCap says that the Redskins have about $28m in cap space at the moment, which puts us about in the middle of the 32-team league.

Most free agents lost so far

The Vikings, who watched 3 quarterbacks walk out the door this week in order to sign a former Michigan State Spartan and 2012 4th round pick, have lost a total of 5 free agents, including Jerick McKinnon and Trumaine Brock.

The Patriots have lost 4 quality players — Solder, Butler, Amendola and Lewis — without signing anyone yet.

The Redskins have lost the most veteran free agents to other teams so far, with six Redskins trading in their burgundy & gold for new colored uniforms. This is the most in the NFL so far.

The list of losses to date:

  • Bashaud Breeland
  • Ryan Grant
  • Trent Murphy
  • Niles Paul
  • Spencer Long
  • Kirk Cousins

Of course, Kendall Fuller was sent to the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday in return for their starting quarterback.

The only player signed to the Redskins from another team so far has been Paul Richardson, from the Seahawks.

Filling out the 2018 roster

While those numbers look great for compensatory picks in the 2019 draft, the Redskins still need to field a team in 2018. The franchise clearly has big needs:

LG, DL, ILB, OLB, CB, RB

along with a number of lesser needs (another safety, developmental TE, etc).

I’m hoping that at least two of those holes will be filled by guys like Zach Brown and Junior Galette, who — after checking out their value to the rest of the NFL — come back to the Redskins.

It seems like DR-C is still in play as a nickel cornerback. There is certainly a lot of fan enthusiasm for Tyrann Mathieu, who was cut by the Cardinals yesterday. If we can fill those three needs, then plug one more hole (LG or DL) via free agency, then the Redskins can go into the April draft with a decent plan for filling out the roster.

Speaking of compensatory picks

Here’s the situation as per OverTheCap as of Wednesday evening:

I doubt whether the Niles Paul contract will be big enough to qualify for a comp pick, so at the moment it looks like the Redskins would be in line to collect as many as 4 picks in next year’s draft (and 4 is the maximum that one team can be awarded).

That is almost certain to change before the July cutoff for gaining/losing compensatory picks. Heck, it’ll probably change by the weekend.

A few notable signings in the division

The Eagles

They really wanted Nigel Bradham back — enough that they restructured Lane Johnson, let Trey Burton, Patrick Robinson and Beau Allen walk without an offer, cut Brent Celek, and traded Torry Smith to create the cap space needed to sign him.

I’m not really sure where the Eagles are on cap space at the moment. OverTheCap has them listed as being about 900K under the cap, but the list of players doesn’t include Bradham’s contract, so I’m not sure how up-to-the-minute the calculations are.

Media reports say that the Eagles are shopping Mychal Kendricks, hoping to save $4.4m against the salary cap, which would be more than enough to sign their expected draft picks.

Like the Redskins, the defending super bowl champs will have a very different roster in 2018.

The Giants

New York made a huge splash by making former Patriot Left Tackle Nate Solder the highest paid lineman in the NFL. Meanwhile, they let Richburg walk in free agency.

They had an estimated $17m in cap space before signing Solder, so his contract will likely be the single biggest move they make prior to the draft, but they likely have room to add a couple more free agents this week, and I would expect them to cut Brandon Marshall sometime in the off-season or preseason. Frankly, I expected them to cut him on Wednesday; the only reason I can think for not cutting him is the hope that they might be able to trade him. Maybe I simply under-value him.

The Cowboys

Jerry Jones has been quiet, as expected. Dallas lost Anthony Hitchens, which was no surprise, and the Cowboys haven’t signed anyone at all.

OverTheCap says that the Cowboys currently have about $600K in cap space.

I suspect they’ll keep their powder dry until the draft, when they will have 10 draft picks to use in an effort to re-load the roster.

There are lots of stories out there about Dez Bryant either taking a pay cut or being released, but Jerry Jones is unpredictable and generally loyal to a fault with players like Dez.

Poll

Which of the following veteran free agents would you be most interested in seeing the Redskins sign to a contract?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Ndamukong Suh
    (43 votes)
  • 52%
    Tyrann Mathieu
    (318 votes)
  • 2%
    Danny Shelton
    (13 votes)
  • 26%
    Dontari Poe
    (158 votes)
  • 0%
    E.J. Gaines
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Eric Reid
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Tre Boston
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Jack Mewhort
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Tahir Whitehead
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
    (34 votes)
602 votes total Vote Now