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The 5 O'Clock Club: Looking at the Redskins off-season to date, position-by-position

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NFL-Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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.

I thought I’d take a minute to re-cap the off-season from January to Day 2 of free agency by looking at each position group.

I have relied primarily on two sources for the summary below:

Depth Chart as of 1 Mar 2018 from Our Lads

Compensatory Pick calculation chart from OverTheCap

I have, in addition, relied on my memory. Mistakes and oversights will be due to my memory, and not the other sources of information.

Wide Receiver

Signed/re-signed: Paul Richardson, Brian Quick

Left (or remains unsigned): Terrelle Pryor

Left, then returned for store credit: Ryan Grant

So far, the biggest surprises have been:

  1. That the Redskins offered Brian Quick a contract, and that he accepted it. Personally, I am very pleased to see him back.
  2. That the Baltimore Ravens offered Ryan Grant a premium dollar contract. I think most Redskins fans were happy for him.
  3. That the Baltimore Ravens got buyer’s remorse, and voided Grant’s contract on the basis of a failed physical. I think most Redskins fans would be shocked to learn that the player who was healthy for 64 consecutive games in DC couldn’t pass a physical after driving 45 minutes north on I-95. I think most of us feel bad for Grant today.

The core group now appears to be: Doctson, Richardson, Crowder, Quick, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis

The team could draft a wide receiver, but shouldn’t feel any need to reach for one in the draft.

Tight End

Left: Niles Paul

The writing has been on the wall for a while for Niles Paul in DC. This is probably a good move for him.

The core group now appears to be: Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

Redskins could add a free agent TE, but more likely to draft a mid-to-late round TE as a Special Team & depth player.

Offensive LIne

2nd round RFA Tender: Ty Nsekhe

Left (or remains unsigned): Spencer Long, Shawn Laovao, Tony Bergstrom

Again, no surprises here.

The core group now appears to be: Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff, Chase Roullier, Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio

The Redskins have a glaring hole at LG. They may choose to address it in free agency, the draft, or both.

Running back

No change

The Redskins have lots of running backs under contract, and may even be able to trade one during the pre-season once injuries hit other teams.

Still, the team is looking for more dynamic production and will likely draft a running back in April. Most fans have drawn a bright red circle around the 2nd round.

The core group now appears to be: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Kapri Bibbs, Keith Marshall


Left: Kirk Cousins

Signed: Alex Smith


Left (or remains unsigned): DeAngelo Hall

WIth D.J. Swearinger in place at one safety, the question is about his partner.

  • Can Montae Nicholson stay healthy this year?
  • WIll Su’a Cravens return, or possibly traded for picks?
  • Will the Redskins make a move in free agency to upgrade the position?
  • Will the team use a draft pick to grab a free safety, possibly as high as the first round?

The core group now appears to be: D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Su’a Cravens, Deshazor Everett


Re-signed: Quinton Dunbar

Left: Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller (traded)

Clearly the Redskins weren’t planning to lose Fuller, but he was the player the Chiefs wanted, so he was traded away. The team has had Dominique Rogers-Cromartie in during free agency, so they clearly feel they need to make a move to replace him.

Breeland seemed destined to be gone for quite a while. With the 2-year extension for Dunbar and the drafting of Fabian Moreau last year, the team signaled its willingness to move on. I think the move to the Panthers is likely to be good for Breeland’s career, and I wish him well. I think this looks like good succession planning by the franchise at this position.

The core group now appears to be: Josh Norman, Fabian Moreau, Quinton Dunbar, Joshua Holsey

Whether via free agency, the draft, or both, the Redskins need to add a nickel corner, and probably another player for depth.

Outside Linebacker

Left (remains unsigned): Trent Murphy, Junior Galette, Chris Carter

Chris Carter was really a 2017 signing to cover for injury.

The team had a successful pass rush last year with Murphy on IR the entire season. The feeling among the fan base seems to be that the team needed to retain either Murphy or Galette, and it didn’t matter so much which one it was. Murphy has gotten an excellent contract that will pay him well and allow him to play in a base 4-3; I think that most Redskin fans would be sorry to lose him, but would also wish him well.

The core group now appears to be: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson,

Re-signing Galette now becomes a high priority in the opinion of most Redskin fans, I think.

Assuming Galette returns, with Preston Smith in the final year of his rookie contract, and Ryan Anderson not showing a lot in his rookie year, the Skins are likely to use a mid-round draft pick here this season, or face the need to use an early round draft pick for an edge rusher in 2019.

If Galette doesn’t re-sign, the Redskins will need to find a replacement via free agency or the draft with some real urgency.

Inside Linebacker

Re-signed: Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Left (or remains unsigned): Will Compton

I don’t think anyone really expected Compton to be back this season.

With Brown and Foster back, the Skins can line up Week 1, but they will likely look to the draft to improve the depth and overall quality of the position group.

The core group now appears to be: Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight, Josh Harvey-Clemons

Defensive Line

Left (or remains unsigned): Phil Taylor, Arthur Jones (retired)

Neither of these players was really significant to the Redskins in 2017 or expected to contribute in 2018.

The need here is to upgrade the Redskins horrible run stopping ability by upgrading the unit with a big bodied man in the middle who can play 3 downs, stop the run and get interior pressure for the pass rush. This means either signing a high-dollar free agent or using a high draft pick on the position.

The other option, of course, is to sign any Defensive Lineman the Cowboys let go of this off-season.

The core group now appears to be: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacey McGee, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier, Terrell McClain, (A.J. Francis)

Place Kicker

Re-signed: Dustin Hopkins

I had expected the team to let Hopkins stay on IR to the end of the season, and ride into 2018 with Nick Rose as the kicker. I was surprised when that didn’t happen.

I was also surprised when I read that he has been re-signed for $2.5m per year. The $2m per year premium isn’t for Hopkins’ abilities as a field goal kicker, which are merely average, but for his strong leg on kickoffs. Gruden’s conservative nature leads him to value a kicker who can negate the need for the special teams to tackle the opposing returner, and simply start the other team on the 25-yard line. Hopkins has escalators in his contract that allow him to earn even more.

If you can’t tell, this is a contract that I wouldn’t have written if I were in charge of the roster.


Signed: Sam Irwin-Hill (camp competition).

Tress Way honestly didn’t have a great season in 2017, following his 5-year contract extension in 2016. I look forward to seeing if he can hold onto his job in the face of competition.

Irwin-Hill, 27, was a member of the Dallas Cowboys last offseason, but was cut prior to the start of the season. He is originally from Australia and played college football at Arkansas.

Having lived in Sydney for over a decade, I like Australian punters, though Sav Rocca probably should have broken me of that.

Draft picks:

  • The Redskins have an extra 7th round pick from the trade of Derek Carrier to the Rams
  • The Redskins gave up a 3rd round pick in the Kendall Fuller trade to acquire Alex Smith

Compensatory draft pick status

Since it seems to matter this off-season. Per OverTheCap:

Salary Cap

At this point, salary cap numbers from OverTheCap and Spotrac are unreliable. OverTheCap lists Redskin salary cap space at $24.7m but:

  • Zach Brown isn’t listed
  • Alex Smith extension isn’t accounted for

Brown’s contract is big enough that there could be quite a lot of structuring in it, and the Alex Smith extension -- depending on contract structure — could either increase or decrease the amount of cap space available.

Until we get more information from the guys who do this for a living, I think it will be very difficult to have a clear idea how much cap space the team has available.


Which "position of need" would you most like to fill via free agency, rather than the draft?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    (113 votes)
  • 21%
    (151 votes)
  • 6%
    (44 votes)
  • 29%
    (209 votes)
  • 19%
    (133 votes)
  • 6%
    (47 votes)
697 votes total Vote Now


Which "position of need" would you most like to fill via the draft, rather than free agency?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    (54 votes)
  • 6%
    (39 votes)
  • 2%
    (12 votes)
  • 47%
    (276 votes)
  • 6%
    (40 votes)
  • 27%
    (156 votes)
577 votes total Vote Now