- Between free agency and the draft, the NFL rumor mill is in full swing. When you hear the name of some teams bandied about in rumors this time of year, you feel like there might actually be something cooking (if the Patriots are sniffing around a player or a deal, it at least seems more legit). If you are a Redskins fan, you become accustomed to hearing your team’s name dropped in just about EVERY...SINGLE...POSSIBLE...deal being discussed. The Washington brass has learned over the years that Redskins fans are tuned in more during the offseason these days, because at least in the offseason, we don’t have to sit in a stadium full of Philadelphia and Dallas fans and watch our team underperform. Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen turn into Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne each spring. Instead of picking up every hitchhiker they pass, they insert themselves into every potential scenario in the hopes that it will distract from the reality on the ground. Like Sex Panther, the preferred cologne of Brian Fantana, 50% of the time...it works every time. Let’s distract ourselves with some of these rumors, shall we?
- With the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury, the Arizona Cardinals may be on the verge of letting the new coaching regime pick the quarterback they want to ride or die with, which means Josh Rosen may be riding elsewhere next year. A second-year quarterback that was drafted in the first round last year who could be on the move?!?!?! Enter the Redskins. As it turns out, the Redskins could use a quarterback, and there isn’t a tire worth not kicking when it comes to finding a solution. Trading for Josh Rosen would satisfy the key aspect required of any quarterback coming to town: relatively reasonable contract. Rosen’s cap number in each of the next three seasons is a hair below $5 million, which is very attractive. I was worried about the cost, but again citing rumors, one scenario has the Redskins sending a second round pick and Matt Ioannidis for the second year signal caller. I have to be honest...in a vacuum, I would probably do this deal. The Skins have youth and depth at DL, and Ion Man is in a contract year. The second round pick seems alright to include, and hey...we always include one in every deal anyway, so it kind of works. I still want to see what other options there will be—and what the cost of each would be—before I go and get Josh Rosen, but this deal seems to check some boxes for the Skins. You notice I spend very little to no time talking about the Arizona player’s game. On one hand, he is young and still has plenty of upside. On the other hand, the lights are about to be turned on in the club, and the Redskins aren’t exactly in a position to be going after the crème de la crème. Sorry...truth is truth.
- So there is one potentially logical pairing of two teams and a player that could net the Redskins an affordable option at quarterback. How about something a little less logical? Now that one of the best wide receivers in the league wants out of his town, you just KNOW the Redskins will be mentioned. Sure enough, with Antonio Brown demanding a trade, the Redskins are listed as one of three teams showing the most interest. I love the way that is phrased, by the way. Bruce Allen is “showing interest,” and word of it hit the street. Coincidence? Listen, besides the fact that Antonio Brown is still owed some serious dough, I have a real problem with this possible trade. Brown couldn’t keep his antics muted on a legitimate Super Bowl contender. You think he is going to come to town and all of a sudden be a boy scout with Colt McCoy throwing him the ball? Come on...he is an undeniable talent, but the Redskins can not afford to have him wreak havoc in a locker room with so many young players. Jay Gruden’s offense hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with deep plays, and we haven’t even talked about what it would take in trade to get Brown on our roster. I don’t want to talk about it, because trading for Antonio Brown would be stupid for the Washington Redskins to do. The part about this I really hate is how much it reminds me of every time the Redskins are mired in some terrible moment and Dan Snyder makes some colossally splashy move. It is pretty much the worst way to run a team, buying one “Kobe ring” after another to try and distract fans from reality. (I suppose it would be malpractice to leave unmentioned that Brown’s remaining contract terms are not really that onerous, but he is likely to demand another deal from whichever team trades for him, which just starts the countdown until the next tantrum.)
- It isn’t just free agent rumors we are all hearing. Who hasn’t heard of the “trade up to get Kyler Murray” rumor? Don’t even think about this if you are eating right now, as the last time we traded up to get a quarterback, it set off a vomit bomb that took six years to clean up after. Irregardless (regardless, even) of whether the Redskins won or lost the Robert Griffin III trade, I hated that trade then and I would hate a similar trade now. (Once we went and got RG3, I warmed up to the player in the early goings, but I was outspoken on how dumb the deal was at the time...in my humble opinion.) The Redskins have something good going in terms of young players up and down the roster. If the team already had a quarterback, you might argue about the worthiness of trading up for an impact player that could kind of complete the offense, but we currently only have three healthy quarterback legs...and get your minds out of the gutter people. Colt has two healthy legs and Alex Smith has one. Luckily, we are paying top dollar...at about $8/$9 million per leg this season, give or take. We owe Alex for two more years, so I have a hard time thinking we shouldn’t continue stocking the pond with young talent this year. I want the Redskins to emerge from the “Alex Smith situation” with as much talent as possible. The salary cap space we will get when Smith rolls off the books should be earmarked for a top-of-the-market free agent that can round out the hard work we are committed to this year and next. For that reason, I am not trading up for ANY quarterbacks in this draft/draft class (with the exception of potentially using one of our extra mid- to late-round picks to move up in a middle round for a guy we like).
- There has been a rumor that the Dolphins and the Redskins have discussed the possibility of a Ryan Tannehill deal. Sigh...it has even been referred to as the Tannehill Sweepstakes. Sigh...that is so sad. Ryan Tannehill is owed almost $19 million this year, which would mean the Redskins would have about $40 million wrapped up in two quarterbacks not likely to take the Redskins deep into the playoffs (Alex Smith and Tannehill). Even after the Dolphins cut Tannehill, which they will do if Bruce Allen doesn’t overpay for him first, his pricetag could easily be out of our comfort zone. We know this because guys like him get big money every year. Hell, Sam Bradford got $15 million in guarantees last offseason. I actually think Tannehill can play ball, but I am not even close to being interested in bringing him to Washington. Thankfully, Dan and Bruce have inserted themselves into the mix anyway. I would much rather have Teddy Bridgewater...ANOTHER free agent the Redskins have been “rumored” to be interested in, despite his own checkered injury past. That said, I think he might end up getting the best deal of all the free agent quarterbacks, which definitely puts him out of our price range. The one thing that I think the Redskins can possibly sell a guy like Bridgewater on is that the job really is for the taking, but the economics of signing a free agent at or near the top of the market are pretty bad.
- My least favorite rumor has the Redskins going with a low-cost veteran free agent this offseason. From a purely football fan’s point of view, this is so utterly uninspiring that I hate even writing it. Worse, this has defined the last 20+ years for Redskins fans. That time period is LITTERED with low-cost veteran free agent quarterbacks, and we have seen how that works. No offense to Tyrod Taylor, Josh McCown or Josh Johnson, but even Ricky Ervins would bump his head on the Redskins ceiling in 2019 if we went with one of these guys. I have said before I would roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick on our roster and I will hold to that, even though he isn’t that much different from the aforementioned guys. On a 1-year deal, the presence of Fitzmagic could actually be fun, and that is something we could all use. The fact is that we ALREADY have a low-cost veteran on our roster named Colt McCoy. Adding another one would cause zero people to renew their season tickets, or even think to try and show up to a game this fall at all. Of all the options in front of the Redskins, trotting out a low-cost retread would be pretty depressing, which is not how you get a fanbase out of an already well-established depression. I think the Redskins would be FAR better off pairing Colt McCoy with a draft pick that has a chance to contribute in 2019, whether he comes out of the first, second or third round. I understand people don’t think any of the guys going after the first round can play right away, and they are probably right...for most teams. Mark Sanchez played quarterback for the Redskins last season!!! He STARTED a game!! I would MUCH rather enjoy finding out about a low-cost draft pick if and when the time comes this season than knowing exactly what is about to happen if and when Josh McCown or Josh Johnson steps under center. We’ll pick up on this below and on tomorrow night’s show, live in the basement, on the Official Redskins Podcast of Hogs Haven: The Audible!
‘Tis the season for rumors to compete for headline space.