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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

The offseason continues in earnest for the Redskins, as the organization weighs the benefits of making a splashy draft-day move versus taking talent that can contribute immediately.

Washington Redskins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
  1. As mock drafts take over the world, to the terror or delight of the masses depending on the fan, the “will-they-or-won’t-they” game rages on. At the center of the game this spring is the Washington Redskins front office, and the question surrounds their potential to trade up for one of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. Before we debate further, let me just say that I hope we DO NOT TRADE UP FOR A QUARTERBACK. Because I don’t see any of the top-ranked quarterbacks in this draft as “savior” types, I don’t believe any franchise can justify deploying a ransom’s worth of resources to land one. Please don’t accuse me of being some over-the-top Case Keenum fan who thinks that the journeyman is our answer under center. (That said, I DO think Case will start the most games for Washington this season.) While the Redskins are certainly in the market for a young quarterback-of-the-future, I don’t think the Redskins are so desperate that they have to force the move. Part of the rationale there is that we have three quarterbacks under contract right now—the irony that one of those quarterbacks (the highest paid one) will likely never play again is not lost on me. Between Colt McCoy and Case Keenum, the Redskins are covered in the “professional quarterback” department. The Hall of Fame is not readying busts for either guy, but both can walk and chew gum in an NFL offense (blowing bubbles...maybe not so much). Assuming for a moment that the Redskins can get to the end of the season with at least one of the aforementioned quarterbacks standing upright, I would be all over bringing in a middle-round quarterback to coach up. These kinds of players are one-and-done in my eyes. Draft them, watch them work for a full year and then keep or cut depending on what you see and what you like. You can always repeat this process every year until you find a gem. Once you drop a first round pick on a quarterback, it’s over. You are in a long-term relationship. So, aside from my initial plea to not trade up, I will suggest that the Redskins are not in a good place right now to start a long-term relationship with another quarterback. Besides the fact we are ALREADY in a long-term relationship with someone (Alex Smith), the Redskins need to maximize the value of that first round pick from a salary cap perspective. Given that we could potentially land a starting edge rusher who would make as much in four years as some top veterans are making in one year—and given we are in need of an edge rusher—the Redskins need to go this route.
  2. Throughout Dan Snyder’s stewardship of the Redskins, the team has tried to make it seem like it was always one player away, and that the Super Bowl was always just one move away from being a real possibility eventuality. Clearly, this has rarely—if ever—been the case, and it is not the case now. My bigger goal for this team is get to the point of being a “winning organization,” which is one that can rattle off between nine and eleven wins a year for a sustained period. Continuing the youth movement of defense (read: getting faster) and building the offensive line are bigger priorities for me than throwing a rookie quarterback into the fire. If you do those other things right, you are able to get far more out of a young gun. The quarterback discussion doesn’t end today, but I will say that if you are an NFL team that’s head-over-heels in love with a top quarterback prospect, you should do what you can—within reason—to get that player. I don’t think there is a first round quarterback that the team feels that way about, and if that is true, the Redskins should not force it.
  3. Please read this next one carefully, as I am NOT begging the Redskins to trade Jordan Reed. Instead, I am answering a question I get a lot, which is, “WOULD you trade Jordan Reed?” In short, yes, I would. The first rule of trade discussions on this site over the years has been that you have to be willing to trade something of value to get something of value. Jordan Reed was our leading receiver in 2018 and is just about as good as they come in terms of receiving tight ends. He doesn’t block that well, but he is a guy you want out running routes. The Redskins need Jordan Reed. Trading him would have some very immediate consequences, but if the team were to trade Jordan Reed after June 1st, there would be a $1.8 million dead cap hit in 2019 and a $1.8 million dead cap hit in 2020, freeing up about $7 million of cap in 2019. You might be asking what I would do with that cap savings in 2019. I wouldn’t do anything with it—I would roll it forward into 2020. Keeping in mind that the Redskins could add some serious talent in the first three rounds of this draft, the haul we could get from trading Reed plus the salary cap space we could create moving forward could be compelling. I want to watch #86 catch passes in a Redskins jersey as much as any of you, but when I saw that Rob Gronkowski had retired, my first thought was that Jordan Reed’s trade value just went up. This is the kind of move I think would set the team up to emerge from the Alex Smith situation with a little momentum. Perhaps it would create a little drag in 2019, but if our goal is to become a winner and not to convince ourselves that our window to win a Lombardi Trophy is right this second, perhaps this is something that a general manager might chew on.
  4. The Redskins have other trade chips that aren’t quite as valuable as Jordan Reed, but that still have significant value. For the first time in a long time, the Redskins might actually be incredibly deep along the interior of the defensive line. In addition to Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne, the team also has Tim Settle and Caleb Brantley headlining their 3-4 set up front. I would never use the word “expendable” when speaking about Matt Ioannidis. He has been more “indispensable” than anything for us when he’s been healthy. Again, with the idea that you can’t entice a team to engage in trade talks unless you dangle something of value in front of them, Ion Man is valuable. He is entering his age-25 season on the last year of his contract, making about $2 million. The team has done well identifying and coaching defensive linemen over the last few seasons, and if we believe that Ion Man is going to get paid more than we can afford in free agency, it might be worth flipping him for a pick now.
  5. I hate talking about trading players I love, but it beats talking about trading players nobody else in the league would ever touch (which is kind of what most fans want to talk about most of the time). Let’s keep going deeper into our series of players that can and likely will provide a great deal of value for the Redskins in 2019, having already covered Chris Thompson and Brandon Scherff. Today, I give you Jeremy Sprinkle. The 24-year old tight end is entering his third season with the Redskins, and he showed flashes of being able to contribute as both a blocker and a receiver last season. His contract pleases the eye, as he is due $645,000 in base salary this year with a cap hit just over $700k (in 2020, his cap hit climbs to about $800k). He played in all 16 contests last year—which is something we are not used to seeing from a tight end. I am NOT saying this guy can just go out and do what we see Jordan Reed do, but I am saying he has a chance to grow into a more prominent role in the offense. If that is true, he should have every chance to return well above the $700k of value to the team he represents. Sprinkle is the perfect example of a player a team like the Redskins needs to get something out of—especially in a year when $20 million is being paid to a guy who is...never...coming...back.
  6. In the offseason, I will continue to use #6 to try and lure you Facebook folks over to our YouTube channel. I know that some people are still unaware that The Audible has moved over to Google from Facebook, but if you were ever joining us on Tuesday nights in the basement, we continue to get after it on a weekly basis. Check us out on our YouTube channel, and be sure not to miss the official Redskins podcast of Hogs Haven! You never know who is going to show up in the basement, or what references will get dropped, but you can always be sure to see the contents of a whiskey bottle disappear.