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The 5 O’Clock Club: If Jay is gone, what should happen to the Redskins’ 2020 free agents?

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Washington Redskins v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club is published Wednesday to Saturday during the season, and 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.

Twenty-one players who are currently under contract to the Redskins will become free agents at the start of the new league year if they aren’t re-signed or extended.

Free agency decisions are usually fairly straightforward, with a limited number of surprises, but the decisions on a few players (notably quarterbacks and running back Chris Thompson) may be a bit harder to project if Jay Gruden fails to surprise, and gets fired sometime between next week and “Black Monday”.

While the Brandon Scherff situation has been thoroughly discussed on more than one occasion, I thought today might be an opportune time to begin to think about the other 20 upcoming free agents, and how they should be handled by the front office.

I have put the 21 men into three categories that represent my current thinking about each player.

Re-sign him

Brandon Scherff - the talented offensive lineman should be the #1 priority for a 2020 contract.

Ereck Flowers - I can’t believe I’m saying it, but at this point, why not? He’s probably the best left guard we’ve had since at least pre-Shanahan. Ooof.

Deshazor Everett - Everett is more of a ST player than a safety. He is currently special teams captain. He plays an important role and isn’t likely to be expensive. Keep him.

Caleb Brantley - He’s the 5th D-lineman, and still will be next season. He’ll be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) in 2020, so the Redskins can keep him around with a fairly affordable contract tender. Unless his injury appears to be long-term, I’d bring him back on the one-year RFA contract.

Robert Davis - I’ve been surprised that Davis hasn’t had more of a role in the Redskins offense, but he’s a talented special teams guy and, like Brantley, he’s an RFA in 2020. The team should retain him for at least a year on an RFA tender to see what the likely new head coach thinks of him.

Cassanova McKinzy - Aside from his unfortunate injury history, I’d say that Cass McKinzy is a no-brainer. He is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) in 2020, meaning that it is easy and economical to retain him. I’d say he’s earned another season to prove that he belongs on an NFL roster.

Let him go

Vernon Davis - If Vernon is ready to retire, I’d wish him good luck on his future career. If he wants to stay in the NFL and will play for a vet minimum contract, then I’d keep him. No way would I advocate to keep him on any other terms.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - He never should have been signed. Don’t repeat the mistake. Let him retire (again).

Colt McCoy - If Jay is gone, Colt is gone. If Jay somehow survives into the 2020 season, I’d still advocate for Case over Colt. I’m talking about what I would do, not trying to predict what Jay would do.

Donald Penn - As happy as I am to have Penn here to put a band-aid on the LT spot, I don’t want to be relying on him next season. We need a young free agent or a first-round pick to replace Penn, who is already old and out of shape, whether Gruden survives or not.

Tony Bergstrom - I’m hoping that Ross Pierschbacher is ready to make Bergstrom obsolete in 2020. If not, the team could use another draft pick on a G/C. I appreciate the number of times Bergstrom has gone into games and played, but John Sullivan, who preceded him at backup center, was much better. Bergstrom is replacement level, and will have even less value than he does now if there is a coaching change.

Aaron Colvin - I’m kind of bothered that the Redskins didn’t have enough DB depth to get by without signing Colvin this year. If we still need him next year, that would be a huge roster disappointment.

Noah Spence - He’s merely a temporary band-aid while Caleb Brantley is injured.

Teyvon Hester - This is the guy you keep instead of Noah Spence, except that we can probably draft a 6th round player instead.

Wendell Smallwood - I’m not really sure why the Redskins picked him off of waivers this season. He’ll be a cheap depth option, but a 5th round draft pick should be able to do the same job for half the money.

Jerome Cunningham - Jerome Cunningham is what happens when you try to get cute with JP Holtz and his roster spot. This guy can be replaced by a late-round draft pick or quality UDFA.

Josh Woodrum - Woodrum was only ever a camp arm. He’ll get a year’s salary out of the ‘Skins to do rehabilitation. That should be enough to bring his Redskins career to an end.

Myles Humphrey - depth player who, like Woodum, hit the lottery and ended up on IR instead of cut. He shouldn’t be back.

It depends

Case Keenum - Dwayne Haskins is the future, but we all know how hard it is for a new QB to learn Jay’s offense. If, by some miracle, Jay survives to return as the coach in 2020, then I’d try to keep Case as a backup who can run Jay’s offense. If Jay gets fired and we’re starting from scratch, I’d rather do it with another young quarterback instead of a guy like Case or Colt. If Case leaves Washington, he is likely to be a qualifying compensatory free agent, and could return a 2021 draft pick to the team.

Chris Thompson - I like CT, and through three games he has shown signs of the explosiveness that he had in 2017 before he broke his leg. He seems to be a devoted Redskin who wants to be here. Unlike Vernon Davis, I don’t think CT is ready to retire. If he wants to stay in DC and play on a low-dollar one-year deal, I’d keep him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go wherever Jay Gruden goes. If CT isn’t re-signed with the Skins, he may qualify the team for a 7th round compensatory pick.

Jon Bostic - I think Bostic is just one more “band aid” veteran for the ILB spot. Reuben Foster may be healthy in 2020. Cole Holcomb will be a relatively experienced second-year player. SDH will be in his 3rd season. And then there’s the draft. I’m assuming at this point that Bostic will move on in 2020, but if he sticks around on a cheap contract as training camp competition, I’d be okay with that.


What happens to Ereck Flowers in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    He’ll be playing for the Redskins
    (853 votes)
  • 12%
    He’ll be playing for a different team
    (127 votes)
  • 4%
    He’ll be "out of football"
    (45 votes)
1025 votes total Vote Now


Which of these three would you most like to se the Redskins re-sign?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Caleb Brantley
    (149 votes)
  • 40%
    Robert Davis
    (395 votes)
  • 44%
    Cassanova McKinzy
    (435 votes)
979 votes total Vote Now


Which one of these guys is most likely to be on the Redskins roster in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Vernon Davis
    (48 votes)
  • 2%
    Colt McCoy
    (28 votes)
  • 22%
    Case Keenum
    (234 votes)
  • 5%
    Donald Penn
    (59 votes)
  • 1%
    Tony Bergstrom
    (13 votes)
  • 54%
    Chris Thompson
    (572 votes)
  • 9%
    Jon Bostic
    (103 votes)
1057 votes total Vote Now