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Need to Know: Redskins start free agency on a slow roll

Mar 11, 2015, 6:02 AM EDT

Stephen-Paea-sideline

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 11, 50 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Redskins are slow rolling free agency

When free agency opened in the past the Redskins were frequently among the first to dive into the pool with a big transaction or two. That was not the case on Tuesday.

With trades and huge signings going on all over the league, the Redskins just dipped a foot into the shallow end and tested out the water a bit. They finalized what they had nailed down on Monday when they had agreed to terms with Bears defensive lineman Stephen Paea. But while they stayed on the phone and lined up some visits they were in no rush to hand out huge contracts to players who might sell a few jerseys but would not help the Redskins achieve their goal of becoming a perennial playoff contender.

It’s apparent that there is a new sheriff in town. Scot McCloughan does this differently from how Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan, Vinny Cerrato, and his other predecessors.

Here’s a look at what happened yesterday:

Paea formally agreed to terms, although the team has not yet announced the signing. He will play all over the line, at 3-4 end, nose tackle and at tackle when they go into a four-man front. There were other teams in pursuit and he said he left some money on the table for a better fit in Washington. “Other teams were offering me a little bit more, but the way Washington would use me in their defense was the reason I chose Washington,” he said via John Keim of ESPN. “But whatever they feel that I would fit best, they’ll put me in there. I’m there to help, not only playing the run but the pass. I’m all for that.”

—They are continuing to look for help on the defensive line. Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton is set to come in for a visit according to multiple reports including the Twitter account of his good friend Chris Baker, who has be lobbying for Knighton to come to the Redskins.

—They aren’t ignoring the secondary. Perrish Cox, 49ers cornerback, is set to visit on Wednesday as well. He became a starter for the first time in his career in 2014 and he picked off five passes and knocked down 18. Cox could start alongside Bashaud Breeland, pushing David Amerson to a nickel role or possibly to free safety. The team needs to be very wary of Cox’s past which has a record of some very serious sexual assault charges in 2010 (he was acquitted).

—The Redskins re-signed safety Trenton Robinson, who could have been a restricted free agent but he wasn’t likely to get the $1.5 million RFA tender. He may not contribute much on defense but he is a key special teams player; last year he led the team with 15 tackles on coverage units.

—They could be picking up the phone to find a running back as news came out that third-down back Roy Helu Jr. had agreed to terms with the Raiders. The Redskins’ second-leading rusher in the past two seasons signed for a reported two years and $4 million. That’s not a huge contract by any means and an indication that the Redskins did not make keeping Helu a priority. Washington could try to replace Helu in free agency (they have been connected to former Ravens running back Justin Forsett), in a draft that is deep at the running back position, or from within with Chris Thompson and Silas Redd.

—Don’t be surprised if they lose another member of that fast-disappearing draft class of 2011 today. Leonard Hankerson is set to pay a visit to the Falcons and their offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. If Hankerson leaves only Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul would be left from the 11 players to Redskins picked in 2011. Jarvis Jenkins, the second-round pick in that draft, remains an unrestricted free agent who could return.

—Brian Orakpo isn’t completely out of the picture for the Redskins but he is off visiting other teams. First stop is in Tennessee and if nothing is finalized there he will head to Arizona.

Timeline

—It’s been 73 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 186 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 40; 2015 NFL Draft 50; Redskins training camp starts 141

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 6:24 AM

    Let’s get pot roast

    • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:27 AM

      I’d rather draft Danny Shelton

      • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:32 AM

        I agree. We could still sign him since we will be switching back and fourth to a 4-3 and 3-4… Then when hacther leaves he or pot roast can play end.. That would be a dominate line for at least the next 3-4 years if Sheldon pans out

      • thirdistheworrd - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        Agreed- but- if Dante Fowler is there, I think he’s the better pick. My move would be to after Dan Williams– less expensive and talented than Knighton, but still a true NT– if Fowler is there we would have a solid line (Paea, Hatcher, Baker/Williams) AND two Kerrigan-caliber pass-rushers. If Fowler’s not there, we grab Shelton and make the line even younger and more talented.

        • bowlregard - Mar 11, 2015 at 11:49 AM

          Dan Williams is going to the Raiders.

        • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 4:32 PM

          I do not understand the love with Fowler. His production is underwhelming for a rush DE/OLB.

          For crying out loud Danny Shelton @ 340 pounds has better production than Fowler.

    • ET - Mar 11, 2015 at 12:44 PM

      The more I read / watch, the more I think the BPA at the fifth pick can’t be Shelton. I prefer Eddie Goldman or Jordan Philips if they’re still available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds and the Skins are still after a mountainous NT.

      That said, I like Pot Roast. But the #1 priority should be upgrading the secondary.

      • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 2:23 PM

        The draft is weak in secondary talent. I’d love for their to be a CB or FS worth taking @ 5, but they just arent there.

        Pass rushers & defensive lineman are loaded in the top 20. The Redskins need to take BPA and I struggle to see how one of these players in the front 7 of the D won’t be one of the best available when the Skins pick @ 5, or even if they trade down 5/10 spots.

        I guess if you trade down 3-10 spots that brings Brandon Scherff, Trae Waynes, Landon Collins & Andrus Peat into consideration along with the pass rushers & DT’s though.

        • ET - Mar 11, 2015 at 4:00 PM

          I agree that the secondary options in the draft are less than satisfying at the elite level. I meant the Skins need to pick up a few decent DB options in FA.

          I also think front seven is the most logical choice at #5, but I no longer think Shelton is worth it. Personally, I like Fowler and Beasley, and if Williams is somehow miraculously available, obviously he’s the guy.

  2. abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    This is the 4th year in a row we haven’t been major players in free agency. Let’s hope it works in the long run.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 11, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      We wasted a lot of years on the “Big Splash Danny” method before that. It obviously didn’t work.

      Bottom line, this team has to do a better job drafting than it has, or it will remain feeble.
      ~

      • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        The draft is key. They can’t miss all over the place like Cerrato & Shanahan did

  3. abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Chris Russell said that Pierre Thomas wouks like to come to the Redskins. Lot Roast is visiting this weekend. Not only to talk contract but to attend Chris Baker’s Wedding.

    • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Apparently Dwight Freeney may come to the Redskins on a one year deal as a pass rush specialist. He played for Jon Barry for two years in San Diego and Russell said his brother teaches @ rockville HS

      • ET - Mar 11, 2015 at 2:16 PM

        Freeney’s pretty old (35?), but he seems to have held up pretty well. If Barry thinks he can still play, no reason not to take a look. A one-year contract with him could be a nice addition.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 11, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Pot Roast is going to cost a lot.

      On the one hand, we’d have a dominant front 3 for the first time since we switched to the 3-4.

      And on the other, those three would all be high-priced free agents.
      ~

      • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        In 2011 we had a good down 3, then they all got injured. In 2011, Bowen, Carriker & Cofield combined for 14.5 sacks

        • thirdistheworrd - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:44 AM

          Right, but now they’re old as heck and still not healthy. Paea is 26 and Knighton is 29, and Baker; who looked better last year than any of those three did in 2011; is 27. Everything worked better with this team in 2011, but now we have to regroup and rejuvenate.

  4. st4hof - Mar 11, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    Paea obviously signed for starting money… So as of right now what does the line up look like? Hatch, Paea, Baker? If Knighton signs, does he take NT and push Paea to DE and Baker to the bench?

    • bowlregard - Mar 11, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      The Skins will have one hell of a rotation.

    • ET - Mar 11, 2015 at 12:47 PM

      I think the plan will be to rotate the DL in and out a lot more, Seattle-style.

      • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:36 PM

        Yeah. I agree, and I like it. It’s like everyone will have a role. Some will be run stuffers, some will be pass rushers and we’ll rotate them in and out.

      • murphsman - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:07 PM

        Exactly

  5. Willbkill - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    I hate to lose Roy Helu but what I saw of Silas Redd last year was enough to convince me we’ll be okay if we give him a shot

  6. thirdistheworrd - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    The “acquittal” was a load of BS. Perrish Cox date raped and impregnated a girl in 2010– facts. And moreover, he suffered absolutely zero consequences in his personal life or NFL career. If we sign him we are abetting and enabling that behavior.
    Not OK.

  7. mr.moneylover - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Parrish cox was ranked the 7th best conerback in the Nfl for the first 7 weeks of the season before things just failed apart along with the 49ers organization with the rumors coming out…I totally agree with rich view of scot m. plan to build the team…SCOT M. IS NOT BUILDING A TEAM TO WIN A SUPER BOWL THIS YEAR BUT HE IS BUILDING A TEAM THATS GONNA BE RESPECTED

  8. mr.moneylover - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    Ppl have to realize its different 3-4 schemes …like a 3-4 eagle front witch may look like a 4-3 and its old school…joe barry scheme will be legit if he get the personal he needs…the players who sign is so impress wit joe barry scheme and wanna be part of it

  9. davem23 - Mar 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    will he be #92? Bad memories of Free Agents past.

  10. renhoekk2 - Mar 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Everything’s relative I guess. People are worried about Knighton costing too much. They have plenty of cap space and compared to the money they used to throw around it won’t be ridiculous type of money. It’s Danny’s money anyway. Who cares.? They need some difference making players on defense.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      True…except for the cap.

      Look what happened to New Orleans and now Denver when they got into cap trouble.
      ~

      • bangkokben - Mar 11, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        We are nowhere close the cap trouble, haven’t been since Vinny left – save for Mara’s $36M penalty. In a fiscally responsible organization to have cap trouble you’d have to have talented guys exceeding their contracts’ value. We haven’t had that either.

  11. brucefan1 - Mar 11, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    Can’t let Post Roast leave the building without signing a contract when he visits!!

  12. VK - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    The Skins used to make big splashes on Over the hill players who just wanted a paycheck. That is completely different then paying a little more for young talented players. So far we’ve gotten one player… but we need to add OL and secondary badly. Scott M is being a little too casual. Add the talent and let the coaches work to make the team Gel. A huge problem in the past was poor player development. That and drafting seem to be on track with Scott. But A little too gun shy in FA..

    • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      I don’t think he’s being too casual, I think some are being too impatient. The plan is to obviously not over pay nor give out long term deals with a lot of guarenteed $ and the plan is mostly to build through the draft.

      • VK - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:51 PM

        We overpay all the time..what do you think happens when we give more money to retain our own Free Agents? Top talent always gets overpaid as there are usually numerous suitors. We just kept overpaying Old washed up talent and the results were predictable. Revis, Browner, Buluga are worth the price.

        • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 2:01 PM

          We were never in the running for Bulaga or Revis. Newsflash to Redskins Nation not every free agent wants to come play here! Some, Bulaga & Revis like where they are or where they’ve been.

  13. mr.moneylover - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:36 PM

    I dont think scot m. will let pot roast leave without a deal today same as parrish cox…pot roast said he plan on making a decision very soon…redskins also want S Brandon browner ….if they can get all three these guys our defense will be great next year and if deangleo hall come back healthy thats a bonus for the team

    • mr.moneylover - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:40 PM

      Redskins are also high on Iowa O-linemen brandon S. even thought he pulled his hamstring at the combine…I wouldn’t be surprised if they draft him with the fifth overall pick

      • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:43 PM

        I’d rather them trade down than to take Scherff @ 5. Taking a RT/G @ 5 is about the worst positional value you can have.

        If trade back a few and then take an OL, that’s be good.

      • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        Wishful thinking at best.. Either pass rusher or qb it looks like

        • bangkokben - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:05 PM

          QB???! What??! Where’s your faith in RG3? You’re such a hater! ;)

          Before you respond, I am only trying to illustrate with absurdity how absurd most of your posts are.

          Personally, I’ll be terribly disappointed if we select a QB at #5. I’ll be pissed for two main reasons. First, because it will be the 8th pick the Redskins have used on a QB since Shanahan became President of Football Operations.
          2014 Rd1 Robert Griffin III
          2013 Rd1 Robert
          2012 Rd1 Griffin
          2012 Rd2 The III
          2012 Rd4 Kirk Cousins
          2011 Rd4 Donovan McNabb
          2010 2nd Rd McNabb.
          Secondly, if Gruden really wants a pocket passer; select a pocket passer! Not another spread quarterback.

        • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:23 PM

          First off I do believe in rg3, never lost faith but if you haven’t heard the reports out there. The skins might draft a qb. I don’t want them too, I’d rather see them go pass rusher

        • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:20 PM

          Agreed on all accounts. That’s how I feel

        • bangkokben - Mar 11, 2015 at 6:33 PM

          Do you ever read the whole post? Point is you came hard at me (and Cousins) when I said two weeks ago the coaches still like Cousins. A lot can change in two weeks.

        • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:05 PM

          I came at you saying cousins wasn’t going to start and I’ll end it there. Do I really think they (skins) will draft a qb in the first no but like I’ve said before I have faith in the STARTING QB period.

    • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Pot Roast will stay or go depending on the contract he demands.

      Brandon Browner is a CB, not a Safety

  14. kenlinkins - Mar 11, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Rich: What was the reason for all the high level trades on Tuesday? What has changed to cause all the movement? When was the last time you saw a starting QB for starting QB trade (Rams and Eagles)? Things happen for a reason in business and this is the Business season in the NFL! HAs anyone asked the Redskins new GM for his reaction?

    • bangkokben - Mar 11, 2015 at 4:39 PM

      Chip Kelly is the wild card.

      It’s like suddenly allowing you’re little sister into a serious game of Monopoly and she’s trading Boardwalk for two of her favorite color (Virginia & States). She doesn’t care that Joe has St. Charles and it’s mortgaged. Then she trades all the railroads for two yellow because they’re so pretty.

      Without Chip having control of the Eagles is this offseason that much different?

      • ET - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:16 PM

        Who knew ol’ Chip could be so entertaining? Not me.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:21 PM

      Going to the last part first, we’re not going to get to talk to McCloughan until sometime in the week before the draft.

      All the trades seem to be for separate reasons. Chip is redoing the team in his image. The Ravens wanted to get something for Ngata rather than cutting him for cap reasons.

      > > >

      • kenlinkins - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:40 PM

        Also been reading a ton about Redskins and Mariota (i.e Redskins could be drafting him, Redskins trading with Eagles for Bradford, etc etc etc). Does any off this have legs or has the shock of the Foles / Bradford trade made for a very silly start to the silly season?

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 11, 2015 at 5:59 PM

          I wrote about it this morning on CSN:

          http://www.csnwashington.com/redskinsblog/analyst-believes-redskins-will-draft-marcus-mariota-if-he-board

          And check this space tomorrow morning for more.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Mar 11, 2015 at 10:54 PM

          “Scot McCloughan has seen enough film on Griffin to conclude that he won’t ever become an effective NFL quarterback.”

          Interesting theory, Rich. I hope you’re keeping in mind that this is the same Scot McCloughan who drafted Alex Smith; and Alex Smith happened to do this in each of his first five seasons in the league:

          49
          92
          69
          92
          98

          Those are Smith’s ANY/A index numbers for each of his first five seasons. 100 is about average; 93 is about replacement level. Look at that third number in the list again; that’s not a typo. Does anyone think that Griffin in his third season stunk it up? Well, Griffin’s ANY/A index in 2014 was 89, over 247 dropbacks. Smith had 210 dropbacks during his 69 ANY/A index season — not much less than Griffin’s 247 dropbacks. So, Smith only had two replacement-level or better seasons during this stretch (Griffin has had two such seasons already). Also, Smith’s teams went 19-31 during his starts over this span.

          It’s amazing that McCloughan stood by this kind of production (or film, or record, or whatever you want to use here) from Alex Smith for four seasons and 40 starts — and likely for more than 40 starts if the Niners retained McCloughan for the 2010 season — and yet he allegedly feels this way about Griffin after watching what, *half* that number of starts from him (if you’re counting the 2013 season)? If so, then he’s either done a 180 on the “patience” approach when it comes to developing team-drafted players –especially at QB — or the theory you posited isn’t believable. This can’t be a performance-based decision.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 12, 2015 at 4:12 AM

          OK, I didn’t exactly say that, said it was a possibility.

          I am confident that McCloughan isn’t looking at numbers in his evaluation. He’s looking at film. The question is not what RG has done in the past, the question is what he can do going forward.

          And it’s entirely possible that McC was more invested in Smith since he was his pick. It’s also possible that he looks back and regrets that he stuck with Smith for so long.

          Lots of possibilities here including the possibility that he thinks that Griffin has a shot at success and the whole Mariota thing is a smokescreen.

          > > >

        • abanig - Mar 12, 2015 at 7:33 AM

          That’s all fine and good, but Mariotta isn’t the answer. The qbs in next years draft are better prospects for the nfl

  15. st4hof - Mar 11, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    The Mariota talk seems to be that just TALK.
    Teams (Jets) will be willing to give up just a bit more if they think that there is a possibility that Washington will actually take him. I do think Washington is in need a QB, ( or one to step up) but why replace Bob with a QB that is more then likely going to have the same problems adjusting to the NFL? Doesn’t make sense to me. This has to be smoke and mirrors IMO.

  16. st4hof - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    This Mariota business seems fishy to say the least. I’m not disagreeing that Washington needs a QB, (or one to step up) but why replace Bob with a guy the will basically have the same problems adjusting in the pros? IMO it’s just smoke and mirrors to put pressure on teams looking to trade up. (ie. Jets) They will have to sweeten the pot a bit more if they think there is a chance Washington isn’t bluffing.

    • st4hof - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:02 PM

      My bad rich.. didn’t realize that last one posted…

      • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:08 PM

        I agree.. I want them to trade back with the jets.. Get another pick and then draft a pass rusher

        • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:17 PM

          That’s what I want as well. Trade back 1 spot, pick up a 4th round pick and take Shelton, Beasley or Ray.

        • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:22 PM

          We think for the future lol.. But I won’t mind getting Sheldon.. I don’t care whst analyst say about him. He would be a stud on our dline for years to come. Image him, pot roast (if he signs) an pea.. That’s a good dline for at least the next 3-4 years. I also feel that with the pass rushers being so deep in the draft they can grab one then then work on getting depth in the defensive backfield and a rt wouldn’t hurt either

        • abanig - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:45 PM

          Buddy, it’s “ShelTon” with a “T” not a D! ;)

        • Stephfan - Mar 11, 2015 at 7:51 PM

          Lol spell check

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 11, 2015 at 8:40 PM

          I’d be thrilled if the Redskins had the opportunity to make a nice trade for more picks because Mariota is still there at pick 5.

          But realistically, the odds of that are low. Maybe the Titans don’t want him and nobody gives them a deal they feel is worth the 2nd pick.

          But then you still have two more teams who can either pick him or make the trade. Odds are, one of them will.
          ~

  17. st4hof - Mar 11, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    Word on the street (PFT) is that the Buccs may cut Goldson… I kno he isn’t that man he once was, but could be a cheap stop-gap player to hold the down the fort for a year or so.

    • abanig - Mar 12, 2015 at 7:36 AM

      Meriweather 2.0. Can the Redskins get a real safety up in here? One that can both cover, catch and tackle?

      • murphsman - Mar 13, 2015 at 2:30 AM

        “Both” cover, catch, and tackle? Learn how to count. Lol

        • abanig - Mar 13, 2015 at 6:41 AM

          It’s not a matter of counting. It’s a matter of me putting “both” and then when I was typing the things, I added a third thing they need to do.

          Don’t be a not picking dick. How bout focusing on actually what people mean in their posts?

  18. murphsman - Mar 13, 2015 at 2:38 AM

    So Rich, 2 questions about the Pot Roast signing. First of all, I assume this ends any minute possibility that we re-sign Neild. Secondly, and more importantly, how do you think this affects the draft strategy? Do you think taking Shelton is still a possibility? Or is there another NT that might be available in the later rounds we might take? Isn’t Knighton only on a one year deal?

    • murphsman - Mar 13, 2015 at 2:42 AM

      Ok I guess that’s technically 3 questions, one of which is a multi-step question. Lol

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