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Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Feb 15, 2016, 5:02 AM EDT

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 15, 9 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

QOD: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Normally I limit questions to one tweet or Facebook post but Justin here had a couple of related tweets that brought out some related issues that I’ve been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer to Forte is simply no, I don’t see that happening. Scot McCloughan has said he stays away from free agents who are in their 30’s (exceptions made for players like Will Blackmon, who are needed as immediate injury replacements). And Forte is a high-mileage 30. He has 2,035 career rushing attempts plus 487 receptions. He is coming off of career lows in both rushing yards and receptions.

To be sure, those numbers don’t mean that Forte doesn’t have some good years left in them. Frank Gore is a few years older and had a good season in Indianapolis after coming in with over 2,400 rushing attempts and over 500 receptions. But I think that McCloughan will let another team squeeze whatever they can out of Forte and pay him the $3-$4 million per year it will take to sign him.

So will they turn to the draft? With Alfred Morris very unlikely to return and Matt Jones not yet ready to take the reigns as the workhorse running back, they do need a running back. Since McCloughan views the draft as “the lifeblood of the organization” he’s rather get one there.

But waiting for the draft is risky. If you go into the draft with a shopping list of needs you will almost inevitably leave with your needs unfilled and/or with a bad draft. It’s best available player; if it’s close between two players, of course, you go with the position where there is more need. But you’re relying on some good fortune there, hoping that players you need are the best available or close to it.

There are a lot of ways it can play out but here’s a scenario I see as most likely. McCloughan stands pat during free agency, letting players like Forte, Lamar Miller, and Chris Ivory find homes elsewhere. Then he sees if there is a good fit in the draft, somewhere around rounds 2-4. If he can’t find a satisfactory solution there he looks at the secondary free agent market for someone like Pierre Thomas.

If they go the veteran route then the leadership role that Justin mentions is taken care of. But if they go in the draft, it’s still not an issue. Darrel Young is the natural leader of the running back group.

What happens if Young, who will be an unrestricted free agent, is gone and the running backs are Jones, a rookie, Chris Thompson and perhaps Silas Redd? That’s why you have a coach in ex-player Randy Jordan who can lead the unit. A team that is rebuilding (and despite their achievements in 2015 this is still very much a rebuilding team there are going to be some areas where there just isn’t a natural leader, a mentor to show the younger players how it’s done.

In 2012, Morris came to the Redskins and the running backs were second-year players Roy Helu and Evan Royster and Young, who was in his third year. Despite the lack of a veteran to show him to ropes, I seem to recall Morris being able to get the job done pretty well.


—Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green was born on this date in 1960.

—The Redskins last played a game 36 days ago. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 9; NFL free agency starts 23; 2016 NFL draft 73

In case you missed it

  1. bk70 - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    I don’t understand…” And Forte is a high-mileage 30. He has 2,035 career rushing attempts plus 487 receptions. He is coming off of career lows in both rushing yards and receptions.” Why not keep Morris. Get him signed on a team friendly contract and draft a rookie to compete with Jones and Morris for starting position. That removes a lot of uncertainty in 2016.

    • colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 8:46 AM

      Sorry but Morris has serious limitations. Those limitations were worth overlooking for what he brought however. He used to be great at yards after first hit. He also is sturdy and keeps healthy, big plus. But he lacks in catching (honestly miss many catchable passes), not a great blocker, and horrible pass blocker for picking up blitz. It used to be easy to overlook those short comings when he had high average yards per run and yards after first hit. But with both of those in the toilet, not sure what you are seeing to keep Morris other than as a backup contingency.

  2. sidepull - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:47 AM

    First off I see Forte, at this stage of his career looking for a quick path to the Superbowl. In as much as hes probably looking for a great payday as well i just dont see him as a Redskin. Though the skills he has would benefit the Redskins, I say they wont bother. No I see him finishing up his career at a place like NE, or some other organization with a perennial playoff history. I think the chance for a ring is a difference maker for Forte.

    I also think that if Morris is not on the roster, Pierre Thomas is a very skilled back in his own right. He can block, run the heck out of a screen, catch the ball etc. He is already here. He provides veteran leadership.

  3. bk70 - Feb 15, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    Pierre Thomas is still north of 30 (age)…he was acceptable for mid-season pick-up, but not enough value beyond that. Once again, Alf makes more sense.

    • sidepull - Feb 15, 2016 at 7:47 AM

      I would never give up on Alf, but I have nothing to do with it. I dont have a job as an NFL scout or GM. PT is a vet. Not all vet leadership is young. Still looked good in the games he played in. Made me want to see him stick around. But not at Alfs expense.

  4. colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    I think we can easily develop Jones into our starter. Remembers Alf fumbled 5 times his first year as well. Not worried about the fumbles. They can fix that. We need dynamic, can turn the edge, can catch, can block, can pass protect and pick up blitz type back. Jones can provide all of that. All we need to do is pick up another speedster in the draft and we are fine.

    • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 12:43 PM

      Big difference. A lot more carries and he didn’t lose them all.

  5. colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    What we really need is a center and we will see the running change a good deal. I know, then everyone will say that is what held Morris up. And I get that. But Morris lost his greatest asset, yards after first hit. That is gone, and he lacks all the other areas we were willing to compromise. Get a high drafted center or FA and a 5/6 round RB and we are fine with Jones.

    • bk70 - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:07 AM

      If the GM selected a Ryan Kelly or Nick Martin early in the draft, do you think he would be get the start over Lichtensteiger the first quarter of the season? Redskins seem to take a long time to develop Centers. I think I’ve counted 10 centers on the roster since Trent Williams arrived. Even now you see more speculation of Spencer Long moving over to center rather than Austin Reiter stepping up since his 7th round selection in 2015.

      • colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:10 AM

        Agreed. If drafted high enough at center could start. I have heard about long. Might work. But we need center to replace kory.

      • thirdistheworrd - Feb 15, 2016 at 11:29 AM

        I’m sure hes a great guy, but I don’t see Reiter’s name is something we’ll see again after the end of this sentence. That said, this is not a great draft in general, but absolutely loaded with talent at center: Ryan Kelly, Nick Martin, Graham Glasgow (Michigan), and Max Tuerk (USC) all project to be starting centers and I trust Scot to be able to pick out the pro bowler from the bunch– hopefully as late as the third round. I don’t know how that affects an RB pick, but this is a great year to pick up our center of the future, and play the rest by ear.

      • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 12:47 PM

        If they select either of the guys you mentioned, then Lichtensteiger could be a cap cut. Maybe not right away but perhaps later like Chester last year. It depends on the development of others. Chester was presumably released due to the development of Spencer Long – who subsequently lost his starting job to the combination of Scherff and Moses.

  6. goback2rfk - Feb 15, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Forte?!?! An old 30 year old injury prone over priced RB.. No thanks!
    There is nothing wrong with Jones. He will get the job done just give him a chance.

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    I doubt if they’re letting Alfred walk with the plan of replacing him with a more expensive, older player.

    • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 12:53 PM

      That to me, makes sense. Then again they may have seen Alfred simply not getting it done period. I have no idea what kind of contract Alfred will be getting. It may be a short term prove it deal. I wish him the best, though.

  8. robert herrera - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    I would pass on forte and draft a power back. I said before there is a good chance Ezekiel Elliot might be on board at 21, and if not I see two running backs that can fit the Redskins offense. One is Kenyan Drake and the other is devan rockhead johnson. Check out their running clips on you tube. Thanks.

    • colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:12 AM

      We need either Michael Thomas BIG WR with that pick or a DE. Never spend a first rounder on RB.

      • Mr.moneylover - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:16 PM

        He’s another Ryan grant…he’s a OK blocker not a deep threat and just a good route runner… WR kyle fuller from Notre Dame is a beast I know he’s fifth on mayock top 5 WR but he’s a true sleeper I watched him all year long making plays

  9. colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    We need to cut Garcon and Roberts. Pick up Michael Thomas and resign DJax.

    • Mr.moneylover - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:20 PM

      I think p.garcon stays but Ryan grant Andre Roberts and rashad Ross are the odd players out…rashad Ross is the odd man out as well simply cause jay gruden said he’s not big enough to block he just can’t get on the field to catch passes because then he become predictable

  10. colorofmyskinz - Feb 15, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Why does everyone believe we had an easy schedule and Carolina had a hard one? Look who Carolina played. They only played 2 teams that were worth anything, Seattle and Green Bay. Those were the hardest games in their 16 game schedule. Everyone else was not even .500… Our schedule was equally as hard if not harder.

    • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 1:00 PM

      But, Carolina played a FIRST PLACE schedule.

      Which is why you never know how that is going to shape up. The NFC East and AFC North were down (Carolina opponents). Then their first place games of Green Bay and Seattle were not as strong as thought (previous NFC Championship game). Just saying.

  11. shermanp79 - Feb 15, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    I would be happy bringing Forte here, he is an incredible pass catching back. He probably gives more than Thomas running but either veteran back would be great assets to the offense. They probably spend less for Thomas but it might be worth spending a bit more for Forte who probably has more left in the tank.

    The problem is, I’m not sure Forte comes here, he could go to a NE or SEA, a team better established right now. Why I think Thomas, a guy they already know and is willing to return seems a more likely option. They should draft one too. Last year we could of benefited from Thompson playing a bigger role but they didn’t use him enough. We have heard about concerns with durability(obvious reasons)so maybe he isn’t in their long term plans. It seems Jones is what they believe is the future so it will be interesting to see what type of back they draft or bring in. For sure we could use a couple of guys.

    • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 1:01 PM

      Forte would also fit in well in Green Bay.

  12. James McFullan - Feb 15, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    I would like for the Redskins to sign Lamar Miller, but the Dolphins still want him and he would be on the more expensive side. To his benefit though, he has low mileage, can run and catch, has great speed, he’s young, and he is a veteran who can be a leader of the Running Back group.

  13. renhoekk2 - Feb 15, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Guys like Jordan Howard, Jonathan Williams, Kenyan Drake should be available in the third round. Lamar Miller was a 4th rd pick. So there is good chance of getting the same caliber player in the draft without the FA price tag.

    • kenlinkins - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:07 PM

      I also like Kenyan Drake, I wonder if he will last until the 4th round?

  14. smotion55 - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    They will draft in the 4th rd. most likely. They got Jones last year and reached for him in the 3rd. In the second year with the GM and the scouts working together they should draft one to compete. If Elliott is still there I would consider taking him with their 1st pick . If not I would like to draft Kenyan Drake later on. Just not sure where they rate him 3rd or 4th round.

  15. kenlinkins - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:05 PM

    Rich: I just read that the Redskins and Cousins are “No where close to a deal”. 1. Which side would benefit from a leak at this time? 2. What level of gained knowledge do you require for yourself before reporting something?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Either side could have thrown the reporter a bone, so the answer to who benefits is the reporter. It’s not a major story, it’s a sentence from a long article on player contracts.

      I’ve said many times that I don’t expect there to be much movement until near the deadline. If you hear things like this the weekend after the combine, which is a few days before the tag deadline, it might start to be time to pay attention.

  16. Mr.moneylover - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Matt forte will not be on the redskins radar…a report came out a hour ago and word is redskins and kirk cousins agent is nowhere close to a long term deal…and scot m. MIGHT use the franchise tag on kirk cousins and if he have to they also reporting rg3 will be in the mix of returning for 2016 season

    • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

      The Saga continues.

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 15, 2016 at 4:00 PM

      McCloughan will use the tag if they don’t come to a deal. That’s been reported and verified.

      May I suggest that you learn the difference between “reporting” and the speculation that my friend JP put into the article on CSN?

      • Mr.moneylover - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:08 PM

        It still make sense to why they haven’t release rg3 yet…that could be the only reason why they haven’t release rg3 yet…they probably thinking about keeping him around just in case they have to franchise tag cousins…scot m. Refuse to give one guy big money…kirk cousins agent probably looked at the first redskins offer and laugh…kirk cousins want the big money but if I’m the redskins I wouldn’t fold…and scot m. Said franchise tag kirk cousins is a option but they don’t want to take route they rather get a long term deal done…he didn’t say he will definitely will use the franchise tag on kirk cousins.. They keeping rg3 on hold for a reason

        • Rich Tandler - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:57 PM

          It appears that the Redskins are holding on the Griffin on the very tiny chance they can trade him. I don’t think that’s possible but they lose nothing by trying. There could be a few other reasons why they haven’t let him go yet but one of them is not because there are in any way contemplating keeping him on the roster past March 9.

        • John - Feb 15, 2016 at 9:57 PM

          Like all other negotiation scenarios, Cousins agent will aim high. The Skins will aim low and after going back and forth, they’ll settle on a mutually agreeable deal. Their just going through the formalities at this point.

          RG3 will be gone before to long. The Skins have no chips to play in terms of negotiating with other teams. Why trade for someone with a big contract, when you can get him for nothing in a few weeks?

    • hail74 - Feb 15, 2016 at 4:24 PM
      Again, I’m not concerned about any report were laconfora is the source. How he got a tv gig I’ll never know. In the above article he says the Seahawks and Wilson were so far apart that they were more likely to let him play out his rookie contract. Wilson had his deal a month later. Negotiations rarely ever start out with both sides close.

      • bangkokben - Feb 15, 2016 at 4:46 PM

        I hear you. In fairness, Laconfora’s quote in the current piece is innocuous. It’s a piece on why some agents are not taking advantage of the leverage their clients have and are signing deals early (Kelce and Ertz) due to the fear of losing their clients after their rookie contract and before their first payday. Whether his hypothesis is true or not, who knows? But Cousins’ agent is not likely to succumb to such fear as his client is due a huge pay day. As Rich says, deals don’t usually get done until the deadlines.

        • bowlregard - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:48 PM

          Sports agents are like real estate agents. They don’t really represent their clients, they represent the deal.

    • Mr.moneylover - Feb 15, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      I rather see kirk cousins get a long term flexible deal done

  17. warriorking1112 - Feb 16, 2016 at 1:59 AM

    I think at running back the best bet for this year and the future would be let Alfred go (pats and seahawks seem like places best suited for his skills and his career) , sign a free agent looking for his next meal and have him , jones and Thomas compete by committee this year and next year draft a rb.

    Waiting to get a stud rookie in the 2017 draft would be better for the future of this team. The talent level coming in 2017 is far superior to this years backs. Lsu and Stanford have some special backs that would be a perfect fit for this offense and would become legends in Dc.
    I say wait and draft Mccaffrey in the 2nd in 2017. He would become a mix of faulk and beast mode with an Nfl diet and lifting for us. Developing along side Captain America Kirk Cousins and a tall wr rookie we draft this year( i hope tcu wr josh doctson ) and Jreed. Our offense with a great line and this team is the young Pats or kurt warners rams. Archives

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