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Need to Know: Will McCloughan boost the Redskins’ offense through free agency?

Feb 17, 2016, 5:08 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 17, 7 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Will McCloughan boost the offense through free agency?

Last week I looked at how much Scot McCloughan might use free agency to bolster the Redskins’ defense. RWJ here has asked me to take a look at what the free agency plan might be on the offensive side of the ball.

My answer is going to be guided by McCloughan’s statement at the Senior Bowl that the Redskins are not going to be “big players” in free agency and by his past statements about the draft being the “lifeblood of the organization” and on having an aversion to signing players over the age of 30 who may not buy into the Redskins’ way of doing things. I don’t know if he will stick to this philosophy or not but he did adhere to it last year.

Let’s take a look at each position group:

Quarterback—Everyone knows that Robert Griffin III is going to be gone and that Kirk Cousins will be the starter after being retained with either the franchise tag or a long-term deal. If Colt McCoy decides that pastures are greener elsewhere and departs, the Redskins will almost certainly be shopping for a veteran free agent quarterback. In any case, I see one spot going to a project quarterback drafted somewhere from the fifth round on.

Running back—There will almost certainly be a need with Alfred Morris likely headed out of town. I think that McCloughan would rather draft one to either compete with or compliment Matt Jones. I doubt he will go for any back in the early stages of free agency so that leaves out players like Matt Forte and Lamar Miller. If he can’t get a suitable back in the draft I think he’ll look to that free agent market in May to pick up a back like Pierre Thomas to share some time with Jones.

Wide receiver—The Redskins already have two receivers who are sort of like free agents in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. They are getting up there in years (both will be 30 later this year) and they are expensive. They really can’t afford to bring on another big WR contract. With Andre Roberts likely to be cut the Redskins will look for depth—and probably 2017 replacements for Jackson and Garçon—in the draft.

Tight end—The Redskins don’t have any big contracts here yet. But Jordan Reed will get a deal averaging around $10 million per year so they can’t afford to spend too much more here. If they can sign a tight end who is capable of both blocking and providing something of a receiving threat for a million and a half per year they might do that. But such players are getting harder and harder to find.

Offensive line—After taking five offensive linemen in the last two drafts, the Redskins’ most frequent O-line starting combination last year had five players all drafted by the organization. Even though they may want to upgrade from Kory Lichtensteiger I don’t see them all of a sudden going off the rails and getting a free agent center.


—The Redskins last played a game 38 days ago. It will be about 207 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 7; NFL free agency starts 21; 2016 NFL draft 71

In case you missed it

  1. hail74 - Feb 17, 2016 at 6:41 AM

    So now reports are coming out that talks between cousins and the team haven’t broken off after all. Rich, as a trusted source, what says you? Normal chatter that results from high profile negotiations? ESPN just trying to make headlines? Something in between?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 17, 2016 at 8:18 AM

      I wrote on the contract situation this morning:

      • bangkokben - Feb 17, 2016 at 8:50 AM

        Good piece. It would be interesting if the ‘skins aren’t bluffing.

      • kenlinkins - Feb 17, 2016 at 10:36 AM

        IMO this is SOP, The Cousins camp is just trying to set the “floor” (i.e. $19.6 million for 2016) and placing the 2017 tag (and fear there of) into play at $22.5 million for a total of about $42 million in guaranteed money over 2 years and want to the Redskins to add in the cost of a high draft pick to Cousins value. The Redskins seem to want a number in the high $20’s for guaranteed money and a shorter term contract. IMO the Redskins will offer a very large signing bonus (Say $24 million) and very low 2016 and 2017 numbers (like $5 million 2016 and $7 million for 2017) with $36 million guaranteed and $19 million for 2018 & 2019. This would force Cousins to walk away from a $29 million pay check in 2016 if he didn’t sign. It would also keep the Cap number avg at about $18.5 (which is under the Tag) for the whole contract even if Cousins was cut after 2017. You never get what you deserve, you only get what you negotiate. This kind of contract will work for both sides. Both side know that and they will agree at some point. Besides, if you are Cousins agent and getting 10% you want it to look like you did a ton of work for the $2.9 million you will make in 2016………

        • berniebernard666 - Feb 17, 2016 at 10:45 AM

          in all honesty you have no idea what you are talking about because he have no clue what the Redskins have offered…and you have no clue what Kirk Cousins and his agent are asking. You are just playing Fanatsy General Manager in front of everybody.

        • ohioskins - Feb 17, 2016 at 12:15 PM

          @berniebernard666, In all honesty, so what if he is playing Fantasy General Manager? That’s exactly what everyone else on here is doing also. It’s fun and makes for good discussions. Not a single one of us on here has any idea what Cousins and his agent are asking or what the Redskins are offering. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time speculating. Sheesh.

        • kenlinkins - Feb 17, 2016 at 4:09 PM

          Berniebernard666: And just how would you know so much about me? How would you know who I have spoken to or who I know in the sport business, who my friends are in the NFL or what I do for a living to the point of starting out with “In all Honesty” as if you are stating some kind of fact that I wouldn’t know what is happening? IMO if someone starts out with “In all Honesty” they trying to gain buy in or add credence to what they are pushing. In my case, I started each idea with “IMO” or “It seems” as a way to inform anyone reading it that it is nothing more than my thought and to welcome counter ideas or to add something I might have missed (i.e. a friendly debate). You might want to try it sometime. If you dislike what I write feel free to say “I disagree” or “how did you come up with that”? Remember: just because you say it with conviction doesn’t make it true.

  2. abanig - Feb 17, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    Report from NBC 4 this morning was that the Espn report was wrong. Skins are upset someone leaked out that report also.

    As for the offense, get a blocking TE a versatile back up running back and the offense can stay status quo.

    • Mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2016 at 9:25 AM

      We got that already in Niles Paul and Marcel Jensen…TE competition for training camp is set I see them bring in a few undrafted TEs tho

      • John - Feb 17, 2016 at 6:17 PM

        That remains to be seen. Paul bulked up but his will he fare with the extra weight. After all he is a wr bulked to play te. Jensen as a practice squad guy and never got a call up, more than likely it will be Carrier.

      • abanig - Feb 24, 2016 at 3:11 AM

        I’m not counting on Jensen to do anything and Paul is returning from the same injury that essentially ended Jon Jansen’s career

  3. goback2rfk - Feb 17, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    The Cousins contract talk is pointless news. He is going be a Skin next season one way or another.

  4. Manny Whiteaker - Feb 17, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    Does anyone believe that Silas Redd, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and a draft pick would work into a “get it done” group?

    I think they are all pretty low mileage athletes that can work into something great. I don’t think we need to go into panic mode in this position. They all have time in the system and I was quite happy with what Redd has shown in his rookie year and seems like he fits in with the team.

    Just a thought

    • Mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2016 at 12:59 PM

      They gonna bring in one vet we just don’t know witch vet they looking at…I doubt its matt forte but other options could be a option…I like Chris Ivory he said he gonna test the market but idk if redskins will be looking at him he’s a good option tho…Chris irovy carried the jets last year more then Ryan Fitzpatrick but Ryan Fitzpatrick also made some cluth plays down the stretch at times…having a running game will help kirk cousins a lot just like it did tony romo 2 years ago

  5. Mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    After the first two picks redskins are likely to go offense in the third round…I think they learn they lesson when they got Andre Roberts in free agency… He got more money then what he showed on the field and that’s a no no with scot m. If you get big money you gotta play at a high level… What a scare that would’ve been if redskins would’ve let Andre Roberts be the number 1 WR…I still think desean Jackson should be number 3 WR…they need a WR that can catch short routes and go deep if they have to a Jeremy maclin type WR because then if you put Jeremy maclin and desean Jackson on the field together you don’t know witch one got the deep route that’s what made eagles passing game dangerous for years….p.garcon not a deep threat but he can be a reliable target on third down they just need another deep threat and I think they gonna go after that WR in the draft they depending on what they do in free agency they could go WR in the second round…I personally would like the redskins to find undrafted DLinemen because its a hit or miss drafting a D-Linemen in the first round WR josh doctson is to good to pass up if hes there when the redskins pick 21 or they might be in a good position to draft WR Corey Coleman some ppl say he might slip out the first round…but the rams are on the record saying if he’s available when they pick they gonna pick him

  6. Mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Redskins and Dallas should always play on thanksgiving every year …the games they put on air last year was trash..

    • renhoekk2 - Feb 17, 2016 at 5:10 PM

      Not if you are a Skins fan who lives in suburban Philly. Having DET totally dominate the Eagles and watching the pale white faces of disbelief of in-laws was priceless.

  7. Mr.moneylover - Feb 17, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    The team source said to Adam schefter its not a done deal that that they will use the franchise tag on kirk cousins and this bring me back to a quote scot m. Also said that the media over look …he said ” I’m approaching this draft as if the redskins don’t have a QB” scot m. Knows that 21 mill franchise tag is to much and to decline the first offer redskins made to him it can put the redskins in a tough spot they can even take the bait and bite on a big long term deal but still pay him that big 21 mill franchise tag…they said kirk cousins want a bigger deal that the redskins offer…they gonna keep talking hopefully they can bring kirk cousins agent back to reality that kirk cousins is nothing but average and deserve average money…Ryan Fitzpatrick is a average QB and take average money the last thing redskins need is to be stuck with a average QB like the bears with jay cutler…jay cutler had only one good season and the bears threw big money at him and he hasn’t been the same since now the bears stuck with him… redskins don’t wanna be in the same situation…scot m. Was with the seahawks the three years they went to the playoffs without a franchise QB but a great defense…I think if they use the franchise tag on kirk cousins they probably feel they making progress in a long term deal without a crazy amount

  8. James McFullan - Feb 17, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    Bring in a guy like Lamar Miller, he is a fast shifty back who would be a change of pace to Matt Jones’ power. Plus he is only 24 and doesn’t have a ton of mileage. So even if given a 4 year deal, by the time it is up he is only 28. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. So by the start of the season you would have 2 speedy backs who can catch the ball and a big, powerful back who can also catch the ball. So the trio of Miller, Jones, and Thompson and DY at FB would be a very good group. Then next year the Redskins can draft that 6-3 WR out of Clemson in the 1st next year alone with a FA WR pickup next offseason.

  9. James McFullan - Feb 17, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    This year in the draft, the Redskins,should trade this year’s 2nd round and 4th round picks along with next year’s 3rd round pick for the 20th pick this year, but only if Robert Nkemdiche and Jaylon Smith are both available at 20, then draft both. This year with their 3rd round pick the Redskins can get a center who can sit a year and learn the system and learn from Lichtensteiger or some FA center the Redskins bring in for this year. Archives

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