Thursday, July 28, 2011

Redskins stay busy, gobble up WRs

On Tuesday, the Redskins signed defensive tackle Barry Cofield and brought back Santana Moss at a modest price. They also were very close to trading away Donovan McNabb; that deal was recently completed (for one sixth-round pick next year and a conditional sixth-round pick the year after).

But those moves were just the beginning. The Redskins filled yesterday with more activity, working hard to fill a bunch of holes on the roster. Here's what they did:

Went after wide receivers

The Redskins signed Donte Stallworth and Brandon Stokley to one-year deals. They also traded for Jabar Gaffney, dealing defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon to the Broncos to acquire him. That seems to be selling low on the 23-year-old Jarmon, who never really fit in the Redskins' defensive system when they switched to a 3-4 scheme. It's worth noting that the Redskins spent a third-round pick to select Jarmon in the 2009 supplemental draft then dealt him away for an average receiver in Gaffney -- that's not exactly the best of planning.

Some people are furious with the above moves. Others decided to go the comedic route, which is slightly better. But I don't understand all of the outrage. I'm not saying it's the best idea to target receivers who are 35 (Stokley), 30 (Stallworth), and also 30 (Gaffney). But the only guy who's basically guaranteed to make the roster is Gaffney. The other two seem to be buy-low guys. Both are injury-prone receivers, but maybe the Redskins will get lucky with one of them and be able to hang on to a cheap, decent wide receiver for most of the upcoming season. If not, and they get hurt or don't play well, the Redskins can simply get rid of them.

The only reasonable concern I've heard is that signing these guys will take some reps away from some of the younger or recently drafted receivers -- guys like Anthony Armstrong, Leonard Hankerson, Terrence Austin, Niles Paul, etc. I know there are currently several more receivers on the roster, but those seem like the most likely guys to get a chance to stick around. I found it tough to believe that the Shanahans would overlook what Armstrong did last season, and I'm sure they also want to see what Hankerson and the others can bring to the table when they start practicing. Still, I think it's too early for all the outrage for bringing in two receivers on one-year deals and trading away a player who was probably going to get cut for another receiver. If all three guys miraculously make the team or they start significantly taking away from the development of the other young receivers, then that'll be the time to wonder why these moves were made in the first place.

By the way, as reported by Rick Maese of The Washington Post, Hankerson was the first Skins draft pick to sign.

Signed Josh Wilson

While the Redskins were busy going after wide receivers, many wondered why they were neglecting other weak spots on the roster. Yesterday evening, though, the Redskins addressed their cornerback deficiency, agreeing to terms with Josh Wilson. Wilson, 26, signed for $13.5 million over three years, with $6 million guaranteed. The Wilson deal also signals the end of the Carlos Rogers era in Washington.

With Wilson on board, the Redskins seem to have a decent group of starting defensive backs: LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe at safety, and DeAngelo Hall and Wilson at cornerback. Some other defensive backs like Kevin Barnes will see the field, but those are the main four when healthy. If the Redskins can get any kind of consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks this year, the defense should be markedly better.

Brought in Kellen Clemens

The quietest move of the day for Washington was the decision to sign Kellen Clemens to a one-year deal. Clemens will likely battle with Rex Grossman (if he returns) or someone else for the backup quarterback spot. Then again, the Skins may make a move at quarterback if they're not content to roll the dice with John Beck or Grossman.


For what it's worth, after a couple days the biggest deal the Redskins have handed out is the six-year, $36 million ($12.5 million guaranteed) deal for Cofield.

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