The Washington Redskins missed the playoffs again for the third straight year. The franchise is spinning into a state of chaos as they finish another mediocre year. However, this season was not the beginning of mediocrity for this franchise. They have been buried in it since May of 1999 when Daniel Snyder bought the team after Jack Kent Cooke’s death. They have not won 11 games in a season since then and have only 5 winning seasons and 3 division titles. Current, and recently promoted, Team President Bruce Allen is contributing to the chaos as well; after 9 seasons as President, the team’s record is 59-84-1. Allen has had no experience as a football talent evaluator before this role and seemed to be hired only because of his name and relation to Redskins history. Snyder and Allen have driven out this fanbase at an eye-raising pace, Washington led the NFL in decreasing attendance rates, as they were down 24% this past season. It’s to a point where; #FireBruceAllen was trending in the US last week, life long Redskins fans are debating to root for the team any longer, season ticket holders are abandoning their seats, and Snyder and Allen are risking losing next generations’ Redskins fandom.
It was a disastrous 2018 season for Washington as their promising 6-3 start ended in a 7-9 train wreck. New starting quarterback Alex Smith shattered his leg, and 2 weeks later backup Colt McCoy broke his leg as well. After the “Sanchize”, Mark Sanchez, was benched after he threw just 35 pass attempts, the Redskins ended their season with Josh Johnson as their 4th starting quarterback. Washington has one of the, if not the, worst quarterback situations in the NFL. The quarterback position isn’t the only injury plagued position the Redskins dealt with. Washington had 27 players on IR this season, leading the NFL, which makes it 2 years in a row where they had over 20 players on IR. This franchise can take steps to not be the league’s laughing stock, and it is based all around patience.
1. Trade back into the late 1st Round 2019 NFL Draft
With the news just coming out on the Redskin’s front office, Bruce Allen isn’t going anywhere, for at least one more season. With coaches and coordinators itching to leave this organization, Washington’s management needs to rebuild the right way. The combination of mismanagement and bad luck have finally hit them with Alex Smith’s infected, broken leg who is a question mark to even continue his career. Washington is in an excellent position this draft to collect a lot of young talent, with their given tight cap space, a lot slotted to the quarterback position. Daniel Snyder has put his fingerprints on this franchise by going after the big-name acquisitions. From Deion Sanders and Albert Haynesworth, to Josh Norman and Alex Smith, and much more to name, Redskin’s ownership has chased big names to remedy their problems and keep fan interest. But what is needed is to draft and grow their own stars. It is very enticing to trade up for either Murray or Haskins to regain fan interest, but the Redskins trading back would allow them to gather more picks to add to their already plentiful amount from the added supplementary picks this draft and hopefully give them multiple 1st round picks in 2020, a much better quarterback class.
2. Cut Josh Norman and Other High-Priced Veterans
Face it, Norman’s free-agent signing has been a disappointment. He has not lived up to the 5-year $75 million contract he signed after being cut by the Panthers a few seasons ago. Norman at 31, is not the player he once was in Carolina. In the 3 seasons now in Washington he has only 6 INTs, while he had 4 in his breakout, 2015 season in Carolina. He also had only 9 Pass Defenses this past season, a career low since his rookie season in 2012. He isn’t a travel corner who can lock down any receiver in the league, as he was signed to do with a $15 million average salary. He would save the Redskins $8 million in cap which is needed with the heavy Alex Smith contract. Another veteran Washington can part with is linebacker Zach Brown. Brown, who accounts a total of $8.75 million against the cap was seeing less and less playing time near the end of the season due to his weaknesses in pass coverage and battled through an oblique injury throughout the season. Brown once led the entire NFL in tackles in 2016 while on the Buffalo Bills. However, with the NFL becoming more of a pass happy league, run-stopping veterans who can save their team in nearly $6 million if they were cut, should be. Another name who might be cut is Pro-Bowl linebacker, and fan favorite Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan who will be 31 next season would save the Redskins over $10 million in cap. Though with fellow outside linebacker Preston Smith as a free-agent this offseason, his status for next season I think heavily determines Kerrigan’s fate. Other players such as Stacey McGee and Vernon Davis are other players who could open up a good chunk of cap if Washington moved on from them. Washington needs to create some cap space and spend it once they have a future at quarterback.
3. Draft a Quarterback in the 3rd or 4th Round
The Redskins have so many holes on their roster, including, the offensive line, wide receiver, linebacker, and depth in their secondary. Yes, quarterback is a need as well but there are so many questions at that position, I would wait a year before investing a 1st round pick on one. Washington also has a ton of cap locked in on that position, I think it would be smarter to spread their resources around the roster and pick a developmental quarterback later in the draft. Will Grier, Daniel Jones, Easton Stick and Brett Rypien are just to name a few prospects who could be great options that slip to the 3rd or 4th rounds. The only true way to fix this team is to have Bruce Allen out as Team President, and them picking a quarterback in the 1st round would only provide hope, and team revenue, allowing Allen to stay.
There are still reasons to have hope as a fan of the Redskins. Head Coach Jay Gruden is a great offensive mind and a good play-caller and is good at scheming receivers open; I think any quarterback who fits Gruden’s scheme could succeed with enough time under his tutelage. As an example, Josh Johnson led the Redskins to comeback win on the road against one of the best defenses in the NFL in Jacksonville. If Washington addresses the guard position and the offensive line stays healthy, the Redskins could have one of the best running games in the NFL with Guice returning to a backfield already consisting of Chris Thompson and hopefully Adrian Peterson. I understand that Redskins want to have something to root for in 2019 but if fans in Washington want a consistent winner, they need to build their team with some patience. Surround their team with a lot of promising, young talent and play through 2019 to answer all the questions they have at the quarterback position. Who knows, Alex Smith might make a full recovery and take the Redskins to the playoffs. The Redskins would have made the playoffs if Alex Smith wouldn’t have gotten hurt. There is so many questions at that position it would be in their best interest for another season to playout before committing to select a quarterback in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. I know it is hard to ask for more patience after the franchise has shown no promise since the turn of the millennium, but having it for the 2019 season is what is going to turn this team around.