Has Washington’s Offseason Made Them Better or Worse?
Though the Redskins missed the playoffs last year, finishing 8-7-1, they accomplished something the franchise hadn’t seen since 1997. That feat? Two consecutive winning seasons. In 1996, the skins’ finished 9-7. In 1997, the skins’ finished 8-7-1.
Oh, how history repeats itself.
Fast forward to this offseason, Washington lost three valuable pieces to free agency: Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Chris Baker. With the firing of General Manager, Scott McCloughan, and the promotion of former quarterbacks coach, Matt Cavanaugh, to offensive coordinator (to replace now Los Angeles Rams Head Coach, Sean McVay) just how does Washington plan on restructuring the franchise in order to stay competitive?
Well it started on the night of April 27th; the NFL draft.
The most glaring issue Washington sought to address this offseason was on the defensive side of the ball; more specifically, their front 7 and secondary. With the 17th pick in this year’s draft, Washington drafted Alabama’s stud defensive tackle, Jonathan Allen. If healthy, Allen can serve as a great replacement to Chris Baker, while hopefully exceeding Baker’s production as well. At Alabama, Allen used his elite athleticism and brute strength to be a great run stopper. He’s also a perfect fit for the 3-4 scheme new defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky is running. His ability to play any position in the trenches could definitely serve as a solution to their defensive line woes. With the second-best rushing offense in the NFL abiding in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys, a great run-stopping defensive line is pertinent. With the additions of former Cowboys defensive tackle, Terrell McClain, and former Raider defensive tackle, Stacy McGee, to complement Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins should be provided with that push for a productive front seven this season.
Washington let Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson walk due to a combination of money and old age. Dolling out a combine $50 million to 30 year old receivers at this point in their career is risky. Washington decided to go a different route when filling out their wide receiver corps for 2017; one filled with youth. The mot glamorized addition to the team this offseason was that of wide receiver, Terelle Pryor. Washington signed quarterback-turned-receiver, Terrelle Pryor to a 1 year $8 million. Pryor is coming off a 1,000 yard season in which he played receiver for the first time in the NFL. He also managed to rack up that yardage while playing for an abysmal Cleveland Browns which started six different quarterbacks last season. Losing a downfield threat of Jackson’s caliber is always hard to replace; However, with the addition of Pryor, paired with a healthy Josh Doctson, one can’t help but to imagine the young tandem flourishing for years to come. Keep in mind, emerging star receiver, Jamison Crowder, and explosive tight end, Jordan Reed will definitely help fill the void left by Garcon and Jackson. Garcon brought experience and leadership to a franchise that desperately needed it. If Doctson and Reed can stay healthy, and Crowder can stay consistent, Washington may not regret the loss of those feature receivers after all.
Yes, Washington lost a few key players, however, they rebounded with strong free agency additions and a great draft.
Will the departures of those vets hurt Washington in the long run?
- I don’t think it will cause a major drop off. If the defense can mesh together under Manusky’s system, and the offense can stay healthy, Washington will make that push to the playoffs.
How will Washington finish next season?
- I’m looking for the Redskins to build and improve upon the 8-7-1 season and finish with a 10-6 record.