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Who Is Worth Keeping? - Defense Up


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I'm going to keep this to strictly players as I think the whole coaching staff and FO should go (that's another discussion though), but it appears we're heading for a lengthy rebuild and we will have to make some tough decisions on who stays and who goes.  Some should be judged on their play on the field, others will be judged on their age (its a reality in our situation).  


Dwayne Haskins (22) - KEEP - He'll have 3 years remaining on his rookie deal, plus a 5th year option.  Doubtful he goes anywhere imo.  

Case Keenum (31) - GO - He will be a free agent, and he's making almost nothing at $3.5 mil this season.  I know he hasn't been very good, but I would expect him to get paid more than that next year (that's the nature of the QB position).  I expect we will need a vet QB to help Haskins out, but whoever the new coach is will probably bring someone in familiar with his system to help.  That pushes Keenum out the door.  

Colt McCoy (33) - GO - He's older than Keenum, also a pending FA, always injured, and frankly just isn't very good.  He was a Gruden favorite, no need to keep him around anymore.  

Alex Smith (35) - RETIRES - I doubt he ever plays football again.  



Adrian Peterson (34) - GO - He's here to sell tickets I guess?  I get that he's been more productive than our backup HBs, but at some point you have to hope Guice can actually stay on the field, plus Love will be back.  Peterson would just be stealing carries from those guys.  

Wendell Smallwood (25) - GO - He's a pending FA, meaning he's going to get more expensive.  We will already have Guice and Love under contract, and can add another cheap backup in the draft or even UDFA.  

Darius Guice (22) - KEEP - He's going to have to put up or shut up next year, plus I expect us to bring in some kind of competition for his carries in the draft.  Still, he's on a rookie contract no reason to cut him.  

Chris Thompson (29) - GO - He's a pending FA and turning 30.  Bryce Love will probably take his carries.  

Bryce Love (22) - KEEP - Still on rookie contract, talented in college.  I look forward to seeing what he can do in the NFL.  



Jordan Reed (29) - GO - Can't stay healthy.  I would try to get whatever I could for him, if not just cut him. Bummer cause he was talented when on the field.  Too unreliable.  

Vernon Davis (35) - GO - He was designed to be a stopgap for a few years.  Its been a few years.  Time for a youth movement at TE IMO.  

Jeremy Sprinkle (25) - KEEP - He has 1 year left on his rookie contract.  Looks like solid depth but I don't think he'll ever be an impact player.  

Hale Hentges (23) - DOESNT MATTER - He's signed to a cheap 3 year deal, but he's a fringe roster guy that is easily replaceable.  Camp fodder kind of guy, but probably shouldn't be filling a roster spot on final 53.  



Terry McLaurin (24) - KEEP - He's probably one of the core players we will build around going forward.  Hopefully he continues to get even better.  

Paul Richardson (27) - GO - He was a terrible signing in the first place IMO.  His contract is not ideal for cutting next year, we will have $2.5 mil in cap savings but will take on $6 mil in dead cap.  Because of that I could understand arguments for keeping him around 1 more year, but honestly I'd rather just give his snaps to someone else.  

Trey Quinn (23) - DOESNT MATTER - Quinn is a guy that will probably have a shot to compete for a roster spot again because he's on a cheap deal, but likely wouldn't make the final 53 if we had a talented WR core.  I don't think Trey Quinn is a lock term building block.  

Kelvin Harmon (22) - KEEP - I like his toughness and he's on a cheap contract.  He's worth keeping around as a depth WR imo.  

Steve Sims (22) - DOESNT MATTER - I actually think Sims has been surprisingly good at KRs, but he's another guy that I'm not sure would be on a final 53 of a team with a good WR core.  Bring him in to compete for a roster spot but not a long term building block.  



Trent Williams (31) - GO - This one has been talked to death.  I think most agree its time to move on.  

Morgan Moses (28) - KEEP - I agree with people who are saying that Moses is struggling this year.  Whether that is regression in his game or lack of concentration in a lost season is hard to determine.  What I do know is that he has a manageable cap hit of $8.6 mil next year and cutting him only saves $4.85 mil.  He's only 28, if he rebounds we could get another 4-5 years out of him.  We're also going to have a ton of other needs to address.  I say bring him back and hope he rebounds.  

Donald Penn (36) - GO - Considering he came in as late as he did he's done adequately.  But he's old as a dinosaur and doesn't really go with the youth movement we need.  

Geron Christian (23) - KEEP - Christian is borderline "doesnt matter", but he has two more years on a cheap rookie deal and is depth.  The biggest concern is he had a chance to take Trent Williams' job this year and they went out and signed a 36 year old instead.  He's probably a career backup that doesn't last past his rookie contract.  



Brandon Scherff (27) - KEEP - Similar discussion as Moses, but we have more invested in Scherff draft pick wise, and he's going to cost more money.  He has struggled this year, but everyone has struggled.  We have too many holes to let him walk IMO.  Bring him back and address other areas.  

Ereck Flowers (25) - KEEP - He has been surprisingly not awful.  I'm not sure if he's a long term solution at Guard, but he's definitely earned the right to come back and compete for the job if he's willing to settle for a reasonable contract extension.  I'd be willing to give him a 3 year deal.  He's only 25 he should continue to get better.  

Wes Martin (23) - KEEP - He's on a cheap contract and should continue to develop.  Maybe he eventually takes Flowers job, maybe he's just depth.  Either way he fills a role.  

Tony Bergstrom (33) - GO - He's aging and doesn't fit our rebuilding timeline.  



Chase Roullier (26) - KEEP - I'm not sure I believe PFF saying he's the best Center in the league this year, but he's solid and cheap.  I might to try extend him to a reasonable contract now, kind of like we did with Matt Ioannidis before he blew up.  

Ross Pierschbacher (24) - KEEP - Cheap depth.  Too soon to have any opinion on him.  



Locked in Starters: 4.  McLaurin, Roullier, Scherff, Moses.

Guys with Possible Starter Potential: 3.  Haskins, Guice, Flowers.

Depth Players: 6.  Love, Sprinkle, Harmon, Christian, Martin, Pierschbacher.

Need to Go: 15.  Keenum, McCoy, Smith, Peterson, Thompson, Smallwood, Richardson, Quinn, Sims, Williams, Penn, Bergstrom.

Starters Needed: 11

Total Offense Needed: 25


So in summary, I think we have 4 locked in starters and 3 other guys who may have starting potential (I'm assuming one of Martin/Flowers could end up being a legit starter, you could flip the other down to depth).  Even if Haskins, Guice and Flowers all pan out, our biggest holes are at LT, TE, #2 WR where we literally have no starting caliber options at those positions.  Beyond the starters, I think we only have 13 players worth keeping on offense, and we probably need 25.  That means we need a lot of new depth, which will mostly be at the skill positions: QB, HB, WR, TE.  Other than a new starting LT our oline is pretty set in the short term.  





Edited by MKnight82
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Jonathan Allen (24) - KEEP - He has one year left on his rookie deal plus we can use a 5th year option if we want, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him locked up to a longer term deal before the 5th year option.  I think everyone realizes he's a good player so I'll nitpick a little here.  I think Allen is a high floor guy that may not ever become a Superstar.  That's ok, we need good players.  But it gets frustrating looking at our roster and seeing that we don't really have any superstars (except Trent Williams) and that's because IMO the team takes a very conservative approach with its first round picks.  I get that he's just 24 and that could change, but most superstars flash early and he's already in his 3rd year.  

Matt Ioannidis (25) - KEEP - He's under contract through 2022, but easily cutable in 2021 if for some reason we need to.  My current opinion is that Ioannidis is our top DLineman (only talking production on the field, not taking into consideration future potential).  He is definitely the best pass rusher of the 3 starters at this time.  He will be 28 at the end of his deal, so I think its entirely possible he ends up on a 3rd contract with us.  

Daron Payne (22) - KEEP - He's two years younger than Allen and he's more athletic for his size.  I think Payne has higher upside, but whether he ever reaches his full potential remains to be seen.  He's obviously good enough he will play through his entire rookie contract and 5th year option.  But I think it will be a real discussion in a few years about whether we can afford to keep Payne, Allen and Ioannidis.  That discussion could get even more difficult if we change defensive schemes next year.  Luckily we have all under contract for at least 2 more years so we don't have to make that decision now.  Allen and Payne are better at defending the run than Ioannidis IMO.  

Tim Settle (22) - KEEP - He's really good depth and a solid spot starter still on his rookie contract until 2021.  I debated the value of having two NTs on the roster when we drafted him but he's shown some ability to get to the QB in passing situation so he's more valuable than just a 2 down run stuffer.  

Caleb Brantley (25) - KEEP - He's only worth keeping if he's willing to accept a cheap deal though.  I think most know this guy's story, he was supposed to be a really high draft pick but fell, then busted with his first team.  But he's a good athlete which I like and makes for good depth.  

Treyvon Hester (27) - DOESNT MATTER - He's on a cheap one year deal.  He is worth bringing in for camp fodder but I don't think he's a long term building block.  



Ryan Kerrigan (31) - GO - I love Kerrigan, he's one of my favorite players on the team.  But his age doesn't fit the timeline of our rebuild and he's earned the right to go contribute for a contender at this point in his career.  It would be best for both parties to trade him for a draft pick.  This becomes even more important if we draft Chase Young, and/or switch to a 4-3 (would could easily start a 4 man front of Sweat, Ioannidis, Payne, Allen even without Young).  

Montez Sweat (23) - KEEP - He's young with upside, has 3 years plus a 5th year option left on his rookie deal and should be able to play in whatever defensive scheme we play next year.  He isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  

Ryan Anderson (25) - KEEP - Anderson was certainly overdrafted, but he isn't terrible.  I would argue switching to a 4-3 could save his career, as he's better against the run than as a pure pass rusher.  He seems like a legitimate starting option at LOLB in a 4-3.  Next year is the last year on his rookie deal, and I can't imagine him getting a huge offer from someone else.  If he's willing to accept a cheap contract extension I would probably keep him around for a 2nd contract for depth and 4-3 starting upside.  

Noah Spence (25) - DOESNT MATTER - Spencer is another guy worth bringing in as camp fodder but it doesn't really matter if he's on the roster or not.  Should be easy to upgrade him, plus he's a pending FA.  



Jon Bostic (25) - GO - This is a sad position group that is hurting for a high draft pick more than any other on the roster except maybe TE (Before the season I would have said WR but McLaurin has bailed that group out somewhat).  I don't think we have a starting caliber MLB on the roster.  Note that this group would likely need to fill two starting spots in a 4-3 (MLB and ROLB), which is a problem if we go that route.  Bostic was brought in as a stopgap late in training camp, is on a 1 year deal, and isn't particularly good.  

Cole Holcomb (23) - KEEP - I like Holcomb's speed, but honestly he hasn't shown enough to be considered a long term solution as a starter imo.   He has 3 years remaining on his rookie deal and will at the least provide good depth.  If we could get a legitimate starting MLB, its possible Holcomb could pair with that guy and Anderson to create a passable starting 4-3 linebacking core.  I'm not sure he's good enough in coverage for that though.  

Shaun Dion Hamilton (24) - KEEP - This group has a trend, a bunch of guys worthy of keeping as depth as long as they are on rookie contracts.  SDH fits that group.  He's a career backup with two more years on his rookie deal after this season.  

Josh Harvey Clemons (25) - KEEP -  Same as SDH, except next year is the last year left on his rookie deal.  

Reuben Foster (25) - GO - He's actually under contract for one more year, but I just don't want anything to do with this guy.  I understand that some people will disagree, or will argue at least bring him in for camp, but my rebuttal to that is the FO will likely lean on him again as a reason not to address this position.  



Josh Norman (31) - GO - I don't think this will be controversial, he's aging, expensive and his play has declined.  I think he may have a year or two left in him if he goes to a contender and really concentrates,  but it seems like his legs are giving out on him.  Cutting Norman saves us $12.5 mil next year.  I will point out that cutting Norman puts a big hole at the top of our CB Depth chart.  

Quinton Dunbar (27) - KEEP - He's been a real success for the team this year after several injury plagued years.  He's probably the best success story the team has had in terms of player development.  He has one year left on his very reasonable deal.  He will be 28 years old next year, so he probably has 3-4 years of peak play left.  I actually think we should entertain selling high on him in the offseason and trade him for a high draft pick if we got offered one.  Further support for that argument would be his lengthy injury history and that he might not fit the timetable for a long rebuild.  But for now I'm just going to assume they probably lock him up for another 4 year extension and keep him around.  

Fabian Moreau (25) - KEEP - He has one year left on his deal, and I think he's worth keeping around for that one year left but not beyond that.  Moreau got screwed by our stupid coaching staff by forcing him to play away from his strengths in the slot.  Moreau was never a slot CB in college, and IMO would be much better played outside.  I honestly feel like slot CB should be considered a completely different position from outside CB because it takes such a different skillset.  If the Redskins were smart (they aren't) they would just bench Norman the rest of the season and see what they have in Moreau outside.  Either way I think Moreau is trending towards a career backup role.  

Jimmy Moreland (24) - KEEP - The short answer is that Moreland has 3 years left on his rookie deal and is worth keeping around for that contract.  The bigger question is whether he's able to contribute more than that and solidify our starting slot CB role.  I think its hard to judge at this point, which is the case with a lot of the secondary because our coaching staff's coverage schemes are often idiotic.  I think Moreland has earned the right to compete for the starting slot role next year but we should bring in some competition.  

Aaron Colvin (28) - GO - Brought in midseason due to injuries.  He's aging and a pending FA.  Not worth retaining IMO.

Simeon Thomas (26) - DOESNT MATTER - He actually has one more year on a very cheap contract despite being 27 next year.  But I don't think he'll make a major impact in any way.  Camp fodder, bottom of the roster type.  

Danny Johnson (23) - DOESNT MATTER - I actually liked Johnson when we saw him in the slot, and he does have one more year on a cheap contract.  But I don't think he's a long term solution and we should be targeting a better player in the slot IMO.  

Greg Stroman (23) - KEEP - I haven't seen anything from Stroman that makes me think he's a long term answer either.  The difference is he has two years remaining on a cheap rookie deal.  So he's worth keeping around for that timeframe as a bottom of the roster guy.  However, if someone outplays him we could definitely cut him.  



Landon Collins (25) - KEEP - Even if we wanted to cut or trade Collins it isn't really practical with his contract.  He has not made a major impact this year for us, which is very concerning based on the amount of money we gave him.  However, I do recognize our defensive coaching staff is idiotic and hurting a lot of our secondary players.  I would argue he might be a better fit as a ROLB in a 4-3 scheme, but I doubt he would ever go for that.  Hopefully he bounces back under a new coaching staff, because he's going to be around for several more years at a minimum.  

Montae Nicholson (23) - DOESNT MATTER - I think we've seen enough from Nicholson to know he's not ever going to be anything special.  He has one more year left on his rookie deal so bringing him back for camp to compete for a roster spot wouldn't be bad, but cutting him outright wouldn't  be a big deal either.  

Troy Apke (24) - KEEP - Dare I say he has been surprisingly not awful this year?  He has two more years on his rookie deal, and with his speed makes for a good backup.  I'd like to see him get some snaps at slot CB to see if he could handle it.  

Deshazor Everett (27) - KEEP - He plays special teams, but I've never really be impressed by him on defense.  We just extended him to a pretty reasonable 3 year contract.  



Locked in Starters: 6.  Allen, Payne, Ioannidis, Sweat, Dunbar, Collins.

Guys with Possible Starter Potential: 2.  Ryan Anderson, Cole Holcomb.

Depth Players: 9.  Settle, Brantley, SDH, JHC, Moreau, Moreland, Stroman, Apke, Everett.

Need to Go: 10.  Kerrigan, Norman, Hester, Spence, Bostic, Foster, Colvin, Thomas, Johnson, Nicholson.  

Starters Needed: 11

Total Offense Needed: 25


The defensive line is set for the foreseeable future no matter what scheme we run next year.  If we move to a 4-3, what happens with Kerrigan won't really matter as I think Jon Allen could play LE in a 4-3 if needed (meaning we didn't land Chase Young).  If we traded Kerrigan and stuck with a 3-4 LOLB becomes a need.  A lot of people will say well just replace him with Chase Young, well we'd probably need to land a top 2 pick for that to happen and I'd argue I think Young is a better fit in a 4-3 (he's not a bad fit in a 3-4 but I think he would be better utilized in a 4-3).  We have solid depth on the interior as well, but could use some depth at edge rusher.  

Regardless of scheme the team needs a legitimate starting MLB.  The upcoming FA market looks pretty weak to me at MLB, so this is probably a huge draft need.  The problem then is that we'll probably be too high in the draft for a MLB, and we don't have a 2nd round pick (maybe we should have considered trading Williams or Kerrigan for draft picks huh?).  I think Ryan Anderson and Cole Holcomb could give us 4-3 OLB options.  We have depth at linebacker we just don't have legitimate starters.  If we end up winning a few games (lol) I think Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson would have to be considered in the first.  

The secondary is a mess.  I would consider the secondary to have 5 starting positions, 2 outside CBs, a slot CB and two Safeties.  We have two legitimate starters in Dunbar and Collins.  If we miss out on the Chase Young sweepstakes, I think we'd have to consider his teammate Jeffrey Okudah at the top of the draft.  This defense is seriously lacking a legimate #1 CB.  Its worth noting there are better FA options at CB and S than there are at Linebacker this upcoming offseason so maybe we go that route.  A veteran Slot CB would probably really help the team as well.  The FS position could also use an upgrade, but with Nicholson and Apke still under contract next season, and with so many bigger needs, I don't think its a priority this offseason unless something ideal presents itself.  

Edited by MKnight82
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I agree with all of it except Wendell Smallwood.  Smallwood should take over Peterson's role next year as the veteran RB. He's not a superstar but a solid running back. You can't rely on a injury prone Guice/Love backfield. I don't think he'll break the bank - he's a running back. We'll see. 

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Right on target. Agree with two exceptions- I’d keep Steve Sims and if reasonable Smallwood. Moses Or should we start calling Heyer,  is at best a backup so our OL needs multiple new starters. He’s the worst run blocking RT tackle and a penalty machine

Edited by Doc Draper
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I agree with Taylor made/Doc on Smallwood, he’s solid and shouldn’t cost too much plus he really hasn’t had that much playing time. 

Sims to me showed promise, I would keep him  

I would dump Moses and Christian, 2 wasted third rd picks. 

Everyone else I agree with. 

I hope we get Young in the draft and I think we can get 1 or 2 OT to coach up. 

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If you can keep Smallwood, I think you try. But I wouldn't make keeping him a priority.

One thing to keep in mind: given the number of losses we could potentially have, you might think Washington would be in good shape to get a compensatory pick or two. However, as @MKnight82 points out, they have a lot of needs to fill (and as others have pointed out, potentially a lot of cap space to use), so they might have to be very active on the free agency market.

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53 minutes ago, MKnight82 said:

Please elaborate.  

I think he’s probably the most talented ILB we’ve had since London Fletcher. He’s instinctive and his sideline to sideline speed is impressive. I’d like to see him with a good DC just to see what we have before we dump him. 

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