The Washington Redskins enter the second week of NFL free agency with a slightly new look. Players the Redskins have added include a veteran cornerback, an unknown punter, and a highly regarded wide receiver. On the first day of free agency, the front office traded for a franchise quarterback and sent a talented cornerback along with a draft pick in that exchange which had been planned for six weeks. Before the NFL Draft in April, the Washington needs to zero in on three franchise players the organization needs to retain. Securing these key team members is a must for the future.
Washington Redskins Should Keep These Three Key Players
Preston Smith is an outside linebacker who specializes in rushing the opposing quarterback and can play on the line in certain packages. The Mississippi State product has been a force for the Redskins since he was drafted in 2015. Extending Smith with a new contract this off-season should be of the highest priority. In his first season Smith led all rookie’s with eight sacks and his motor has been non-stop ever since. His versatility and athleticism certainly warrants a new contract very soon. Smith’s extension should be a high priority before training camp opens.
Brandon Scherff was drafted by the Redskins in the first round of the 2015 draft and was regarded as the best offensive line prospect that season. He started at right guard to begin his rookie season and has been there ever since. First-round draft picks are signed to five-year deals and Scherff is entering only his fourth season in the NFL, so while the Redskins can possibly wait a year, the team must realize that extending Smith now and Scherff next off-season will be costly. But the organization needs to try to keep both players, if they can.
Another player who Washington should try to extend this off-season is Jamison Crowder. Yes, Crowder did have something of a slump during the 2017 season. However, it is likely that he rebounds in 2018 with a healthy offensive line and a newly added quarterback who had the highest quarterback rating in 2017.
The deal for Crowder will likely be reasonable and affordable, but putting if off until 2019 is not a positive step. Crowder had a sensational rookie campaign and it is likely he sees a lot of action and catches this coming season. Redskins fans may not like the idea of extending him, but this slot receiver is still worth a new contract.
Other Free Agents
There are several other remaining free agents the Redskins should try to retain as well. In 2017, Junior Galette regained some of his old form after being injured for two straight years. Washington should sign him to a new two or three year contract. Team president Bruce Allen should also entertain the idea of bringing back talented corner Bashaud Breeland after he failed a physical with the Carolina Panthers. The contract should be structured to include an injury clause and should be for no more than three years. In addition, Chris Carter and Zach Vigil should also be signed. All of these players can be signed to fair contracts and work from a salary cap perspective.
Smith and Crowder are the priorities in 2018, while Scherff should be the focus in 2019. The first domino to fall should be Smith and the sooner, the better.