Redskins Rumors

Redskins High On Tua Tagovailoa

Everyone seems pretty convinced that the Redskins will select Chase Young with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. In fact, no teams picking below the Lions at No. 3 have even bothered to contact the Ohio State sack machine. Young-to-D.C. remains the most likely outcome, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that Redskins head coach Ron Rivera is a big fan of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

[RELATED: Could Patriots Trade Up For Tua?]

Due to his surgically-repaired hip, Tagovailoa’s stock has been murky for months. However, the QB seems to have restored much of his luster through his voluntary medical exam and videos that show off his health and mobility.

If the Redskins stun the football world by taking Tagovailoa and putting Dwayne Haskins on the back-burner, they’ll create a domino effect throughout the rest of the first round. The Lions, for example, could be tempted to bypass trade-back opportunities in order to grab Young, who many believe to be a generational talent. No matter what, the Lions seem to be in excellent position at No. 3.

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Most NFL Teams Haven’t Talked To Chase Young

The entire NFL is convinced that defensive end Chase Young won’t fall past No. 3 overall. In fact, none of the teams picking at No. 4 or lower have reached out to the Ohio State superstar, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.

[RELATED: Chase Young NFL Draft Prospect Profile]

At this point, it would be shocking if the Bengals did not select LSU Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, followed by the Redskins taking Young at No. 2. Young’s absolute floor would probably be with the Lions at No. 3 overall. The Lions are believed to be targeting fellow Buckeye Jeff Okudah, and would perhaps trade down before trying to nab him, but they wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a potential generational talent in Young.

For what it’s worth, Rapoport also hears that the Redskins have “opened up the possibility” of taking a QB at No. 2. Still, that’d be a stunning move given Young’s potential and the presence of Dwayne Haskins. Recently, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report was told that they are not giving real consideration to a signal caller with the second pick.

According to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus, Young’s performance has been positively off the charts. His 2019 score slotted him ahead of Josh Allen (Kentucky, 2018), Nick Bosa (Ohio State, 2017), Myles Garrett (Texas A&M, 2015), and every other collegiate edge rusher dating back to 2014.

Young tallied 17 sacks in 2019, the most of any player in the FBS, despite serving a two-game ban.

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Ron Rivera: Redskins Wanted Amari Cooper

The Redskins didn’t pry Amari Cooper away from their divisional rivals this offseason, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. In a virtual presser on Tuesday, head coach Ron Rivera made it known that he was aggressive in his pursuit of the Cowboys star.

Amari was somebody we chased hard all the way until the end,” Rivera said (Twitter link via The Team 980). “We would’ve loved to have him a part of what we’re trying to do here. He would’ve been a great veteran presence.

The Redskins made their pitch to Cooper before he re-signed with the Cowboys on a five-year, $100MM extension. Had they landed him, Cooper would have made an immediate impact – the Redskins’ current group has a serious drop-off after rising sophomore Terry McLaurin. After they said farewell to Paul Richardson and lost tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, there’s a clear need for pass-catchers in D.C.

Ultimately, the Redskins could not compete with the Cowboys in this battle, due in large part to taxes. In Texas, Cooper doesn’t have to pay any state income tax, and those percentage points make a huge difference when it comes to a nine-figure contract.

Last year, Cooper set career-highs in receiving yards (1,189) and TDs (eight), his first full season in Dallas. That performance landed him his fourth career Pro Bowl nod.

The former first-round pick won’t turn 26 until June, so his very best football should still be ahead of him. The Cowboys certainly hope that’s the case – his five-year deal takes him through 2024 and includes $60MM in guaranteed cash.

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Redskins Won't Draft Quarterback Second Overall

  • New Redskins coach Ron Rivera has said ever since he took the position that Dwayne Haskins won’t just be handed the starting quarterback job and will need to compete. That has led to some rumblings that Washington could use the second overall pick on a quarterback, but that looks like it was all bluster. Sources told Miller that the Redskins are not considering using the pick on a passer, and it continues to look like Ohio State defensive end Chase Young will be the pick.

East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of ESPN.com that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).

Redskins’ Brandon Scherff Signs Franchise Tender

Brandon Scherff is officially headed back to Washington. The standout guard has signed his franchise tender to remain with the Redskins, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

As Schefter notes, him signing this early will require him to be at training camp, provided it proceeds as scheduled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scherff became the first guard to get franchise-tagged since all the way back in 2011. He’s set to make $14.8MM in 2020 under the tag. The tag system groups all offensive linemen together, which explains why it’s so rarely used on a guard. Scherff has certainly proved himself worthy of being the exception, making the Pro Bowl in three of the past four seasons.

The only time he didn’t make it in that span was in 2018, when he appeared in only eight games due to a torn pec. He was again banged up last year, missing five games with elbow and shoulder issues. The fifth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, Scherff is one of the few consistent players on Washington’s offense.

Given the continued uncertainty surrounding left tackle Trent Williams, it makes sense why the Redskins would want to take no chances with their other stud offensive lineman. The two sides still have until July to work out a long-term extension.

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Redskins To Stick With Dwayne Haskins As Starter?

Barring a major surprise or trade, the NFL Draft should kick off with the Bengals selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall and the Redskins taking Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second pick. Then, at No. 3, many expect the Lions to tap Buckeyes cornerback Jeff Okudah as a replacement for Darius Slay.

  • The Redskins haven’t ruled out a return for Alex Smith or a significant role for the newly acquired Kyle Allen. Still, head coach Ron Rivera expects rising sophomore Dwayne Haskins to be the team’s starter in 2020. “That’s what we’re going into camp believing, but they’re going to compete,” Rivera told WFNZ (via Peter King of NBC Sports). “We really like what we have in terms of our young quarterbacks. Kyle is a young guy who has a live arm, understands the game, understands how we do things, so I’m excited about what the potential could be.”

NFC Contract Details: Funchess, Blythe, Redskins, Cardinals

We’ve got a handful of contract details to pass along. We’ll start with the latest NFC notes, all via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter:

  • Devin Funchess, WR (Packers): One year, $2.5MM. Includes $3.75MM in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns incentives.
  • Austin Blythe, OL (Rams): One year. Worth $3.9MM, including $3.5MM guaranteed. $950K signing bonus, $2.95MM salary (of which $2.55MM is guaranteed).
  • Peyton Barber, RB (Redskins): Two year, $3MM. Includes $600K signing bonus. Salaries: $910K (2020), $1.14MM (2021). $150K per-game maximum roster bonus in 2020, $199K+ per-game maximum roster bonus in 2021.
  • Nate Orchard, LB (Redskins): Re-signed. One-year, $1.047MM deal. Includes $137.5K signing bonus, $910K salary.
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM. Includes $600K signing bonus, $3.1MM salary, $50K workout bonus.
  • Marcus Gilbert, OT (Cardinals): One year, $3.75MM. $1.05MM base salary (of which only $150K is guaranteed). Up to $2.7MM in playing time incentives.
  • Max Garcia, OL (Cardinals): Re-signed. One-year, $1.25MM deal, including $600K guaranteed. Up to $190K per-game maximum roster bonus, up to $1MM in playing time incentives.
  • Cameron Fleming, OL (Giants): Signed. One-year, $3.5MM deal (as opposed to previously-reported one-year, $4MM deal). Includes $2MM guaranteed. Up to $500K per-game roster bonus, up to $500K playing time incentives.
  • Kerry Hyder, DE (49ers): One year. $1.5MM, including $550K guaranteed. Up to $250K in per-game roster bonus.

Browns Edged Redskins For Austin Hooper

Several teams expressed interest in Austin Hooper, who became the first free agent to agree to a deal after the tampering period began. While the Browns won the bidding, they beat out a team with a much bigger tight end need.

Seeing their first- and second-string tight ends miss almost all of last season, and each now off the roster, the Redskins emerged as an early Hooper suitor. And the former Falcons tight end confirmed his final decision came down to the Browns and Redskins.

It really came down to Cleveland and Washington. At the end, I chose to be a Brown,” Hooper said during a Sirius XM Radio interview (via NBC Sports Washington). “Redskins were definitely a team that had shown interest I would say. Definitely a solid organization with another talented young quarterback, so that was going to be my next landing spot.”

The Redskins have moved forward without Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, releasing the former and seeing the latter retire. Ron Rivera pursued a Greg Olsen reunion, but the longtime Panthers tight end chose the Seahawks. Washington has since added Richard Rodgers and former quarterback Logan Thomas but likely is not done restocking this position group.

The Bears and Packers joined the Redskins in the Hooper mix, but the Browns — despite their David Njoku employment — won out with a $10.5MM-per-year offer. Chicago submitted a surprising offer to Jimmy Graham (two years, $16MM), while Green Bay re-signed Marcedes Lewis.

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Brandin Cooks Not On Trade Block?

The Rams have made some notable changes this offseason, with Todd Gurley‘s release being the biggest move from a team with some major questions atop its payroll. Brandin Cooks represents one of the big contracts on Los Angeles’ cap sheet, and a report earlier this month indicated the team was shopping him.

That no longer appears to be the case. The Rams do not have Cooks on the trade block, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Considering Cooks’ concussion-marred 2020 and $12MM in guarantees due this season, this makes sense. The Rams would not be expected to collect full value for the twice-traded wideout, who is signed through 2023.

Cooks’ 1,000-yard streak stopped at four. In a down year for the Rams’ offense, the 26-year-old target only produced 582 yards in 14 games. Cutting Cooks would not be a realistic move for the Rams, who already ate considerable dead money from the Gurley release. Were Cooks to be shopped, King lists the Eagles, Packers, Raiders or Redskins as potential suitors.

Los Angeles still has Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Woods, however, has outplayed his five-year, $34MM contract and Kupp is going into a contract year. Neither is in Cooks’ NFL tax bracket, but both outplayed him last season. Each surpassed 1,100 receiving yards in 2019. The former Saints and Patriots wideout, however, totaled a career-high 1,204 receiving yards in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.