Although other quarterback deals soon overshadowed this one, the Redskinsmade a commitment to Alex Smith. And the details of his contract have him entrenched in Washington into the next decade. Smith received a $27MM signing bonus, and his 2018 and ’19 base salaries — $13MM and $15MM, respectively — are also fully guaranteed at signing, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, Smith’s 2020 salary ($16MM) becomes fully guaranteed, per Tandler. So, barring something crazy, the Redskins are essentially tethered to Smith for three seasons. The deal runs through 2022, but non-guaranteed base salaries of $19MM and $21MM are on tap in those respective seasons. Washington would save $13MM by cutting Smith after the 2020 slate. Smith’s contract will call for cap hits of $18.4MM (2018), $20MM (2019), $21.4MM (’20), $24.4MM (’21) and $26.4MM (’22).
The Redskins opted to bring back veteran guard Shawn Lauvao for what will be a fifth season with the team, doing so possibly because of Arie Kouandjio‘s significant injury. Lauvao’s deal will be a one-year pact worth up to $2.39MM, John Keim of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 30-year-old lineman will earn $950K in base salary, per Keim, who adds this agreement includes a $300K signing bonus and a $200K roster bonus. While only $300K is guaranteed, Keim categorizes the $1MM incentive package as “likely to be earned.”
This offseason, new Browns GM John Dorsey brought Scot McCloughan on board as a consultant. But, after a front office shakeup, the former Redskins GM is no longer exclusive to the team, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes.
McCloughan, who helped steer the Browns towards selecting quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, has returned to consulting for multiple teams through his private company. Despite a messy divorce with the Redskins, it would not be surprising to see McCloughan back in the GM conversation for another team down the line.
While several long-time Browns scouts have been pushed out, Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry remains safe thanks to his relationship with team owners, Cabot hears. However, something will have to give as the Browns have three player personnel VPs in Berry, Alonzo Highsmith, and Ken Kovash.
This was the expected move after it was learned that Kouandjio would miss the entire 2018 season with a torn quadriceps muscle. If Kouandjio goes unclaimed on waivers – which is the likely outcome – he will land on the Redskins’ injured reserve list. From there, the Redskins can either keep him on IR or negotiate a settlement for his release.
Before the injury, Kouandjio was said to be performing well on the practice field and figured to be a staple in the rotation on the interior line. Without him, Shawn Lauvao appears to be a shoe-in to start at left guard with standout Brandon Scherff manning right guard.
The former fourth-round pick out of Alabama appeared in 17 games with Washington over the last three years and started in the final six games of last season.
Williams is no stranger to Washington. He entered the league with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and spent the year on their practice squad. Since then, he has spent time with the Chiefs and Colts.
Redskins guard Arie Kouandjio will miss the entire 2018 season, multiple sources tell John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Kouandjio recently went under the knife to repair a torn quadriceps muscle, but he will take longer than expected to recover.
Doctors tell the Redskins that Kouandjio will be out of action for six-to-eight months. That timeline should allow him to return in full health for 2019, but he won’t be able to partake in football activities for a while.
This marks a disappointing development for the Redskins as they were high on his offseason work up until this setback. Without Kouandjio, the Redskins will likely use the recently re-signing Shawn Lauvao as their starting left guard with Brandon Scherff mirroring him on the right.
The 2015 fourth-round pick out of Alabama has appeared in 17 games with Washington. Injuries decimated the Washington offensive line in 2017, resulting in three of its five Week 1 starters — Trent Williams, Spencer Long and Lauvao — missing at least six games. Kouandjio filled in as a starter in six of his eight games that season.
This turned out to be an important year for quarterback acquisitions. Many teams’ short- and long-term futures will depend heavily on the players they added over the past two months.
A fourth of the NFL made major investments in outside talent at the quarterback position this offseason. Which team did you think is in the best position after all the dominoes fell?
Three teams acquired their unquestioned starters via trade or free agency. The Redskins’ trade for Alex Smith ensured they were not going to pick a quarterback in the draft. As did the Vikings’ subsequent Kirk Cousins agreement. The Broncos entered the draft as a borderline QB destination, but John Elway valuedBradley Chubb more than Josh Allen or Josh Rosen, eschewing a Bills offer that would have given his team extra first- and second-round picks. So, Case Keenum is going to be Denver’s starter.
Four of the five teams that used first-round picks on quarterbacks made sure to add bridge-type solutions, with the Browns moving first to get Tyrod Taylor. The Jets and Cardinals then respectively proceeded to bring in Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. And the Bills made the final stopgap addition in A.J. McCarron. But these players, for the most part, are 2018 placeholders — at best.
The Bills worked the phones relentlessly in an effort to install Allen behind McCarron, and the Cardinals reportedly had the Wyoming prodigy rated as their top QB as well. But Allen could need extensive seasoning, and as of now, a returning playoff team has a fifth-year player with 133 career pass attempts set to open the season and possibly close it as the starter.
Conversely, the player the Cardinals invested in was tabbed by many draft experts as the readiest pro. And Bradford being in front of Rosen for 16 games may be asking a lot from the injury-prone veteran. The Ravens are already planning Jackson packages, and although the player whom some teams wanted to work out as a wide receiver may need a season to develop, this draft’s most dominant college QB resides in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco.
Armed with one of the league’s most talented rosters, Minnesota had the most obvious case to pursue a veteran. And the Vikings made history by authorizing a $28MM-AAV fully guaranteed deal for the soon-to-be 30-year-old Cousins, who may be the safest option among all of these players. But he’s now the league’s second-highest-paid passer and tethered to the Vikings through 2020. Smith is coming off his best NFL season, but his Chiefs teams disappointed in two home playoff opportunities. Washington could also be much further away from contention than Minnesota, and the Redskins have now brought in quarterback who for all the stability he offers is four years older.
It’s debatable the Broncos’ contention window could still be open, with many of their core Super Bowl 50 performers still on the team and having played the past two seasons without much help at quarterback. But a 5-11 team armed with only its second top-five pick since 1992 passing on two coveted QB prospects to pursue the 30-year-old Keenum, a late-blooming talent or a player who benefited from better circumstances, could also be classified as a bold choice as Rosen and Allen’s careers unfold. The Broncos only committed to Keenum for two years and are paying Football Outsiders’ No. 4 2017 DYAR passer $10MM less per year than Cousins commanded.
So, with all things considered, which of these franchises is best set up after this offseason? Did one of the teams that spent a first-round pick on a QB ensure a decade and then some of stability and promise? Or did the teams that went strictly for vets get this right? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!
Arie Kouandjio will undergo surgery, but his recovery time will be far longer than the Eagles’ spate of defensive players who opted for operations. The Redskins guard suffered an injury which Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is calling a partially torn quadriceps and will soon have surgery (Twitter link). It’s unclear at this point how long Kouandjio will be out, but Rapoport notes the recovery time will likely be several months. A recent report pegged Kouandjio as a possible IR candidate, but after this update categorizes the malady as a partially torn quad, the interior blocker may be able to avoid such a distinction.
The Redskins announced that they’ve hired Brian Lafemina as their new president of business operations and chief operating officer. While the hiring doesn’t involve football operations on its face, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculates that Lafemina’s addition could be a precursor the Washington parting ways with much-maligned team president Bruce Allen. However, the Redskins’ press release states Allen will continue in his current role, while John Keim of ESPN.com hears Twitter link) Lafemina will focus mainly on stadium development.
One of the candidates to work as the Redskins‘ starting left guard may not be able to factor into that competition. Arie Kouandjio is believed to have suffered a torn quadriceps muscle, JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington reports. Kouandjio’s season is now in jeopardy, per Finlay, who notes this injury could sideline him for the rest of 2018. Despite not making the Redskins’ 53-man roster out of camp, Kouandjio started the final six games for Washington at guard after the Redskins signed him off the Ravens’ practice squad. The 2015 Washington fourth-round pick made two starts in 2016 as well. Washington re-signed Shawn Lauvao, and Finlay notes it’s uncertain if Kouandjio suffered this significant malady before or after that agreement occurred. The 30-year-old Lauvao’s been the Redskins’ primary left guard since the 2014 season. The team also drafted Louisville tackle Geron Christian and still has Ty Nsekhe in the backup mix.
Sean McVay‘s departure appears to have helped influence the Redskins to protect another young decision-maker. The franchise recently jettisoned longtime scoutScott Campbell, and Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes that 34-year-old exec Kyle Smith ran this year’s draft after Campbell held that responsibility in 2017. The Redskins are envisioning Smith playing a big role for the franchise in the coming years, per Tandler. Smith is the son of former Chargers GM A.J. Smith.