Josh Norman deal helps Redskins to B offseason grade
Washington won the NFC East last year, but exited the playoffs early after a loss to the Packers in the wildcard round. Here’s a look at the offseason moves for Washington as they try to strengthen the roster in preparation for defending their division title in 2016:
Offseason grade: B
New arrivals: CB Josh Norman, DE Kendall Reyes, S David Bruton
Re-signings: QB Kirk Cousins, S Duke Ihenacho, DE Junior Galette, CB Will Blackmon
Departures: DE Jason Hatcher, S Dashon Goldson, QB Robert Griffin III, NT Terrance Knighton, RB Alfred Morris, CB Cary Williams
Washington parted ways with several players, either by letting them walk or waiving them entirely. But for the most part, replacing the production from those no longer with the team shouldn’t be difficult. They were able to retain Kirk Cousins, and at this point, have avoided overpaying him on a long-term deal after just one full season of above-average play.
Their biggest move was being able to sign CB Josh Norman after his unexpected availability. The Redskins also brought in David Bruton to help address the safety position. He’s played over 300 snaps in a season just once, but he’s graded well on limited playing time, and his addition gives them some much-needed depth in the secondary. The one questionable move was signing Kendall Reyes, who has consistently graded among the worst 3-4 defensive ends over the past three seasons, even if to a relatively small one-year contract as a likely backup.
2016 NFL draft
- Round 1 (pick No. 22 from Houston) Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
- Round 2 (pick No. 53) Su’a Cravens, S, USC
- Round 3 (pick No. 84) Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
- Round 5 (pick No. 152 from New Orleans) Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
- Round 6 (pick No. 187 from New Orleans) Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
- Round 7 (pick No. 232 from Tampa Bay) Steven Daniels, ILB, Boston College
- Round 7 (pick No. 242) Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
In the first round, Washington scooped up our No. 2 wide receiver in the draft class in Josh Doctson, who earned the top receiving grade in the nation last year despite missing multiple games. The safety-linebacker hybrid Su’a Cravens proved he can play well against the run or in coverage at both positions, and will give the defense some versatility in packages, while LB Steven Daniels could be a sleeper pick after earning the top run-defense grade in the nation among off-ball linebackers last year. Fuller is the biggest question mark of the class after he earned a negative grade in coverage last season before getting injured. However, he was solid in 2014, and could still be a decent pick if that season is more reflective of the player he will be.
Outside of using the franchise tag on Cousins, it looked like it was going to be a quiet free agency period for the Redskins. But the team made a big move to get one of the best cornerbacks in the league by quickly signing Josh Norman after he became available weeks after the start of free agency. In addition to Norman, they addressed their secondary problems with the Bruton signing and two day-two draft picks. The team also invested in another receiving threat and signed Jordan Reed to a contract extension as they try to build the offense around Cousins.
While Washington did move on from a few starters, the majority have already been replaced. Parting ways with Alfred Morris, whose run grade has decreased every year since his impressive rookie campaign, should not be a big deal in itself. However, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson do not look like the future at the position, and they did little to otherwise address it.
Jones graded below-average as a runner, receiver, and pass-blocker last year, earning an overall grade that ranked 65th out of 68 qualifying running backs, and 61st as purely a runner. Moreover, the lone running back addition was the selection of Keith Marshall in the seventh round, who had only played 155 snaps over the past two years in college due to a combination of injuries and being low on the depth chart.
Still, it was an overwhelmingly positive offseason for Washington—a team that has done well to set up the roster for a run at defending their division title.
Washington Redskins’ projected base offense in 2016: