Thursday, February 20, 2014
Quick takes: 2008 class; Hall's deal
By John Keim
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, DeAngelo Hall’s deal only includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money. The fact that it averages $4.25 million is meaningless considering how back loaded some deals are, leaving them unlikely to see the final years.
But giving him $5.25 million in guaranteed cash makes this essentially a two-year deal in terms of when you can make a move with him. If you want to, that is. As well as Hall played this past season, you always have to brace for a big drop-off with corners once they hit a certain age. But it’s not hard right now to expect him to play at a good level for the next two years. (And if they can get a Seattle-like pass rush, then his ability to play physical in press-man coverage would be enhanced.)
So this really isn’t a bad deal for Washington. The corner market was suppressed last offseason and I can’t imagine with the salary cap not going up much that it would change this offseason. Hall did not receive much attention in 2013, so this was a good way for him to lock up guaranteed cash. Plus, he’s always stated that he wanted to return to Washington.
The last I heard (a few days ago), the Redskins had not yet discussed a new deal with linebacker Rob Jackson. That doesn’t mean they won’t talk at some point. But there’s not a big rush with him because he’s not the sort of player who signs immediately in free agency. The Redskins' top priority is re-signing Brian Orakpo, so if he stays, there’s little reason to bring back Jackson (who wants to go somewhere to start). And if Orakpo somehow bolts (guys like him sign early), then Jackson likely would still be available.
The Washington Post reported that the Redskins want at least a second-round pick for quarterback Kirk Cousins. That sets the market, but there was zero surprise in that "demand." There was no chance a team would surrender a first-round pick for Cousins and, at this time (nearly three months before the draft), why would the Redskins give him up for a third-rounder? A second-rounder was the believed starting price all along. Just because Mike Shanahan once said he thought they might get a first-round pick for him does not mean that was the asking price. And that was before Cousins played the final three games. You can't pin everything on Cousins in those games -- just like you can't blame Robert Griffin III for all that went wrong when he played -- but Cousins did not show enough to warrant a first-round pick. A second-rounder is asking a lot and I'd have a real tough time seeing anyone at the front of the second giving that to the Redskins.
With Fred Davis now suspended (my initial reaction), here’s a final tally on those three second-round picks the Redskins made in 2008. Malcolm Kelly (whom the training staff told the team they shouldn’t draft because of his knees) caught 28 passes in two seasons, was placed on injured reserve for a third and then cut the following year. He never played with another team. Devin Thomas caught 40 passes in his two-plus seasons before being cut early in his third. Unlike Kelly, he played again, with Carolina and the New York Giants (winning a Super Bowl). But he caught just three passes after leaving Washington. At least Davis stuck around for a while and caught 162 passes. But he underachieved as well.
That’s the thing about these players: They not only underachieved here, but it’s not like they went elsewhere and prospered. I would not expect Davis, if he’s ever reinstated, to flourish with another team. For that you’d have to learn lessons and make changes.
What a mighty whiff of a draft class, especially with the second-rounders. Only one player from that 10-member class was an NFL starter last season – third-round offensive lineman Chad Rinehart (San Diego). And only two others were still in the NFL – Davis and Jackson. Of the other seven players, only two even played beyond 2010 (Thomas and corner Justin Tryon). That’s pathetic.
It could be that Jackson is the only player in that class who maximized his potential considering he was a seventh-round pick. Actually, I think it’s safe to say that was the case.
Just to refresh your memory, here’s the class: Thomas (2nd round), Davis (2), Kelly (2); Rinehart (3), Tryon (4); punter Durant Brooks (6), Kareem Moore (6), quarterback Colt Brennan (6), Jackson (7) and Chris Horton (7).
The big things to pay attention to at the combine over the next week: the physicals and the interviews. For the latter, it’s not about saying the right things for most teams, rather it’s about putting some of the players in front of the whiteboard or TV and going over plays from their college days; see how well they can explain their jobs, etc. The athletic part of the combine is designed to confirm what scouts thought of a guy from the previous six months of work.