Washington Redskins: DeAngelo Hall

The Washington Redskins' defense is optimistic about where it's headed, thanks to the addition of Jason Hatcher and a tweaked philosophy regarding the pass rush. Whether their play matches that optimism always remains the biggest hurdle. What's not in doubt: They will have two players among the most expensive at their positions when it comes to the salary cap. The fact both are in their front seven isn't a coincidence as the Redskins' offseason goal has been to improve the pass rush. So, after breaking down where the Redskins' top cap hits at each position offensively stood in comparison to their NFL counterparts earlier this week, it's time to take a look at the defense.

Safety

NFL's top five cap hits
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs $11,619,700
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers, $10,100,000
Antrel Rolle, New York Giants, $9,250,000
Dashon Goldson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $9,000,000
Michael Griffin, Tennessee Titans, $8,000,000

Meriweather
Redskins' top cap hit
Brandon Meriweather (59th), $1,000,000

Summing it up: Notice who’s not in the top five? Jairus Byrd, after his new deal with New Orleans. But don’t worry: He’s set to take up the most cap room in 2015 at $10.3 million. I like Byrd, but not at that figure (I’d have paid Sean Taylor that sort of cash). But Byrd was never really a legitimate option for the Redskins. Mike Mitchell was and he’ll count $2.2 million this season and $4.95 million in 2015. But the overriding point is Washington views the best way to help this position is by bolstering the pass rush. Starters Meriweather and Ryan Clark both are on one-year contracts, so this position is still a question mark beyond this season (and still will be one entering the year).

Corner

NFL's top five cap hits
Brandon Carr, Dallas, $12,217,000
Johnathan Joseph, Houston, $11,250,000
Lardarius Webb, Baltimore, $10,500,000
Brandon Flowers, Kansas City, $10,500,000
Tramon Williams, Green Bay, $9,500,000

Porter
Redskins' top cap hit
Tracy Porter (43rd), $2,800,000

Summing it up: Next season, Darrelle Revis' cap hit jumps to $25 million. Which means he’s playing on a one-year deal. Is it a good thing the Redskins’ biggest cap hit here belongs to Porter, who has battled injury issues along with consistency during his career? Of course, it’s not like he occupies a lot of space. DeAngelo Hall's cap hit is $2,062,500 but that jumps to $4,812,500 in 2015. By then the Redskins need young corner David Amerson to have fully emerged -- can he become their best corner? If not, then they’ll have to start looking for a No. 1 corner. By the way, the top five on the list for 2014? They’ve combined for four Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro spot (Joseph). But Carr did do a good job vs. Washington last year in the first game but not the second (and in at least one game against then-Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson).

Linebacker

NFL's top five cap hits
Lawrence Timmons, $11,816,250
Tamba Hali, Kansas City, $11,464,706
Brian Orakpo, Washington, $11,455,000
Clay Matthews, Green Bay, $10,943,750
James Laurinaitis, St. Louis, $10,400,000

Orakpo
Redskins' top cap hit
Orakpo

Summing it up: That’s quite a list for Orakpo to be part of, but to stay on there after this season -- at least in Washington -- he’ll have to be a little more productive. But even if he has another season like last year, Orakpo will still be in the $10-million range. When Hali got paid, he responded with sack totals of 12, nine and 11 in the next three seasons (with nine forced fumbles and one interception). I don’t think anyone says Hali's overpaid (well, at least not many). In Orakpo’s last three full seasons, he has a combined 27.5 sacks, but only four forced fumbles. More game-changing plays and he’ll get the contract he desires. Another interesting part on this is that two of the five are inside linebackers, though Timmons plays in a 3-4 and Laurinaitis in a 4-3.

Defensive tackle

NFL's top five cap hits
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit, $22,412,000
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore, $16,000,000
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay, $15,627,253
Geno Atkins, Cincinnati, $9,000,000
Barry Cofield, Washington, $7,667,500

Cofield
Redskins' top cap hit
Cofield

Summing it up: Cofield’s base salary jumped from $840,000 last season to $4.55 million (the lower figure was the result of a restructuring last spring in which $3.5 million in base salary was converted to a signing bonus). This is as high as Cofield’s cap number will be and in two years it falls to $6,877,500. I know the coaches felt he would become the NFL’s top nose tackle by this time. That’s not the case, but Cofield does have his strengths and has done a nice job with Washington. For a short stretch last season he was playing as well as anyone on the team defensively, and he always plays hard. He’ll be helped by having Hatcher in the pass rush, perhaps giving Cofield more one-on-one matchups. If that happens, then perhaps Cofield will have the sort of season in all phases that coaches have hoped for.

Defensive end

NFL's top five cap hits
Mario Williams, Buffalo, $18,800,000
Charles Johnson, Carolina, $16,420,000
Chris Long, St. Louis, $14,900,000
Greg Hardy, Carolina, $13,116,000
Calais Campbell , Arizona, $11,250,000

Bowen
Redskins' top cap hit
Stephen Bowen (15th), $7,020,000

Summing it up: All of the top five on this list play in a 4-3, where ends can excel as playmakers and, therefore, command big bucks. The 3-4 ends, typically, are not -- with some exceptions. Bowen has not been a playmaker, though for a while he was an effective player both against the run and as a rusher. However, he has just one sack since the 2011 season (26 games). And after microfracture surgery and being 30, I wonder about the level at which he’ll be able to play. Multiple Redskins sources said they still expect him to be in the Redskins' plans, but will it be at this cap figure? That's a big hit for someone in his situation. If Bowen returns healthy and plays well, the Redskins will greatly benefit. If not? That's a lot of cap room to occupy. One more note: Johnson and Hardy combine for approximately 23 percent of Carolina's cap.
In the fifth part of our re-examining series, I take a look at cornerback where the Redskins made a couple moves, though only one key addition. Already this week I've discussed safeties, the pass rush, receivers and the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeDeAngelo Hall
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliDeAngelo Hall is back for his seventh season in Washington.
What they’ve done: Re-signed DeAngelo Hall, re-signed E.J. Biggers, signed Tracy Porter, let Josh Wilson leave via free agency.


Problem solved: Tough to say that considering it’s largely the same group that’s returning. But the corner play wasn’t nearly the same issue as safety. Porter is coming off a solid year and should be improved over Wilson in the slot in coverage. Amerson’s progression will be a big key here. Hall isn’t going to get better but if he duplicates last season they’d be happy; Biggers is fine as a fourth corner. They still could use one more corner to compete with Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford. Overall this group still has a lot to prove.

Projected starters: Hall and Amerson with Porter in the slot.

What must happen: Amerson must be able to handle a starting role after serving as the No. 3 corner during his rookie season. Amerson definitely improved throughout the year, cutting down on his mental lapses in coverage. He was better with his eyes throughout the play later in the year. He learned to play press coverage last season, which should be a good tactic for him because of his long arms. He needs to show consistency and prove he can handle consistently tougher assignments as a starter (though it’s not as if he only played lesser receivers; he did a good job vs. Denver’s Eric Decker, for example). Amerson will have to show he can handle run game duties, too.

Porter has to play at a comparable level to 2013 -- I know what some rankings say about him, but those who watched him every game and in practice called him the Raiders' most consistent corner. In the games I watched of him this offseason (Indianapolis, Denver and Dallas), he was solid. He showed good patience in the slot while facing receivers such as Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker and Miles Austin (and occasionally Eric Decker or even Dez Bryant, who was a mismatch inside against him). When Porter allowed bigger catches, it typically came off an excellent move and good throw because he still had tight coverage. He’s willing to play the run, but Wilson was stronger in this area. And Porter showed he could blitz from the slot. Porter’s previous seasons weren't that strong, which is why he’s on his fourth team in four years. Injuries have been an issue in his career; last season was his first playing 16 games and only his second of more than 12. So staying healthy is a big key. Hall needs to maintain the same level of intensity he showed in 2013 when facing many top receivers. He played well and was most effective in press coverage. Hall also turns 31 this season and he was not as consistent in other coverages.

Address in the draft: Sure, but not until the later rounds. It would be a waste to select a corner in the second round knowing they would serve as a No. 4 at best. It’s not like, say, outside linebacker where they’d be used in packages to bolster the pass rush. What if the corner is by far their best on the board? OK. But short of that, they can address the position later in the draft and try to develop the player. They need depth right now, not starters (you can debate the quality of them; but they’re invested and it’s not a need). Next year? Different story. Minnifield and Crawford still have something to prove; the former spent most of the year on the practice squad and the latter missed all season with multiple torn ligaments. It’s asking a lot to expect him to be at the same level he was entering camp last summer. When he entered camp he and the coaches felt good about how he had improved in the slot. The feisty Minnifield has to show he can be effective in more coverages than just press.

Last word: This group will definitely be helped by increased quarterback pressure. Too often last season the coverages didn’t seem to match the rush, for whatever reason. And when they’d play zone, that’s when they’d get into trouble. They’re not good enough to just play press man all day. Few corners are so they must be able to play a variety of coverages. But if you know the pressure will get home, then you can play tighter even in zones. If safety Ryan Clark has anything left, he’ll also help in two ways: making sure everyone is lined up right (sounds little, but it’s not) and providing trust that he’ll be where he’s supposed to, allowing the corners to play accordingly. It matters.
When you take a look at the Redskins’ salary-cap breakdown defensively, it becomes clear – if it wasn’t already. They’re spending a lot more on their front seven, compared to the NFL average, than the back four. That means they’d best hope that an improved pass rush compensates for what they couldn’t add in the secondary.

For the record, Washington has approximately $2.8 million of salary-cap space remaining, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Anyway, here’s a defensive breakdown by position (and click here for the offensive breakdown) with numbers courtesy of the ESPN Stats & Information gang:

Defensive line

Number on roster: 11
Total percentage of cap space: 20.57
Total cap value: $26,516,642
NFL average: $21,632,204
Biggest cap hit: Barry Cofield ($7,667,500).
Underpaid: Tough to say anyone is here, though if Jason Hatcher produces, then his $3.75 million cap hit will be a huge bargain. Jarvis Jenkins has a $1.5 million cap hit, which is below average for an NFL defensive lineman. Chris Baker will have a higher cap figure this season ($2 million). But I wrestle with calling Jenkins underpaid; I’d like to see more plays.
Looking to the future: Jenkins and Chris Neild are free agents after this season. But if Baker and/or Clifton Geathers show they can be more than part-time players then it gives the Redskins option should they let Jenkins walk. Stephen Bowen has a $7.02 million cap hit this season and it jumps by another million in 2015. I can’t imagine he plays at those numbers, not coming off microfracture surgery. But if he does play at that figure this season, the Redskins – if they want – could release him next offseason and get a $5.5 million cap savings. Multiple people in the organization have said Bowen remains in the plans for 2014.

Linebacker

Number on roster: 12
Total percentage of cap space: 18.5
Total cap value: $23,901,881
NFL average: $15,201,455
Biggest cap hit: Brian Orakpo ($11,455,000)
Underpaid: Ryan Kerrigan will count $2.8 million against the cap, a much lower sum than he’ll soon receive. If Akeem Jordan wins the starting inside linebacker job next to Perry Riley, then you could consider him underpaid as he’ll only count $635,000 against the cap and also would be a big help on special teams.
Looking to the future: Kerrigan is in the last year of his rookie contract, but the Redskins have until May 3 to decide whether to extend it by one year (at an average fourth through 25th highest-paid players at his position). Jordan, Rob Jackson and Darryl Sharpton all signed one-year deals this offseason. If the Redskins don't draft an inside linebacker, they have to hope Keenan Robinson stays healthy and shows why teammates have praised his talent since his arrival.

Cornerback

Number on roster: 7
Total percentage of cap space: 6.1
Total cap value: $7,873,638
NFL average: $12,316,626
Biggest cap hit: Tracy Porter ($2,800,000)
Underpaid: DeAngelo Hall is coming off his best season in Washington and will count only $2.1 million against the cap – 55 corners will occupy more cap space.
Looking to the future: E.J. Biggers is the only corner who will be a free agent after this season. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft someone else, in case Hall’s play slips that much or Porter doesn’t help or just to add depth. Richard Crawford still has to prove his knee is sound and that he’ll continue improving. Same with Chase Minnifield.


Safety

Number on roster: 7
Total percentage of cap space: 2.91
Total cap value: $3,746,719
NFL average: $8,237,006
Biggest cap hit: Brandon Meriweather ($1 million)
Underpaid: No one here is underpaid, though if Ryan Clark can coax out another good year and help groom some young safeties, then his $635,000 cap hit will qualify. But they also have to have young safeties worth grooming.
Looking to the future: Meriweather and Clark have one-year deals, which means the Redskins could well be in the same position next offseason in looking for starting safeties. Of course, they could still draft one (I would) and hope that between the rookie and the two young holdovers from last year, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, that they’ll find one starter and then only need to find one more. Thomas must prove that he’s not only healthy but can move as he did before the Lisfranc injury. Rambo has to earn a job this year. Neither holdover is a given to be a starter – in 2014 or beyond.
 

Newly signed Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson said he didn't flash gang signs at cornerback DeAngelo Hall in a game last season.

Hall
Jackson
While playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jackson flashed two fingers at Hall at the line of scrimmage. Reports in the past week have raised questions about whether it was a gang sign. Speaking Friday afternoon to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Jackson said he does know gang members from growing up in South Central Los Angeles but isn't affiliated with any gangs.

"I did flick something at him, but as far as it being a gang sign, that wasn't a gang sign," Jackson said. "I think a lot of people overlook the situation with me and DeAngelo Hall. After the game was over, ESPN, people taking pictures, people saying this, people saying that. Me and DeAngelo Hall, that's like a big brother to me. Me and him have a lot of respect for each other. That's on the field, man, things happen like that at times. But as far as it being a gang sign that necessarily wasn't what it was. The aggression got up to a point where you're going back and forth and you're saying things. It's all friendly, but at the same time, it's a game we play and emotions get out there. Things are happening. As far as the signs that I throw up, I think that's the culture nowadays. I think a lot of people throw gestures up or do signs or peace here and there. In my eyes, there's nothing more of it being a gang sign."

Hall told Smith he's happy to have Jackson as a teammate.

Still, the perception of Jackson being affiliated with gangs could raise questions about his mindset. He reiterated several times during the interview he's not a gang member or affiliated with any gangs.

The Eagles cut ties with the veteran playmaker March 28, the same day a story on NJ.com discussed his alleged gang connections in his native California. Jackson said he was hurt that the Eagles cut him and also said the story in NJ.com was disrespectful. A league source told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that the team had numerous reasons for cutting Jackson and none more than his work ethic and attitude.

Jackson was also asked about photos on social media web sites that show him flashing signs with his hands.

"They are seeing what they're seeing," said Jackson, when asked if those were gang signs. "The perception of the signs, is whoever wants to make it out to be. As far as myself, I grew up in a community where I know how sensitive that topic can get, I know how easily a color or a hat that you're wearing can all have an association with a certain gang. That's the environment that I come from. When my guys that I grow up with -- when we have signs that we throw up to each other -- it's like a shoutout, or when I score a touchdown, I put up a sign and they see it; it keeps me connected with the boys I grew up with."video

DeSean Jackson: 'Moving on'

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DeSean Jackson wasn’t chatty when Channel 6 ABC reporter Jeff Skversky caught up with him at Dulles Airport in Virginia. But he also didn’t ignore the questions, telling Skversky he’s looking to the future.

"Moving on, bro. I don't have nothing to say about anything. I'm just moving on," Jackson said.

He used the same phrase when asked if he was mad at the Eagles for releasing him.

Jackson had arrived for a visit with Washington that included a dinner with members of the Redskins’ coaching staff, including head coach Jay Gruden, and an official visit at the facility Tuesday. Jackson hung out with Redskins players Pierre Garcon and DeAngelo Hall Monday night.

Various unconfirmed reports out of Philadelphia -- from 97.5's Tim McManus to Skversky -- stated that the former Eagles receiver had agreed to a deal Monday night. No deal had been signed as of early Tuesday morning. Regardless, the two sides appear to be moving that way.

If the Redskins do land Jackson, they become a potentially scary offense. Their one missing piece was a consistent deep threat and they have a quarterback who throws a good deep ball. Robert Griffin III doesn't have Michael Vick's arm, but he does have a good one. Now he'll potentially have Jackson, Garcon and Andre Roberts to throw to in addition to tight end Jordan Reed. All have good speed. Garcon is more dangerous on tougher routes underneath than on go routes, but he is fast and productive.

As the Eagles start to pull away from the division with a good offseason, the addition of Jackson would give the Redskins some momentum. Both teams still have work to do defensively. But if Griffin regains his big-play ability and Jackson isn't a distraction for a first-time head coach, then the Redskins will have firepower. They also have running back Alfred Morris, who has rushed for 2,888 yards in his first two seasons combined.

Jackson told Skversky he's confident his fans in Philadelphia won’t abandon him. That could be true -- until Jackson reminds them what they no longer have. This will be a move, if it indeed is finalized Tuesday, that could rile up two fan bases.

Redskins re-sign E.J. Biggers

March, 27, 2014
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The Redskins restored some depth at cornerback, re-signing E.J. Biggers Thursday. Biggers confirmed the news via text message.

He signed a one-year deal. Last offseason he received a $350,000 signing bonus and a base salary of $650,000.

Biggers played a variety of roles for Washington last season, serving as their fourth cornerback. That’s the role he’ll likely fill in 2014 as well with DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson as the starters and Tracy Porter as the slot corner. Biggers also filled in some at safety in certain packages as the Redskins hoped to get more speed on the field.

Biggers has started 29 games in his career, including five last season with Washington. He has four interceptions in his career, one coming last season.

Washington also has Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford at corner, though the latter must prove that he's healthy coming off torn ligaments. So the only real change thus far at corner has been swapping out Josh Wilson for Porter. Wilson remains unsigned and will not return. Porter has the reputation of being a better cover corner than Wilson, though Wilson is probably more physical.

Tracy Porter receives mixed review

March, 26, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- It wasn’t a glowing endorsement. It wasn’t a rip job, either. Oakland coach Dennis Allen praised his former player, Tracy Porter. He also gave him a lukewarm report.

Porter
Porter, who signed with Washington in free agency, played for Allen at each stop of his first six seasons. So Allen liked Porter enough to bring him from New Orleans to Denver and then to the Raiders. But not enough to keep him from going to Washington.

“I thought Tracy played well at times; there were times where I thought he could have done more things for us,” Allen said. “But I go way back with Tracy. I’ve seen him grow up in this league. He still has good football left in him. He brings a top-notch cover corner in this league. He can cover.”

That comment certainly would be up for debate by some skeptics. But Raider insiders say Porter played as well as any of the team’s defensive backs. In Washington, Porter likely will be the slot corner (assuming David Amerson and DeAngelo Hall are the starters).

“He has the quickness to match up in the slot and he has the intelligence and knowledge to play in there,” Allen said. “He can react quickly to various situations, various plays, various formations. He has a good feel for the game. That’s what you have to have to play inside in the slot.”

Allen blames injuries for Porter’s inability to stick with a team in recent years. After a four-year stint in New Orleans, he played in Denver for a season and then the Raiders. He’s played every game in a season once (2013) and 12 games or less four times.

“The biggest hurdle for him has been durability,” Allen said. “That’s the biggest [reason] why he’s bounced around a little bit. But as far as being a guy who can play and cover, he can do that.”

The Redskins hope that’s indeed the case. Otherwise, they'll need to address this position in 2015, too.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Some leftover tidbits from a conversation with Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, ranging from the lingering impact of the salary-cap penalty and how aware they are of upcoming contracts:

1. The salary cap penalty remained an issue. The Redskins could only spend a little bit the past two offseasons because of the salary-cap penalties. They had around $30 million to spend, but that was before they franchised linebacker Brian Orakpo. And they needed to fill many holes that they could not do in 2012 and '13.

“There's clearly a ripple effect,” Allen said. “The teams that had a lot of cap room this year carried cap room over from previous years. Could Perry [Riley] or [Brian] Orakpo and DeAngelo [Hall] have been signed a year ago? Yeah, probably. But that's in the rear view mirror as well. We're dealing. ... It's not an excuse.”

But because of the cap problems, the Redskins needed to build depth in certain areas and find starters elsewhere. They were not a player or two from a complete roster.

“We were clearly not in position to put all of our eggs in one basket,” Allen said, “and the way we approached it and are continuing to -- free agency will end in July -- and there will be a new wave of players getting released after the draft. In saying that, we were able to identify the guys that we could fit into this year's cap, allow our young players on our roster to still grow and develop.”

2. One agent said Allen likes to “slow-play” negotiations. Allen said that's not true in every case, but the fact that they needed so many players caused them to be more disciplined and conservative on some contracts.

“Each negotiation is unique. You can't have one style because every player is different and every agent is different. There are some people we've done more deals with that go quicker and then others [don't]. ...

"Once again, we weren't looking for one or two players. If we're looking for one player or two players I'd imagine negotiations would have gone very quick.”

3. They are well aware of contracts coming up in the next several seasons, including left tackle Trent Williams, quarterback Robert Griffin III, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and running back Alfred Morris.

They'll also have to potentially deal with receiver Pierre Garcon's contract.

“Even before the offer is made Eric [Schaffer] does a great job of giving us what the future looks like if and when the player says yes to our proposal.”

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

March, 22, 2014
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Part 2 of the Washington Redskins mailbag features Kirk Cousins trade talk, Tracy Porter's position, Bacarri Rambo's odds of starting and draft talk. Get used to the last one.

 

Resetting the roster: Cornerback

March, 21, 2014
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Taking a look at the Washington Redskins' cornerbacks 10 days into free agency:

On the roster: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, Peyton Thompson, Ryan Mouton.

Added in free agency: Tracy Porter.

Still unsigned: E.J. Biggers, Josh Wilson. Biggers seems to still be in their plans, though I have not heard much in the last several days on this front. My guess is he will be re-signed, likely on another one-year contract. Wilson was replaced as the slot corner by Porter.

On the market: Dimitri Patterson, Carlos Rogers, Phillip Adams, Terrell Thomas, Jabari Greer. This group is more about adding depth than finding starters, but the Redskins do need depth. Patterson started out with Washington as an undrafted free agent, appearing in one game. Rogers is another ex-Redskin, of course, and is probably limited to slot duty at this stage. Thomas has drawn interest from Carolina and Oakland. I don’t think he would add a whole lot. I have not heard of them being in on any other corners since signing Porter. Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner never visited.

What it means thus far: The Redskins still need to add players here even if Biggers returns. He was OK for them last season, showing enough versatility to line up at safety. However, as other coaches have said, there is a difference between lining up there and actually being a threat, say, in the box. That’s not a knock on Biggers, who was put into a role he had never played or should be playing. Biggers at least has length and, if he’s your fourth corner you’re in OK shape. I would not say the Redskins are in great shape here, however. Hall is coming off a solid year, but can he maintain that level? Amerson definitely improved and should be ready for the starting job.

I wonder about Minnifield and what sort of improvement he’ll show this spring and summer. He was feisty in press-man coverage last summer, but needed work on other coverages. That’s common for new players, let alone one coming off two knee surgeries in six months. There’s also Crawford, who showed improvement in the slot before tearing ligaments in his knee. But he needs to prove he can get back to that level. But I’d draft one in the first four rounds, a bigger one at that; doesn't have to be 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, but a legitimate 6-footer would be helpful. Porter could be a one-year guy and even though he’s coming off what Raiders observers termed a good season, this will be his third new team in three years. Good players don’t bounce around that much. Hall is not a long-term answer. This is an excellent draft for corners, so that should help them.

Contract breakdown: Tracy Porter

March, 17, 2014
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Tracy Porter might end up as the Redskins’ third cornerback, covering receivers in the slot. He’s already ended up as their most expensive corner -- not that he cost a while lot, however. And that would only last for this season.

The Redskins signed Porter, who played in Oakland last season, rather than go harder after other free agents such as Brandon Browner (three years, $17 million from New England, but I have not seen the breakdown yet) and Walter Thurmond (one year, $3.5 million from the Giants). Both had visits scheduled with Washington, but it’s very possible the Redskins knew both players might opt for elsewhere.

Regardless, they signed Porter who will count more against the salary cap than any other corner on the roster, including the re-signed DeAngelo Hall. Porter received a $2 million bonus for signing with Washington. Hall's cap number this season is $2,062,500; but in 2015 it will be $4,812,500.
Here’s how Porter’s contract breaks down:

2014
Base salary: $1.25 million
Cap hit: $2.8 million
Note: Porter will receive a roster bonus of $15,625 for each game he is active, up to a maximum of $250,000. He also has likely to be earned incentives of $300,000.

2015
Base salary: $2.25 million
Cap hit: $3.8 million
Note: Porter will receive a roster bonus of $15,625 for each game he is active, up to a maximum of $250,000. He also has likely to be earned incentives of $300,000.
They gave him what he wanted, now Jason Hatcher must give the Washington Redskins what they need: a pass rush from the interior.

Not that he anticipates anything but that happening.

“My game was getting upfield and causing havoc,” Hatcher, who signed his four-year, $27.5 million deal Friday, said in a conference call with local reporters. “Not just sitting back and reading blocks. I’m able to get up and disrupt and penetrate gaps. I took my game to another level. In a 3-4 a lot of guys sit back ... but they have great stuff for me, and I can get upfield and cause havoc like I’ve been doing.”

[+] EnlargeJason Hatcher
Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY SportsJason Hatcher on joining linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan in Washington: "We'll be super effective once we get to know each other's game."
The Redskins have used a lot of two-gap schemes up front, but with a desire to apply more pressure they will use more one-gap schemes. So instead of a defensive lineman’s first step being lateral and worrying about two gaps, they can get upfield into a particular gap. It allows defensive linemen to be more aggressive.

That is partly why Hatcher recorded a career-best 11 sacks with Dallas last season. It’s likely, too, that he will move around -- playing end in their 3-4 scheme and tackle in their nickel. Hatcher said Dallas did a good job putting him in good situations last season.

“They got me in one-on-one situations and let me do what I do best, which is rush the quarterback,” he said. “They’re not going to bring me in and try to change who I am. I’ll still get up the field and cause havoc.”

The Redskins made Hatcher the offer after he had visited Oakland. He said they “blew the doors off me.”

Hatcher said veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall called him, and quarterback Robert Griffin III texted him after he agreed to a deal. Griffin’s message?

“He told me he was happy I ain’t chasing him no more,” Hatcher said.

Indeed, he sacked Griffin twice during an October win last season, one of which Hatcher did what he said he does best: win a one-on-one battle.

Hatcher said he’s looking forward to working with both outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.

“Those guys can rush the quarterback. Add me to the mix and we can do a lot of different stuff,” Hatcher said. “We’ll be super effective once we get to know each other’s game.”

He also provided a mini-scouting report on his game: “If you look at me you think I’m a power guy. But I got it all. I use my power, my quickness. My hands are the key. I have great hands. I hit them with all kind of stuff. That’s why I’m so effective. I’m not a one dimensional guy when it comes to the pass rush. I have all sort of moves.”

He also said that because he spent his first five years as a reserve he feels like a young 31. Hatcher turns 32 in July.

“God works in mysterious ways,” Hatcher said. “It’s a process of sitting behind guys for five years. It makes sense now. I’m in my prime. I’m in my peak.”

And he likes staying in the NFC East -- and being part of the Redskins-Cowboys games after eight seasons on the other side.

“Just the rivalry, man, and to get back in this smash-mouth football,” Hatcher said. “Us and the Cowboys. It’ll be an exciting game when we play the Cowboys. That’s one of the main reasons [for signing here] is to stay in it. I love it here. This is one of the hardest divisions in football.”

Redskins to host Browner, Thurmond

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
12:05
PM ET
The Redskins might poach off Seattle’s defensive success, taking a look at two players who helped create the "Legion of Boom."

Washington will host free- agent defensive backs Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, both of whom last played for the Seahawks. Browner, though, missed the Super Bowl championship run because he was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. However, the league recently reinstated him.

Thurmond, too, was suspended four games this past season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He’s only started eight games, including three this past season. But he was a key defensive back for them in the postseason and is considered good in the slot, an area of need for Washington. With DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson on the outside, the Redskins need someone who can cover inside. They like to blitz from this position as well. Thurmond’s age – 26 – is appealing as well.

Browner, at 6-foot-4, is a big corner who is very physical. If the Redskins want to play more press coverage in 2014 – they did it a decent amount last year – then Browner would fit in. He’s definitely more effective if he can get his hands on a receiver, but at his size he can have some problems in off-man or zone. Still, Browner, 29, made the Pro Bowl in 2011. He was limited to eight games last season, partly because of the suspension but also because of a hamstring injury.

As part of Browner’s reinstatement, he will be suspended for the first four games of 2014. He is visiting Thursday with New England.

Here's a look at Thurmond from ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount (this was originally on a blog post by Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky examining free agents):

From ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount: "Thurmond is an outstanding cover corner. When Brandon Browner was hurt with a hamstring injury, Thurmond came in and played as well or better than Browner was playing. But he isn’t the physical corner Browner is.

"The marijuana suspension hurt him. That gave Byron Maxwell his chance to start and he shined, four interceptions in the last four games. Maxwell couldn't have played better. When Thurmond returned, he had lost the starting job to Maxwell, but still played well as the nickelback.

"The suspension certainly hurt his dollar value as a free agent, which could make it easier for Seattle to keep him. They like him, and his chances of returning are a little better since Browner is done, but I'd still say it's less than 50-50.

"The secondary is the deepest part of the team with Jeremy Lane, Jeron Johnson and DeShawn Shead waiting in the wings. And Seattle has far more important free agents they want to keep in Michael Bennett, Golden Tate and Steven Hauschka.

"Thurmond is a good guy and really well-liked in the locker room. Very bright guy. He takes a lot of teasing for his wild attire on game days. After one game last season he wore a top hat and tails. Richard Sherman called him the Monopoly man."

From ESPN.com's resident scout Matt Williamson: “Surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast, Thurmond had a very good season for the Seahawks, where he was their nickel cornerback. But Thurmond has the ability to play every down."

Redskins' offseason scorecard

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
1:00
PM ET
A look at what the Washington Redskins have done already this offseason -- and what they are waiting to do once free agency hits at 4 p.m. Tuesday. There are differing reports about salary-cap space. ESPN's Stats & information had the Redskins with about $23 million in cap space before the Perry Riley deal Tuesday. But NFLPA records showed them at a little over $20 million. NFL.com had them at just under $19 million, but it was unclear if that included the Rule of 51 (only the top 51 players count toward the cap; the Redskins now have 58 players under contract after Riley's deal).

Done Deals

CB DeAngelo Hall

Hall
Signed a four-year deal worth $17 million, with $4.25 million guaranteed. His cap number is only $2.1 million this season, but jumps to $4.8 million in 2015 and $5.1 in 2016. Those are hefty sums for a 30-plus cornerback. If Hall regresses this season, the Redskins could always cut him next year and save $2.4 million of cap space. They would be wise to find another good young cornerback to groom just to be ready. Hall could always move to safety in a couple of years, but the safety position is a problem they must solve this year. If it’s still an issue in, say, two years? That’s a failure.

DL Chris Baker

Signed a three-year, $12-million deal with $4 million guaranteed. That sounds like starter-type money (albeit not a high level one), but it’s certainly not guaranteed starter money. He has $1 million in incentives that are not likely to be earned each of the three years -- based on play time, sack totals and Pro Bowl appearances -- and his cap number is only $2 million this year and tops out at $4 million in the final year of the contract. The deal averages $3 million per season. It allows the Redskins to keep a young, improving lineman who can help them at multiple spots: end, nose tackle and nickel rusher. Even if he doesn’t start he will play a lot.

LB Perry Riley

Riley signed a three-year deal worth $13 million. I don’t yet have the breakdown or the cap hits, but this comes across as a fair deal for Riley, a starter since midway through the 2011 season. The Redskins did not want to be in a position where they needed two inside linebackers in free agency. Riley had a stronger year in 2012, but the coaches know him and he knows the system. He’s not a leader, so he won’t replace London Fletcher, but he does know the defense well, which will help anyone who comes in next to him. Riley is better in man coverage than zone, but the latter gives him fits.

Likely back

LB Brian Orakpo

Orakpo
The Redskins placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on him last week for a price of $11.45 million next season, unless they work out a long-term deal. Orakpo still had not signed the tender, but he does count against the salary cap. Another team could sign him, but it would need to then surrender two first-round picks. It’s highly doubtful anyone would pay big money and give up two picks. Orakpo’s sack totals have been consistent since he entered the NFL in 2010, always between 8.5 and 11. But if he has a bigger season, while playing under the franchise tag, he could really cash in a year from now. The offseason message is that he and Ryan Kerrigan will be turned loose more. If that really results in more sacks, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next offseason.

Waiting word

WR Andre Roberts

Despite reports that he has agreed to terms, an NFL source says that this situation remains a work in progress and said he was not a lock. That doesn’t mean the Redskins won’ t sign a contract with him once free agency hits at 4 p.m. At this point, I would expect him to sign the four-year offer. But what if another team comes along and makes a stronger offer? That is what happened with Eddie Royal a couple years ago. Roberts would help. He’s a tough receiver with good hands who can play in the slot. He was Arizona’s No. 3 receiver this past season.

Offseason needs: cornerback

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
4:15
PM ET
The Redskins already re-signed corner DeAngelo Hall last month, but the work here isn't over. Far from it.

Why it’s a need: The Redskins have only two corners under contract capable of playing a lot in an NFL game in Hall and David Amerson. The Redskins need to find someone who can play in the slot as neither Hall nor Amerson is best suited for that job. Hall played there two years ago, but it was a struggle. I used this stat a couple weeks ago, but it’s indicative of what a team needs: Amerson, as the No. 3 corner, played 67 percent of the defensive snaps last season. Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers are free agents. I can see Biggers returning, but not Wilson.

In-house options: Maybe Chase Minnifield improves and can help and maybe Richard Crawford shows that he’s healthy after his knee injury and will contribute again. But, for now, both are question marks. Crawford showed good improvement last summer, particularly in the slot where his patience enabled him to mirror the receiver well. Minnifield showed tenacity in press coverage during the summer, but struggled when in zone or off-man coverage. It takes time to learn for some players. I have a feeling one of them will be able to be a solid fourth or fifth corner.

Free-agent options: The one player who could be intriguing is New England’s Aqib Talib, if the Patriots somehow let him get away. Talib has remained close with Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris, so if he decides to leave, and the money is right, then perhaps he’d come to Washington. Talib would give the Redskins versatility, with an ability to play inside or out. The Redskins could use another quality corner in a league where three is a must. Biggers is an option, but he’s best as a fourth corner, but would provide good depth. I also like Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn to a degree, but only if he’s asked to play inside (he did both in Carolina but worked a lot in the slot. At times he’d get off-balance, but was overall solid inside). He’s small and at some point the Redskins need to find a bigger corner.

Draft options: It’s a good draft for corners, so even if the Redskins sign one in free agency, they could be tempted to select another one in Rounds 2-4. Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner and TCU’s Jason Verrett are two possibilities, though both are small. It’s OK to draft a smaller player if he’s that good. But the ideal would be around 6-foot and both of these players are around 5-foot-9. Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a bigger corner, but he’ll have to learn to play off, too. It’s not as if the Redskins will only use press man. Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller is likely a first-round pick, though he could sneak into the second. Overall, there are probably 15-20 corners who could go in the first four rounds.

In case you missed it

Monday: Receivers

Tuesday: Linebackers

Wednesday: Safety

Thursday: Defensive line

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