Washington Redskins: Walter Thurmond

Contract breakdown: Tracy Porter

March, 17, 2014
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:

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.

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.

Quick recap: Redskins weekend

March, 17, 2014
Before we move forward, time to look back just a little bit on players who have drawn the Washington Redskins' interest:
  • Donald Penn's visit will continue at Redskins Park on Monday. The Redskins have reportedly been in contact with his agent for several days. The former Tampa Bay left tackle, released last week after the Bucs signed Anthony Collins, also has visited Oakland. I have not heard if he has other visits planned.
  • Center Will Montgomery, released late last week, is visiting Denver on Monday. Montgomery was a seventh-round pick by Carolina in 2006 -- when current Broncos coach John Fox was the Panthers' coach. No quarterback releases the ball faster than Denver's Peyton Manning; that would help Montgomery (or any lineman). So while Montgomery struggled here last year, he would be helped being with Manning because every linemen is helped being with him.
  • Linebacker Rob Jackson will visit Oakland. The Redskins have had brief contact with his representatives and they will monitor his situation, but they have not shown a great deal of interest in retaining him.
  • Corners Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, who were scheduled to visit Friday but did not, both signed with other teams. Browner landed with New England. Thurmond signed with the New York Giants. So the Redskins will be reminded twice a year whether they made the right move getting Tracy Porter instead of Thurmond to play in the slot.
  • Safety Ryan Clark has not yet signed anywhere. The Redskins remain in touch with him and his agent, Joel Turner, said not to cross him off the list yet.
  • Linebacker Anthony Spencer, who visited Thursday, remains unsigned. He will visit with the Giants on Monday and his former team, Dallas, also remains interested in him.
  • I have not heard a lot about other safeties the Redskins might be interested in, but I know there's a chance Brandon Meriweather returns. I don't think they view the remaining safeties as better than Meriweather.

Redskins notes: Following Ryan Clark

March, 14, 2014
Some leftover items from Friday:
  • Safety Ryan Clark remains in a holding pattern with Washington. He tweeted early Friday a message that came across as highly pessimistic: “Redskins fans only following me if I'm going to be a Redskin can unfollow me for now! Still treating me the way they always have. Never know”
  • But his agent, Joel Turner, said not to read too much into that tweet and then pointed out Clark’s next one: “I will always appreciate the Skins taking a chance on a 24 year old working at LSU. I will never forget what they did for me. Gratitude”
  • And, Turner said earlier Friday that there were still three or four teams Clark is considering and he did not rule out the Redskins. Whether there's still a real chance remains to be seen.
  • Meanwhile, the Redskins remain interested in free-agent tackle Donald Penn. Earlier Friday evening there was no visit set up yet with Penn, but CBS’ Jason La Canfora tweeted that Penn would be visiting this weekend. The Redskins would like to upgrade at right tackle. Penn had been a left tackle, but the feeling in Tampa, which released him, was that he was no longer effective at that position. Therefore, a move to the right side would be natural. Penn was visiting with Oakland.
  • Cornerback Brandon Browner, who was supposed to visit Friday, never did and has agreed to a three-year deal with New England. His former teammate, Walter Thurmond, also did not visit.
  • Tight end Owen Daniels visited and it was termed a good one by a team source. The Redskins like him, but no deal had been worked out as of Friday night.
It was a busy day Thursday and there could be more action Friday. So let's take a look ahead and then look back:

Scheduled visits
CB Walter Thurmond
Note: I have not heard that his visit has been cancelled after the Tracy Porter signing and interest in Brandon Browner. So as of now it looks like he’ll still visit here (originally scheduled for Friday). He also has visited with Jacksonville and tweeted Thursday that he was visiting with San Francisco that afternoon. Lots of frequent-flyer mile potential here.

CB Brandon Browner
Note: The Redskins just signed Tracy Porter, but clearly want to add more corners to go with DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson. They want to upgrade this position, but I also wonder what they have in mind because every one of these corners is capable. I have a tough time believing Thurmond or Browner or Porter, based on their experience, would want to be a fourth corner. The NFL Network reported Thursday night that Browner had agreed to a deal with New England. But Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, vehemently denied a deal had taken place to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But Schefter reported this morning that Browner will visit with New Orleans after his stop in Washington (while also negotiating with New England and Oakland).

TE Owen Daniels
Note: Daniels arrived Thursday night and will leave after a visit Friday. He visited with Green Bay, but the Packers re-signed tight end Andrew Quarless afterward so it’s uncertain if the Packers still have any interest. The Redskins could use another pass-catching tight end to pair with Jordan Reed, coming off a concussion and limited to nine games as a rookie last season. They still like Logan Paulsen, but he’s a blocker. Niles Paul has not developed into that second pass-receiving threat after two years playing the position. Daniels has 365 career receptions, including 62 in 2012. But he was limited to five games and 24 receptions this past season because of a fractured fibula. Houston cut Daniels earlier this offseason. Given his age (31) and some durability concerns (he’s missed a combined 18 games the past four seasons, but only two in 2011 and ’12), he’d probably be best in a role where he’s not the primary pass-catching tight end. If healthy, he'd also provide good insurance in case Reed isn't durable.

Players of interest
OT Donald Penn
Note: The former Tampa Bay tackle’s first stop will be in Oakland. There’s a feeling that Penn’s play dropped off a decent amount at left tackle last season, but that a move to right tackle could be a good one -- and that’s what the Redskins would want him to play.

Waiting on
FS Ryan Clark
Note: He visited Thursday and, according to agent Joel Turner, it was “very good.” Of course, that’s how they’re usually termed; sort of like every surgery an athlete has was successful until we find out later that it wasn’t. Still, it must have been pretty good because both sides were still talking after it was over. Clark has interest from other teams, but his agent declined to say where he was headed next -- or to characterize the negotiations with Washington. Stay tuned on this one.

LB Anthony Spencer
Note: He visited Thursday as well and the Redskins remain in talks with him. If healthy, he's an excellent linebacker (or, at least, he was before 2013). Spencer played just one game last season because of microfracture knee surgery, and he's also 30. But if he can still play, Spencer could be used as a situational pass-rusher and, depending on his deal, provide insurance in case Brian Orakpo leaves after this season. Spencer played mostly on the left side in Dallas, but would occasionally flip to the right.

Done Deals
CB Tracy Porter
Note: Experienced in the slot and coming off his best season, but now playing with his third new team in three years since leaving the New Orleans Saints.

DL Jason Hatcher
Note: He'll turn 32 before the season, but will fit nicely in the Redskins’ defense with his ability to play outside in a base package and inside in their nickel. One Redskins source said Hatcher's ability to disrupt against them last year was the best they had seen in a couple years.

DL Clifton Geathers
Note: He's a big fella at 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds. In a game of leverage, that sort of height can be difficult. Last season with Philadelphia was the first time he had played in all 16 games since entering the league in 2010. He’s worth taking a shot on because the Redskins already have some depth at this position so it's not as if they're in trouble if he can’t play.

LB Daryl Sharpton
Note: Injuries have been an issue throughout his career, which could explain why he signed for just one season. If healthy he could start. He’s considered better against the run, but that’s what the Redskins want first and foremost from this position.

He’s out?
OL Bruce Campbell
Note: For a guy who has done nothing in his career (nine games, zero starts, let go by two teams), he’s sure been mentioned a lot. The contract he agreed to showed up on the NFLPA site, but it was never signed. The Washington Post reported that he underwent shoulder surgery this past fall (he was not on a roster) and that could have led to an issue with his physical. But according to The Baltimore Sun, Campbell will visit with the New York Giants. Yes, it happens where one team has an issue in the physical but another team does not. There's still a chance he ends up back in Washington. But considering the agreed-upon deal was for one year and worth a maximum of $715,000 this season, he's far from a lock to make the roster even if he does eventually sign.

Redskins add Porter, Sharpton

March, 13, 2014
The Washington Redskins, rebuffed by several players in free agency, finally landed two players who fill spots. How well they fill them will be answered starting in September.

Free agent cornerback Tracy Porter and linebacker Darryl Sharpton agreed to deals, according to multiple reports. Sharpton signed a one year deal worth $2 million. Porter's terms were uncertain. Porter fills a job as the slot corner while Sharpton giving the Redskins depth at inside linebacker. Injuries have limited his career and Sharpton has never played a full season. He only played more than 10 games twice in his four seasons with the Houston Texans.

But Sharpton is considered strong against the run, which the Redskins place more importance on out of the inside linebacker position. If healthy, he could end up as the starter.

Porter was a versatile player for the Oakland Raiders last season and had perhaps his best season, with two interceptions, 13 passes defended and 1.5 sacks. But this will be his third new team in three seasons and his fourth overall. He played his first four years with New Orleans.

The Redskins had a visit lined up with another free agent corner Walter Thurmond, who also plays in the slot. It's uncertain if that visit will still happen.

Redskins to host Browner, Thurmond

March, 13, 2014
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, Seahawks took different paths

January, 21, 2014
Pete Carroll and Mike Shanahan started new jobs in the same offseason. Four years later Carroll is in the Super Bowl; Shanahan is unemployed. Why did the Seahawks improve while the Redskins did not? Seattle won nine games combined in the two years before Carroll and a combined 38 in the next four years, while the Redskins won a combined 12 games in the two years before Shanahan and a combined 24 in the ensuing four years.
  • The Seahawks had two first-round picks in 2010 while the Redskins had two picks in the first four rounds. Seattle landed two excellent starters in tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas. Washington took tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Perry Riley. Williams is a Pro Bowler and Riley is a starter, good in some areas but who struggles in others.
  • The Seahawks hit on lower-round picks in 2010, selecting cornerback Walter Thurmond in the fourth round and safety Kam Chancellor in the fifth. Chancellor’s physical style sets a tone in the box, and Thurmond is an excellent slot corner and might as well be considered a starter. Seattle also took starting receiver Golden Tate in the second round. The Redskins whiffed on the rest of their 2010 class, none of whom were on the roster this past season.
  • Wilson
    Among the players Seattle unloaded in the 2010 offseason: corner Josh Wilson, who signed with the Redskins a year later; and defensive lineman Darryl Tapp, who played here this past season. The Seahawks wanted big, physical cornerbacks. Wilson was too small for them. Seattle clearly had a blueprint.
  • In 2011, the Seahawks had nine picks (the Redskins had 12). Seattle found three more starters in guard James Carpenter (drafted as a tackle in the first round); corner Richard Sherman (fifth round); corner Byron Maxwell (sixth round; a replacement for the suspended Brandon Browner) and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (seventh round). Eight of the nine remain on the roster.
  • Meanwhile, the Redskins drafted 12 players, finding one good starter in linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and another starter in end Jarvis Jenkins. It wasn’t a bad draft, but it wasn’t a game-changer either. Nine of the 12 remained on the roster in 2013.
  • Wilson
    Both teams found quarterbacks in 2012, with Seattle getting Russell Wilson in the third round and the Redskins trading two future first-rounders and a second-rounder to swap positions with St. Louis to get Robert Griffin III. I agreed with the move, so I’m not going to second-guess it; besides, it’s not as if Ryan Tannehill, a player they liked, has torn it up in Miami (though, yes, they would have had more picks). There is no way Seattle could have anticipated what Wilson has become, and the Seahawks had also signed Matt Flynn. But they quickly saw what they had in Wilson.
  • Both quarterbacks obviously made tremendous impacts as rookies. Griffin’s knee injury and other issues led to stumbles in 2013. But when he struggled, so, too, did the Redskins. When Wilson struggled, he could rely on the run game and defense to win. Big difference when you don’t have to carry a team -- and that’s because of how both were built.
  • Seattle drafted 10 players in 2012 -- eight played defense; three are starters (end Bruce Irvin, linebacker Bobby Wagner, and J.R. Sweezy, an end in college but now a starting offensive guard). The Redskins also hit on running back Alfred Morris in that same draft, and quarterback Kirk Cousins looks like a good backup who might yield a draft pick in return some day. But aside from them and Griffin? So far, nothing.
  • This past season, of the Redskins' top five defensive backs (including No. 3 corner David Amerson), four were picked in the first two rounds of their respective drafts. Of Seattle’s eight defensive backs, only one was drafted before the fourth round.
  • In the 2013 draft, Seattle added no starters, but that’s not a surprise given the Seahawks’ talent level. The Redskins added Amerson, who was their No. 3 corner, and tight end Jordan Reed. But nobody else provided any help. Even on special teams.
  • All totaled, of the starters listed on Seattle’s current depth chart, 16 were drafted by them or signed as an undrafted free agent. That includes nine defensive starters, and the lone two who weren’t drafted by them were acquired in trades, including end Chris Clemons. Of the four offensive players not drafted by Seattle, one was signed off a practice squad; another was acquired in a trade (running back Marshawn Lynch) and only one was considered a bigger free agent signing (tight end Zach Miller).
  • Seattle built a team that could withstand the loss of receiver Percy Harvin, who has caught one pass this season after being acquired in a trade. He might play in the Super Bowl. They signed pass-rush specialist Cliff Avril, who recorded eight sacks, but was not a starter.
  • Seattle, under general manager John Schneider's strong guidance, is just more proof that you can succeed without having to spend big money. And the Redskins are proof as to what happens when you don’t successfully draft and develop.