NFL lockout, Redskins chat with Rick Maese

Jul 25, 2011

With the NFL lockout over, Washington Post Redskins reporter Rick Maese answered your questions about the Redskins' next moves, the new deal between the players and the owners, and all other NFL topics.

Will the Redskins sign at least 3 starters through free agency?

Good afternoon, everybody. It's been a busy morning and the 'news' has been fluid. So we'll talk about some timelines and how the week might unfold -- but it could change five minutes later.

Anyhow, let's start here: can the Skins nab three starters? I'll say this: They'd better. If you look at the current roster, they have some holes, particularly at ILB, CB, RT, WR... oh, and QB? So, in general, I think the Redskins are not only positioned to be aggressive during free agency -- but their long list of needs necessitates that they act aggressively.

Am I right that the Redskins actually did a good job in clearing cap space last year by converting all the bonuses in the uncapped year? Do they have a lot of room to overpay again?

In short, yes. Bruce Allen came to the Redskins and there were questions about how he and Mike Shanahan would co-exist and divide responsibilities. While Shanahan still has his fingerprints all over the roster and personnel decisions, Allen is regarded by many to be an expert in managing the cap. When he arrived a year ago, he renegotiated contracts and moved a lot of money into 2010 -- the uncapped year -- which means players got paid and the Redskins have moved a lot of cash off the books for this year. So yes, they have the ability to do a lot of things. The key will be to do them wisely. While the team has a history of blowing a lot of money in free agency, I don't think the current administration did anything overtly irresponsible money-wise last year -- so perhaps they deserve the benefit of the doubt heading into the free agency this year?

Do you think McNabb comes to camp? How long will the Redskins hold on to him? I just want everyone to move on frankly.

The bigger question is, will he have an opportunity to report to camp? Like I said, the timeline is a bit fluid and we've already heard a few different things today. The latest, though, would allow teams to begin negotiating trades on Tuesday morning. Training camp wouldn't formally open until Friday. So if Donovan McNabb has to decide whether or not to report to Redskins Park, that means Allen and Shanahan were unable to negotiate a trade in the previous three days.

If McNabb doesn't have a role on this year's team, then it does the Redskins no good to have him in camp this weekend and taking up a roster spot and filling one of the lockers. So my best guess is that they'll be burning up the phones the next couple of days to try to move McNabb. 

Which of the Redskins Free Agents will be resigned?

There's some guesswork involved here...

I think Grossman is the most likely to return. At this point, you'd have to consider it almost essential for the Redskins to re-sign him, as odd as that might have sounded 12 months ago. Beyond that, I think Santana Moss might be the most likely of the remaining free agents. The Redskins can have discussions with guys like Santonio Holmes or Sidney Rice, but it might be in their best interest to lock up a guy like Moss ASAP. That would give them a reliable guy who's familiar with the system - and they could still chase a No. 1 receiver.

I'd list Reed Doughty and Rocky McIntosh as maybes. I suspect Jammal Brown and Carlos Rogers will play elsewhere next year.

How come I am not hearing about Hanburger going into the HOF. He was a beast and I am going.

The enshrinement ceremony is still more than a week away. With the lockout likely resolved, I'd expect to see a flurry of news about free agents this week. But fret not, I'm certain there will be plenty to read about Hanburger next week. The guy was certainly a animal on the field and there's no shortage of people willing to testify to that...

Will they Redskins resign Kedric Golston?

How'd I forget about Kedric... and Chris Wilson...

I think both will likely be re-signed. One thing about this lockout -- it helps veterans, particularly guys like Golston and Wilson. They're familiar with the coaches, the system, the expectations. They're not expensive and coaches know they'll be ready to contribute Week 1.

What do you think the skins can get for McNabb and Hanesworth?

You wanna make an offer? Got a box of Bugles lying around?

Obviously, everything is done for a reason and no doubt Shanahan/Allen have reasons they dealt with McNabb and Haynesworth the way they did. But I'm not sure I've ever seen a team de-value players they were eager to move the way this team has done with these two. They've essentially gone out of their way to advertise  that both players have little worth to them and they need to be moved.

I think both players could help other teams, but there is zero reason for any team to offer more than a late-round/conditional pick or two.

All that said, my gut says McNabb will be easier to move. The offseason hasn't been kind of his value for whatever reason, but I don't think the tank is empty. Haynesworth on the other hand ... I think he'll report to Redskins Park later this week, and he'll at least start training camp as a member of the Washington Redskins. We'll see...

What shape do you think Trent Williams will show up in?

I wish I knew. Probably not as much as the Redskins coaches wish they knew, however. You can bet plenty of people at Redskins Park were monitoring offseason news reports, trying to keep tabs on their players. News about Trent Williams has been hard to come by, primarily because he wasn't exactly rushing to leave Texas to take part in the player-organized practices.

If I had to answer, I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up and looked the same as he did last December. But -- having talked to folks who worked with him in college and knowing Redskins coaches hope he'll work a bit more this year -- I also wouldn't be surprised if he needs all of the preseason to be in game shape.

Other than salary considerations, is the Shanahan family the only people in the world who believe that John Beck is better than McNabb?

A lot of Beck questions here, so we'll go with this one and it can represent the large pack.

I wish I had an answer. The entire thing strikes me as a bit curious, and I'm still not convinced it's a smokescreen. Shanahan knows better than anyone how important it is to have a quarterback locked down, which is why I really thought he'd draft one. He didn't, of course, which meant he was either confident in his options or he planned to get one in free agency.

I can't help but wonder, if he was sold on Beck, why didn't he let him start the season finale last year? Or at least play a half? There's nothing about Beck's time in the NFL that gives fans any confidence that he's ready to be 'the guy.' And I won't fully believe it until I see it.

Credit goes to Beck. He saw an opening, and he's done everything Shanahan could possibly want to win the job this offseason ... even if coaches were nowhere around. I can tell you he earned his teammates' respect in the process. If you did a locker room poll, I suspect you'd still come up with more McNabb supporters...

Are both Shanahans on the hot seat this year or just Kyle Shanahan?

The team would have to have a terrible, terrible season for me to think that either Shanahan might be let go. One of them is owed a ton of money. The other was hired by his father.

In my opinion NT is still the Skins biggest need. Any idea how they plan to address it? Give Kemo another shot? Hope Haynesworth becomes a professional? Sign somebody like Aubrayo Franklin from the Niners?

I think this is probably the free agency priority. Kemo might never be as healthy and physically sound as he was early in his career. Even at his best last season, he was not the force in the middle that a 3-4 defense needs. If you want your pass-rushers to thrive, Shanahan and Haslett know that you have to shore up the middle. That guy is not on the roster right now. With Kris Jenkins retiring, there are not a ton of options who are ready to step in and start. If I'm the Redskins and I'm making a list of priorities for free agency, it starts with Aubrayo Franklin.

Any players not going to be healthy enough for training camp? LaRon? Kemo? Kelly?

Nothing to report here. I have no doubt that plenty of guys underwent some offseason procedures and kept it on the DL. A lot of others wisely used the time to heal old injuries. I'm expecting everyone to report healthy but wouldn't be surprised if coaches report that a player or two has to start slow because they're recovering from an offseason surgery.

Do you see the owners attempting to re-raise the 18 game regular season anytime soon? Also, any word on how new players/agents feel about the new rookie free agency structure

I think the owners sincerely want 18 games, and it's probably a matter of time. But I don't think it'll be an issue for at least two more years.

As for the rookie pay structure, pretty easy to tell you how people feel: teams and veterans are happy, agents aren't as happy.

In your opinion, is Santonio the right guy for the Skins? Seems like another high priced headache, who will spend more time counting his money than memorizing routes. Is his character still a question? Wow, a real football question, let's get this going!

I'm not sure Holmes is an upgrade over Moss. Holmes is 5-11 or so, and has had one 1,000-yard season in his career. Plus, character questions. How is that an upgrade? What the team needs is a big body who can give the Redskins a legit top receiver.

For me, Sidney Rice is younger and bigger. If he's healthy, he's a better free agent target.

Prediction: Grossman destroys Beck in the preseason and is under center opening day. Your take?

If this happens -- if the preseason is Beck vs. Grossman -- I would not be surprised if Grossman is your Week 1 starter. 

Any guesses on veteran cuts?

Tough to say, looking over the roster -- and not knowing which free agents might be joining them. 

But I will say that Malcolm Kelly had better impress coaches right out of the gate, and if he so much as limps in the lunch line, things won't bode well. I also have a hard time understanding how coaches can use Jeremy Jarmon in this defense. I'm not even sure they've figured that out yet. Kemo, Holliday, Hicks are all guys who I think need to prove their worth every single day of training camp. I'm curious about Daniels, too. But he seems to operate on a different biological clock than the rest of us.

Is just idle silliness, right? Please tell me I'm right.

If he goes to Philly, it's because he's looking for a cheesesteak.

There is an op-out clause at the five year mark in . What would cause either side to opt-out?

Last I heard, they did not include an opt-out clause. Again, this was fluid this morning, but last I heard, we're talking about a 10-year deal which essentially means we should have NFL football for the next 10 years. 

Who are the Top three targets for the Skins?

If we throw out QB, I'd say their top needs are NT, CB , RT and WR. My favorite free agents at those positions are Franklin, Asomugha, Ryan Harris (former Shanahan draft pick) and Rice.

We're out of time. Thanks for all the questions. I'm sure we'll have a whole lot more questions -- and maybe a couple of answers -- as the week progresses.

In This Chat
Rick Maese
Rick Maese is a Redskins beat writer for The Washington post. Follow him on Twitter at RickMaese
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