With the start of the free agent signing period the Washington Redskins stayed on the sidelines, in years past the Redskins have played the role of timekeeper for the start of free agency. Year in and year out they were known for signing a big name as soon as the signing period started. This year¡K NOTHING, a few players threw the teams name out hoping it would force them into a higher tax bracket but for the most part the NFL has carried out the first round of free agency without the Redskins taking part. Teams will now focus on the 2008 NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins didn¡¦t sign anyone new but they did sign some players. For the first time in years the team's focus appeared to be on retaining their players.
As the month started the Redskins had the following free agents preparing to "hit the market":
-- Ryan Boschetti just completed his fourth season as a Redskin in 2007 but did not see any game action
-- Reche Caldwell finished the season with 15 receptions for 141 yards after signing with the team two days into the 2007 season.
-- Rock Cartwright had a 25.8-yard kickoff return average last season and was second in special teams tackles with 36.
-- Mark Brunell did not see any game action in 2007 after falling on the depth chart for the second year in a row.
-- Todd Collins led the Redskins on a four-game winning streak after he took over the offense for an injured Jason Campbell.
-- Rick DeMulling signed with the Redskins after Randy Thomas went down and saw limited action.
-- Jason Fabini is a backup tackle that played in all 16 games at right guard when both Randy Thomas and Jon Jansen went down with injuries.
-- Derrick Frost had a 41-yard punting average last season, and his 36.4-yard net average was 21st in the league.
-- Randall Godfrey played well as a starter for Marcus Washington and Rocky McIntosh when they were sidelined with injuries
-- Brian Kozlowski served mostly on special teams, seeing occasional action at tight end, the 37 year old caught one pass for five yards in 2007
-- David Macklin was inactive most of the season, he played in two games and recording five tackles.
-- Keenan McCardell played in 10 games, catching 22 passes for 256 yards and one touchdown.
-- Pierson Prioleau had 38 tackles on defense and 16 special teams¡¦ tackles, he plays both safety spots
-- Mike Pucillo entered the 2007 season as a backup interior offensive lineman; he ended the season on IR with a back injury.
-- Omar Stoutmire saw limited action as a reserve although he had two stints with the Redskins in 2007
-- Nehemiah Broughton suffered a knee ligament injury during off-season work last year and was again placed on IR.
-- Shaun Suisham was 29-of-35 on field goals in 2007 and kicked two game-winners, both in overtime.
As the month comes to an end, free agents that finished the season on the field, for the most part are still on the Washington Redskins roster today. Guys like quarterback Todd Collins, guard Jason Fabini, and special teams regulars Rock Cartwright and Derrick Frost, were all targeted re-signed, they tendered a contract to exclusive rights free agent Shaun Suisham meaning he¡¦ll be with the team at least one more season. They brought back Reche Caldwell, Mark Brunell, David Macklin have all joined other NFC teams and rumors are floating that Pierson Prioleau and Randall Godfrey are looking to join Gregg Williams in Jacksonville. They re-signed role players like Ryan Boschetti and brought back youngsters that have been in camp before like defensive tackle Matthias Askew and tight end Pete Schmitt. Mike Pucillo, Pierson Prioleau, Omar Stoutmire, and Nehemiah Broughton didn¡¦t appear to be in Jim Zorn and Vinny Cerrato¡¦s plans, the same could be said for wide receivers Mike Espy and Steven Harris because they were also released this month.
The only free agent that the Redskins made a run at would be wide receiver D.J. Hackett, if you want to call it that. The world famous ¡§Redskin1¡¨ has been parked all off-season and Hackett made his way to the facilities on his own, and then spent less than a day in town and later sign with another team. Had this been any other year, Hatchett would have stayed through the weekend and wouldn¡¦t have left town without a deal and the cost of the deal would have been no more than a speed bump.
For those that are yearning for a return to the old way of doing things, you shouldn¡¦t give up hope. The month of April opens up the possibility of trades now that the draft is near. While the Redskins went into the off-season rumored to be in ¡§Cap Hell¡¨ (some things never change), they have retained most if not all of the potential free agent losses that they hoped to bring back, signing most to one-year minimum contracts. The Redskins have quietly freed up cap space for no apparent reason, the team converted an $11 million roster bonus that tight end Chris Cooley was scheduled to get into guaranteed money that lowered his 2008 cap number from $12.2 million to around $4.4 million. Before making that move the Redskins made sure Randy Thomas cap figure of $8 million to $4.1 million, Andre Carter went from $4.9 million to $2.8 million and Antwaan Randle El¡¦s $4.1 million went down to $2.7 million. To be honest, most of that happened the last week of February, which makes you wonder even more why they re-worked those deals when voiding Brunell and Cartwright¡¦s contracts would have gotten them under the cap. To get space to re-sign the players that they did the Redskins restructured the contracts of running Clinton Portis, wide receiver Santana Moss, and tackles Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen. The Redskins are currently about $7.5 million under the cap. All this space will be used, HOW is the question.
In Case You Missed It:
- The Redskins announced the dates of mini-camp and OTA¡¦s:
Mini-camp will be held on May 2-4
OTA¡¦s will be on May 5-7, June 2-5 and June 9-12.
Jim Zorn will be allowed one additional Mini-camp as a new head coach. All dates are close to the public.
The Redskins will open the NFL Pre Season and the play in the NFL Season Opener.
Hall of Fame weekend will have a heavy Redskin slant to it to kick-off the NFL pre-season as the Redskins take on the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio, the day after arguably the best cornerback and the best receiver to wear the burgundy and gold (Darrell Green and Art Monk) will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame together. Once the pre-season ends the Redskins will kick-off the 2008 regular season on the nationally televised NFL Thursday Night opener against their division rivals and Super Bowl Champions, New York Giants on September 4th (the league is in talks with NBC to move the kickoff to 7 p.m. because it is also the final night of the Republican National Convention.
If the Redskins receive an third roundÞ compensatory pick for losing guard Derrick Dockery to the Buffalo Bills last off-season, the team will go into the 2008 NFL draft with four picks in the first three rounds, over the past three NFL drafts the Redskins have had a total of four draft picks in the first three rounds.
Redskins players who have not work out at Redskin Park this off-season are defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, safeties Vernon Fox and LaRon Landry, guard Pete Kendall, offensive tackles Jon Jansen and Todd Wade and receiver Santana Moss. Cornerback Shawn Springs is working out in Arizona as he does every off-season. Defensive end Phillip Daniels is preparing for a power lifting competition. Tackle Todd Wade is working out in Florida and will report to Washington next month, so will tackle Jon Jansen, who missed most of the 2007 season.
Notes and Quotes:
-- "Obviously, I was close to Gregg and I'm going to miss him, but I'm looking forward to playing for newly promoted defensive coordinator Greg Blache, He called me right when everything first happened. The defensive coordinator and the middle linebacker have to be in sync. I'm going to have to get to know him as a coordinator, make sure I'm getting everybody to understand exactly what he wants to do. There will be some transition. They made that situation as smooth as possible because everybody except Williams is still there, If there was going to be change, it was very minimal. Coach Blache is his own person, so I'm sure that he'll implement some things. He was successful as a coordinator in Chicago. I'm sure that what was successful last year he'll continue and possibly build on that or add some new wrinkles. Our standards are extremely high, and we're going to continue to try to live up to those standards." ¡K Middle linebacker London Fletcher on the change from Gregg Williams to Greg Blache at defensive coordinator
-- "At first, I didn't want them to win, but then I found myself cheering for them. It just gives us all the hope in the world. We basically ran over the Giants, dominated both games. For them to go and win the Super Bowl, [it] shows us where we at. If we can come together and get on the same page like they did, that can be us this year." ¡K Running back Clinton Portis on watching the New York Giants playing in the Super Bowl.
-- "I'm just happy to get it done, I'm excited to return for a fourth year in Washington. I look forward to proving myself again and earning a long-term contract next year." ¡K Punter Derrick Frost after he agreed to a one-year deal worth $805,000.
--"They're going to try get me the ball a little bit shorter, a little bit easier and let me run with the ball which is obviously what I'm best at, I think I'll have the chance to make big plays, but I'll have the chance more to carry the ball and make big plays with my legs. It will let me and Jason really work together if I feel open. If I'm running an in route, Instead of just continuing to run it, I can stop if there's a hole in the middle. One of my better assets is finding an open spot and giving the quarterback a target. I feel real confident in that in this offense. I think there will be a lot more opportunities to do that. Our old offense was completely a timing-based offense. We were supposed to be exactly where we were supposed to be exactly when we were supposed to be there. This isn't that. It's get open." ¡K Tight end Chris Cooley on his new role in Jim Zorn's West Coast system.
-- "I'll be playing pretty much what I did last year, Coach Zorn likes what was going last year as far as my role, so I'll be rushing the passer on third downs, and serving as an extra offensive lineman, and then playing my special teams role. The more you can do, the better. That's always the golden rule around here. I like doing it. It's fun. The first couple of weeks my head was kind of spinning a little bit, but as time passed, I grew more comfortable with picking up linebackers on offense and understanding. I knew the defense fine. It was learning the offense, where guys move and adjust. The more you do it, the more comfortable you are with it." ¡K Defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander on his continuing role as a three-way player.