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Report: Orakpo Has No Plans of Signing Redskins Franchise Tag

Courtesy of Howard Smith / USA Today Sports

Courtesy of Howard Smith / USA Today Sports

“They did what they had to do,” said Brian Orakpo, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “I’m just kind of glad we can at least make a step moving forward instead of being at a stalemate with this whole situation.”

While it’s nice to have a guy like Orakpo back — good leader, hard worker, etc. — it’s hard to feel ecstatic about the signing. With the non-exclusive franchise tag paying Orakpo close to $11.5 million next season, there’s no doubt the Redskins are overpaying by giving an above-average linebacker elite pass-rusher money.

But overpaying isn’t the same as being ripped off. The Redskins weren’t ripped off. Orakpo is a favorite of team owner Dan Snyder and he wasn’t going to let the 27-year-old linebacker get away. He gets into the ear of general manager Bruce Allen — who also happens to be a Snyder favorite — and Allen makes it happen.

Helping to make things even more interesting…

So what’s in the pot?

  • “Sides disagreeing on value” implies at least a few coaches or executives who don’t believe Orakpo is worth $11.5 million a year. But there’s only a couple guys in Ashburn who can ignore the opinion of, say, a head coach or player personnel guy and give Orakpo a wheelbarrow of money anyway.
  • Prepare for a holdout. And Orakpo has leverage.
  • According to Chris Wesseling of, “Although Orakpo has lined up at outside linebacker in Jim Haslett’s 3-4 defense, there’s reason to believe he will follow Terrell Suggs’ 2008 example and file a grievance seeking the $13.116 million defensive-end designation.”


Chris Baker Signs 3-year, $12 Million Deal with Redskins

Courtesy of the Washington Post

Courtesy of the Washington Post

The Redskins were able to check another name off their offseason priority list on Thursday, re-signing defensive lineman Chris Baker to a three-year deal worth a reported $12 million ($4 million guaranteed), according to’s Ian Rapoport.

Among the Redskins’ list of players to retain this offseason, it was rumored that Baker and veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall were names near the top. The Redskins re-signed Hall earlier last week.

The 6’2″, 330-pound Baker recorded 28 tackles last season, including one sack, while playing on a one-year tender. His combination of size and speed make the 26-year-old Baker a versatile piece along the Redskins defensive front.

Baker should be the team’s starting defensive end come Week 1.


NFL Combine 2014: Notes and Scribbles from Day 4

Courtesy of Bolt Beat

Courtesy of Bolt Beat

Sadly, the underwear olympics can’t go on forever.

Tuesday marked the final day of the NFL Combine with participation and drills from the defensive backs.

Here’s a few notes to go along with my farewell wave from Indy (by way of the NFL Network).

Defensive Backs

- Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste has received tons of play leading up to this combine thanks to his size. People think Richard Sherman, they think big corner, they think Super Bowl. And while SJB’s height (6’3″), weight (218), length (32″ arms) and leaping ability (41.5″) are all standout numbers, the guy still has to play the position. But there’s question with Jean-Baptiste’s hips, as they looked a bit slow and tight during drills. And where’s the physicality? Mike Mayock talked about this specifically on Tuesday and Deion Sanders chimed in with a good question of: if the dude is 218 pounds, why in the world does anyone need to teach him to be physical?

- The more I watch of Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (scouting report), the more I like. But at the combine, Pryor appeared to be tense and over-thinking things — especially before and during his 4.58 40-yard dash. He rebounded though, showing good hips and balance during his drills. While I don’t think Pryor necessarily increased his stock on Tuesday, I also don’t believe he did anything to hurt it. He’s a first-round safety.

- Florida’s Marcus Roberson looked smooth running in drills, but he plays high in his back pedal, which leads to slow hips and turns. Additionally, Roberson’s track record for durability is far from a bright spot on his resume.

- Virginia Tech’s Antone Exum is an intriguing guy — and without injuries, that same intrigue probably feels more like assurance. He’s thickly-built at 6′, 213 pounds, with good speed (4.59) to compliment. Exum is an above-average tackler and he has the ability to come down and jam a guy on the line, having played both safety and nickel corner in college. But Exum’s durability concerns are glaring, including a torn right ACL early last year (in a game of pickup basketball) and a nagging ankle injury during the season. I think he’s worth a draft selection, maintaining hope that he can return to form.

- Utah’s Keith McGill was my favorite guy to watch on Tuesday. As one of the biggest defensive back invites in Indy, McGill pops off the screen at 6’3″, 211 pounds. He has long legs to go along with his 33.25″ arms and massive 10.25″ hands. His 4.56 40-yard dash looked natural and smooth, while his 39″ vertical and 129″ broad jump helped to demonstrate his explosiveness. McGill was fluid in his drills and moved with light feet, but was a bit slow in the hips when changing direction (something I’m lenient with when looking at massive corners). McGill does lack polish and hopefully he takes well to coaching at the next level. But physically, he’s one of top corners in the draft.

- Say what you want about his size, TCU’s Jason Verrett is the real deal. He’s extremely fast (4.38) and explosive (39″ vertical), with fluid hips and precise breaks on the ball. He’s not a guy that will overpower you physically, but he’s a pest and he doesn’t back down.


NFL Combine 2014: Notes and Scribbles from Day 3

Christian Jones

Thanks to a gig that helps keep the lights on and a DVR malfunction, notes from Day 3 of the NFL Combine won’t be nearly as elaborate as previous editions.

Paying close attention to certain guys who could find themselves on the Redskins’ radar, here’s a look at linemen and linebackers.

Defensive Linemen

- Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald had an insane workout on Monday. He checked in at 6’1″, 285 pounds, ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and repped out at 35. His drills were flawless and he was clearly one of the best performances of any player at any position this weekend. He’s a first-rounder.

- I’ve talked about Syracuse’s Jason Bromley (scouting report) a lot leading up to this point, and he worked an average Monday. He needed to run better than a 5.06 40-yard dash and his 26 reps weren’t notable. He’s a pass-rushing type with some developmental intrigue.

- Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt (scouting report) looked like a million bucks — 6’5″, 304 pounds, 34.75″ arms, 10″ hands and 31 reps. But he didn’t jump and he didn’t run. Tuitt is as physically gifted as they get, but with plenty of work to do. His athleticism and overall size won’t allow him to escape the early second round.


- Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood (scouting report) turned in a disappointing Monday after pulling a muscle in his first 40-yard dash attempt. Smallwood definitely has the size, and I liked his tape, but I may have overstated his bend and flexibility. I was really hoping for a full workout in order to get a better feel for him, but no luck.

- Florida State’s Telvin Smith isn’t my favorite Seminoles linebacker, but he’s an intriguing one. The only knock on Smith is his weight and bulk, as he’s a thin 218 pounds. Length wise, however, Smith measured in at 6’3″, with 32.5″ arms and 10.25″ hands. His 4.52 40-yard dash was one of the best among his position, but a time we all anticipated (so don’t count it twice). And again, as expected, Smith looked fluid in drills, but needed to gauge down his speed in order to look more precise. He’s a raw player at the next level, but he brings uncoachable athleticism instincts.

- Let the man-crush continue on Florida State’s Christian Jones (scouting report). Weighing in at 6’3″, 240 pounds, Jones ran a 4.74 40-yard dash and showed good hips in his drills. He also made a nice grab along the sidelines. I know most like Jones in a 4-3 or as a pass-rusher in a 3-4, but I still believe he can play linebacker in either scheme. His athletic ability and speed allow for him to cover effectively, and his violent tackling still feels underrated.


NFL Combine 2014: Notes and Scribbles from Day 2

Donte Moncrief II

Back at it with notes from Day 2 of the Combine, which included quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. If you didn’t catch Day 1, you can get the notes here.

Going into this thing with slight Redskins vision, there wasn’t much time spent on the passers. But then again, not many of the top names did much in terms of participation anyway. For what it’s worth, I’m buying Blake Bortles.

Wide Receivers

- He may be small in size, but Pittsburg State’s John Brown had a big day on Sunday. His 4.34 40-time says all you need for his speed, but it was his quickness and explosiveness that stood out most. He also caught the ball well and maintained speed throughout his routes. Brown helped his stock on Sunday and he has potential as a slot guy.

- I was looking forward to watching Nebraska’s Quincy Enunwa on Sunday, but he pulled a hammy during his second run after recording a 4.4 unofficial on his first 40-yard dash attempt. Enunwa has good size (6’2″, 225 lbs), strength (19 reps) and speed, but I wonder if he’s more hybrid TE than wideout in the NFL.

- Kelvin Benjamin looked just as big on Sunday as he does on tape. There was a bit of initial concern with his weigh-in at 240 pounds, but it compliments his 6’5″ frame and Benjamin moved like a wideout — helping to answer the biggest question surrounding the receiver heading into Sunday. Benjamin ran a 4.61 40-yard dash, showed impressive length and demonstrated impressive hips during double-move drills. The man-crush on Benjamin lives on.

- Speaking of man-crushes, Sunday’s workouts helped to maintain them with the following:

  • Fresno State’s Davante Adams (scouting report) measured in a bit less than ideal at just shy of 6’1″, but his 4.56 40-yard dash was on point, as was his whopping 39.5″ vertical. Adams also looked good in drills, snatching the ball out of air and looking like a natural pass-catcher.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (scouting report) is a stud. He’s fluid and smooth in everything he does on the field, catches the ball naturally and has the speed to burn a secondary. It’s hard to pick on this guy.
  • The biggest concern with Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief (scouting report) was his speed, but his 4.4 40-yard dash helped answer any questions with that — and he has everything else. I like this guy a lot, and I assume others will too as the draft draws closer.

- Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks has been a favorite of the draftnik community all season, and his stock will continue to build following Sunday. Cooks was very impressive with his 4.33 40-yard dash, he showed great explosiveness through every drill and his shiftiness translates to elusiveness, making him a menace on the field. I think he’s solidified himself as a first-rounder.

- The fascination with Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman continues. At 6’6″, 225 pounds, Coleman packs a monstrous frame, backing it with 21 reps on the bench and a 4.56 40-yard dash. The guy’s ceiling is extremely high, but what’s his floor? He needs help as a route-runner and teams will need to do their homework regarding his work ethic and consistent effort.

- Don’t sleep on Clemson’s Martavis Bryant (scouting report). Yes, he’s very green and raw as a receiver, but the physical tools are there. He’s a lanky 6’4″, with good length and speed to the ring of a 4.42 40-yard dash. He did a good job tracking the ball and bringing it in during long drills, but struggled to make catches along the sidelines. He’s a project, but certainly notable.

- I was completely bummed to see LSU’s Jarvis Landry (scouting report) suffer a reported calf strain. He ran his first 40-yard dash and finished with an underwhelming 4.77. Landry didn’t come back for drills and that’ll leave scouts with a bad taste. No matter what, Landry remains one of my top-rated receivers. He’s a natural football player.

- Ball State’s Willie Snead helped his stock. He measured in well at 5’11″, 195 pounds, with 33″ arms and 10.25″ hands. He caught the ball well, looked comfortable with whatever was thrown at him and I thought his 40-yard dash looked faster than the official 4.62 time.

- Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders is a speedster to be reckoned with in this draft. He’s clearly undersized at just under 5’9″ and 165 pounds, but he’s very quick, has good acceleration and his 4.44 40-yard dash was plenty good enough. He’s also a reliable set of hands with a 34″ vertical. Sunday worked well for Saunders.

- I can see the DeSean Jackson comparisons when looking at Colorado’s Paul Richardson. He’s thin framed, but plays taller and appears longer than 6′.

- There’s a lot to like about Penn State’s Allen Robinson, but I can’t quite fall in love. Maybe if he played to his 6’3″ height?

- Tevin Reese‘s thin frame is a concern, but the Baylor speedster had a good Sunday, running well with a 4.46 40-yard dash and demonstrating his ability to track the ball and adjust on deep throws.

- I’m still interested in Pittsburgh’s Devin Street as a mid-to-late round guy. He catches everything that’s thrown at him and I thought he looked good running and catching on Sunday. His 6’3″ frame is desirable and he uses his length to his advantage.

- Just as his game shows on tape, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews had a solid day. And if there was one thing scouts were watching for today, it was his 40-time — and Matthews delivered with a 4.46. He also added 21 reps and a 35.5″ vertical. Teams are going to love this guy.

Running Backs

- There are two guys I’ve been on all season due to their speed and gamebreaking ability. Although they may not have finite positions at the next level, they’re offensive weapons who need to find their way onto the field.

  • I thought Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas would run faster than his 4.5 40-time, but his quickness, acceleration and light feet were visible in other drills. I’m sticking with him as a slot/weapon with his next team.
  • Dri Archer is a small school guy out of Kent State, but his speed and quickness is that of a big time player. He ran a 4.26 40-yard dash and looked good in his drills. Like Thomas, he’s a reliable pass-catcher and the type of player who needs to find his way to the field, whether by way of backfield or slot assignment. My main concern with Archer — as I’m sure it is with others — is durability.

- I selected Washington’s Bishop Sankey in my dynasty league draft before the college season started, and I’ve liked that pick more and more leading up to Sunday. Sankey ran very well with a 4.49 40-yard dash, helping to silence the speed critics. He then caught the ball well to answer those questioning whether or not he could offer anything else out the backfield. Between that, squeezing out 26 reps and his notable measurables, Sankey is a top-RB prospect in this class.

- Lots of love for Towson’s Terrance West. His 4.54 40-time didn’t always show up on tape, but he’s a complete back with size, toughness and good vision to escape the mess at the line.

- This running back class doesn’t appear to have any first-rounders, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple taken in the latter half of the top-32 by the time we get to May.


NFL Combine 2014: Notes and Scribbles from Day 1

Gabe Jackson

It’s here, it’s here! It’s finally here! That time of year when grown men gather ’round the tube scribbling fresh notes while watching college men workout in skintight onesies.

Guilty as charged. Here are my jotted notes from Day 1 of the NFL Combine, which included offensive linemen and tight ends.

Offensive Line 

- Virginia tackle Morgan Moses was disappointing. After measuring in with impressive size and length, Moses didn’t participate in the bench press, and then followed it up with a sloppy showing in movement drills. Some like Moses as a first-round guy, but I thought his stock dropped a bit after Saturday.

- Not very impressed with Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson. I wasn’t a big fan of his tape to begin with, but his massive size is certainly intriguing. Richardson is thin below the waist, stiff in the hips and moves with heavy feet.

- Xavier Su’a-Filo helped himself. He doesn’t have great length, but he’s a fine prospect at left guard. He’s a good athlete with great feet and solid bend, maintaining speed and keeping his eyes upfield during drills on Saturday.

- Miami’s Seantrel Henderson is worth the gamble to me if he’s available in the late-fourth to fifth round.

- The group of centers — consisting of my top-three at the position — are an interesting bunch.

  1. USC’s Marcus Martin possesses good size, great strength and underrated athleticism. He could make a push to start assuming a healthy rookie camp.
  2. Colorado State’s Weston Richburg ran a long-stride 40-yard dash and managed 20 reps on the bench. Although he looked a bit sloppy in pulling drills, he showed good hips in others and his 1.78 10-yard split was notable. He’s undersized, but his smarts could help compensate.
  3. Arkansas’ Travis Swanson impressed with his hips and feet on Saturday. I’m not in love with him, but his workout helped him. He’s a few notches down from Richburg, and a lot more down from Martin.
  4. I’m also going to throw Ohio State’s Corey Linsley in the mix. He demonstrated good hips today and stole the show with 36 reps on the bench. He may not have the length and athleticism, but he can be a pesky mauler.

- My man Gabe Jackson (6’3″, 336 lbs, and pictured above) ran a 5.51 and knocked out 30 reps. This guy’s a Week 1 starter.

- Clemson’s Brandon Thomas measured in just as well as we all anticipated, making his 5.09 40-time look even more impressive. He also managed to knock out 35 reps on the bench. Thomas remains a strong guard prospect despite looking a bit stiff in his hips on Saturday.

- I’m still on the Billy Turner train, and I recommend others hop on. The North Dakota State product looked good in drills on Saturday and ran smooth, demonstrating his superb athleticism. He was a quality left tackle in college, but his best days ahead of him are at guard. Turner has good length and power, as well as the desired grittiness.

Crockett Gillmore

Tight End

- I can’t be the only one intrigued by Florida’s Trey Burton. At 6’2″, 224 pounds, Burton is the definition of a tweener. There will be receivers in these workouts who weigh more than him, but Burton’s skill set seems to fit that of an H-Back. He’s a natural pass-catcher and a smooth runner with light feet. Burton stood out with a 4.62 40-yard dash, a 7.14 three-cone drill and a 4.32 20-yard shuttle, all of which were top performing times amongst the tight end group.

- I’ve said “intrigued” too much already, but Utah’s Anthony Deham is another guy to keep an eye on. His production after just two seasons of play consists of less than 40 catches, but his physical makeup is appealing. Denham measured in at nearly 6’5″, 235 pounds, with square shoulders, good bulk and light feet. He’s extremely raw as any type of pass-catcher and there’s tons of work ahead for whatever team drafts him, but his workouts from Saturday helped.

- Despite being a fan of C.J. Fiedorowicz all season, I was disappointed with his showing on Saturday. While his 25 reps and 4.76 40-time seemed about right, I was hoping he’d show more fluid hips and bend during drills. As a thickly-built guy with good size and length, I still think his straight speed can get him down the seam. But he’s far from a vertical threat. His stiffnes will limit his playing range on the field.

- Colorado State’s Crockett Gillmore (a fabulous name, by the way, and pictured above) had the type of size and length that stands out when he plays (at least while running drills and wearing a leotard). He’s 6’6″, 260 pounds with long arms and massive hands. I need to go watch tape on this guy.

- I was surprised to see USC’s Xavier Grimble come out early this year, but his workouts on Saturday helped me a bit to understand why. While his college production and durability remain in question, Grimble has desirable size and length, and he demonstrated good hands and body control during the Combine. Some team will ignore his statistics and feel confident in their own coaching. In that respect, Grimble has all the physical tools a coach needs.

- Tennessee Tech’s A.C. Leonard (6’2″, 252 lbs) comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage, but he looked great on the field in Indianapolis on Saturday. Leonard ran the best 40-time of any tight end with a 4.5, and he bested the broad jump amongst tight ends with 128 inches. Leonard looks like a natural football player — running, catching and moving with little effort. He has solid hands, great speed, good change of direction and his route-running on Saturday was arguably the best of the group.


Gruden Recognizes Redskins Offensive Line is Area of Concern

Tyler Polumbus

Turns out I was a bit hasty in my initial dissatisfaction with Jay Gruden and his praise (albeit slight) for the Redskins porous offensive line from a year ago. Had I stood by just a few minutes longer, I could’ve posted Zac Boyer’s notes from Gruden’s second 10-minute talk on Day 1 of the Combine in Indianapolis and learned more about the coach’s stand.

A need, indeed. Regardless of PFF grades, no lineman outside of Trent Williams should feel any sense of job security.


Meh. That’s kind of like getting a ribbon for fifth-place. Or an honorable mention. The offensive line’s sheer effort isn’t going to keep Robert Griffin III intact.


This is understandable as it relates to Alfred Morris and his one-cut ability. However, I’m not the only one that believes Morris can also succeed in a power game. If Gruden’s goal is to make the rushing attack more versatile, Morris remains an asset.

Now let’s get to addressin’ that offensive line!


Redskins Will Run a “Wide-Open” Offense Under Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden II

Not that he’s ever been one to bite his tongue, but Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall has dropped more than a handful of juicy sound bites since signing his new four-year deal with Washington earlier this week.

During a radio interview with ESPN 980, Hall had some interesting notes about new head coach Jay Gruden and the type of offense we can expect next season.

After calling Robert Griffin III his biggest recruiter in his return to Washington, Hall said, “What he [RG3] loves is just Jay’s willingness to let him kind of be him, you know what I mean? There’s not going to be any restrictions on him, there’s not gonna be no read-option offense. This is gonna be an offense that’s gonna be wide-open.”

“That’s the first thing Jay told me,” Hall continued. “I know you like to cover this route, but I’ll tell you what, in training camp you’re gonna get every route known to man. This offense is gonna run ‘em all. He was just saying hey, I’m throwing everything I can at RG, and heck, if he can’t pick something up we’ll back down. But right now the kid is in here every day, he’s learning and he’s picking it up very well.”

So that’s fun.

On Friday, Gruden addressed the media while in Indianapolis for the Combine. We can toss these tidbits into our bucket of outlook for the Redskins offense next season too.

Sure, we already knew that. But damn if we don’t like hearing it reiterated.


Griffin’s motivation — another trait that shouldn’t be questioned. 


See, guys. Coach Gruden reads our Twitter timelines.


Ehhhhhh, this is somewhat of a downer. Then again, it’s not necessarily the physical size of the line that’s concerning. The left guard could weigh a solid 250 and no one would give a hoot — we just want the guy to be good.

Either way, don’t take this quote to mean the Redskins won’t address the offensive line this offseason. Whether you want to blame weight, height, skill or shoe size, the blocking was not good last year. That has to change in 2014.


Redskins Have No Interest in Trading Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

We can put the trade rumors to bed — at least for now. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Redskins have no plans, or interest in trading backup quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Although Schefter’s “he’s not going anywhere” line seems firm, we’re all well aware of how quickly things can change. If a team targets a quarterback in May’s upcoming draft and they miss, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear the phones ringing at Redskins Park.

That being said, if the Redskins are offered a second-round pick in this draft in exchange for Cousins (and assuming it’s not a late second-rounder), the Redskins need to take it. This 2014 class is deep and the roster in Washington has plenty of holes to fill. The Redskins can’t afford to miss out on landing a potential starter in order to retain what they foresee (we think/hope) as a career backup.


Redskins and DeAngelo Hall Agree to Four-Year Deal

Courtesy of Toni L. Sandys - Washington Post

Courtesy of Toni L. Sandys – Washington Post

UPDATE: According to Ian Rapoport of, Hall’s contract is worth $17 million over four years, including $3.25 million to sign and $2 million more in guarantees.

Re-signing DeAngelo Hall was near the top of the Redskins’ priority list this offseason, and the team wasted very little time getting a deal done.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora and, the Redskins and Hall have agreed to a new four-year deal, said to be worth $5 million per season. 1

The sticker shock is understandable. The jump in Hall’s salary from less than $1.5 million last season, to nearly fives times as much for the next four years seems a bit much. But ignore the Pro Football Focus grades from a year ago and take into account how well Hall has played since the middle of 2012 onward.

Sure, the Redskins defense has been the butt of plenty of jokes, but Hall served as one of the sole bright spots. He’s the team’s best cover corner, a local guy who wants to play in Washington and a passionate leader in the locker room.

In comparing Hall’s new reported salary of $5 million per year to other corners in the league, it’s right up there between Brandon Flowers (Kansas City, $5.25 million) and Cary Williams (Philadelphia, $4.75 million).

According to Spotrac, Hall’s new salary ranks in the bottom-half of the top 25 cornerback salaries in the NFL. It’s hard to argue that’s not a fair deal for both Hall and the Redskins.

While some will holler about Hall’s age — he’ll turn 31 in November — this deal may be indicative of his long-term future in Washington, which could involve a move from corner to safety in a couple years.

If you didn’t watch a lot of Redskins games over the past two seasons, the questioning and chuckling is understandable. But if you’ve had a chance to see Hall’s body of work lately alongside a sub-par supporting cast, it’s simple. This deal works for everyone.


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