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#HailMail: Free Agency Is On the Horizon


Free agency affords Ron Rivera with his first real opportunity to build the 2020 roster, and Redskins Nation is curious about his plans. Here's what Redskins fans want to know:

Are the Redskins considering Blake Bell as a free agent tight end? I think he would be a great fit. -- Darrell W.

As of this writing, Bell has not been linked to the Redskins as a possible free agent target.

Bell is a five-year veteran in the NFL who has been with four teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. He has 38 receptions for 424 yards and averages 11.2 yards per reception. He has yet to score a touchdown.

Bell would certainly be a cheap veteran option for the team and provide depth for a tight end group that had virtually no production last year. He could be useful in two- or three-tight end sets as a blocker or even an occasional pass catcher in certain situations.

If the Redskins do end up acquiring him, it will likely be later in free agency, as there are plenty of viable options for a starting tight end. You can see a list of them, HERE.

How likely are the Redskins to get Isaiah Simmons? -- Daryl J.

The Redskins have the chance to draft essentially any player with the No. 2 overall pick. Simmons would absolutely be available to them.

Simmons was already predicted to be a first-round pick, but his stock will likely rise even higher after his combine performance. He dominated the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.39 seconds and had a 39-inch vertical jump to go with a 132-inch broad jump. Simmons is versatile player who can cover zone-read plays and has the potential to diversify playbooks for defensive coordinators.

While Simmons is a promising prospect, most are predicting the Redskins to take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with their first pick. There are scenarios where they could trade down to acquire more picks, meaning Simmons would become a more viable option.

CBS Sports NFL Writer Ryan Wilson recently predicted that to happen in one of his mock drafts. He had the Redskins trading their pick to the Miami Dolphins, who have three first-round picks this year, to go from No. 2 to No. 5. You can check out our story on Wilson's mock draft, HERE.

Take a look at the top photos from the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN. Photos by NFL.

Any chance of trading the second overall pick and getting a wide receiver like Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III? -- Troy G.

As a part of the Redskins' theoretical trade with the Dolphins, Wilson also has the team getting one of Miami's other first-round picks at No. 18 overall. His mock draft has the Redskins taking Ruggs with that pick.

Ruggs is considered to be one of this year's top receivers along with Jeudy, his fellow Alabama teammate. Ruggs had the fastest 40 time of the combine with a 4.27. If Wilson's mock draft does come true and the Redskins pair Ruggs with Terry McLaurin, it would make them a formidable duo.

Is the culture of the team more reflective of the owner or who he places under him? -- Dave H.

In this particular case, the answer to your question is both.

When Redskins owner Dan Snyder first met with Rivera about potentially being his next head coach, he wanted to make sure Rivera knew that he felt the head coach mattered on NFL teams. He did research on all the league's successful franchises and determined they all have a coach-centered approach.

It's been more than two months since Rivera was introduced as the Redskins' head coach, and the team has embodied that philosophy. Rivera has been at the forefront of almost every major decision the team has made in the past nine weeks and is working closely with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith on molding the Redskins' roster for the 2020 season.

So while Snyder has made it clear he wants to make Rivera the driving voice of the team, Rivera is working to establish the sustainable winning culture he has preached about since taking the job.

What is the quarterback situation looking like? Are we ready to move on and bring up Dwayne Haskins or looking at a free agent veteran?-- Jeffrey M.

Rivera has spoken a lot on Haskins when talking about the team's starting quarterback, and all of it has been positive.

He also isn't ruling anything out.

Rivera mentioned veteran quarterbacks who could get a shot in his introductory press conference. He also told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael and's Kyle Stackpole ahead of Super Bowl LIV that there are two viable options at quarterback on the roster. Case Keenum and Colt McCoy will be free agents in two weeks, so he was presumably talking about Haskins and Alex Smith, who is still recovering from a broken leg.

Rivera also told local reporters at the NFL Combine that the Redskins planned to meet with top draft prospects Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow.

All this means that Rivera and the coaching staff like Haskins and believe he can be the starting quarterback, but they are also looking at all options to bring in someone to push him and compete to be the starting quarterback.

What positions could the Redskins be looking for in later rounds? -- Kevin W.

The Redskins have four picks in the latter half of the draft: one pick in the fourth round, one in the fifth and two in the seventh. There could be future trades to acquire more picks, but as it stands right now, most the team's draft class will come in later rounds.

One of the biggest needs on the team resides on the offensive line, particularly at guard. Both Brandon Scherff and Ereck Flowers are set to hit free agency. Rivera has said that the team wants to keep both players, but should they lose one or both of them, that will put a hole in their starting unit.

There's also a chance the team could draft a wide receiver. This year's draft pool is considered to be full of quality talent at the position. The Redskins will likely miss out on some of the top picks like Ruggs and Jeudy, but there are other options like Ohio State's K.J. Hill, who said at the combine that he would love a reunion with fellow Buckeyes Haskins and McLaurin.

Do you think Ryan Anderson could move to tight end? He seems like he has the perfect build for this position. -- Scott M.

The irony of this question is that Anderson has played on offense as early as last season.

Anderson was trying to get on the field in any possible early in his career. He only played an average of 13 snaps his rookie year and 12 in his second, so he volunteered to play fullback just to get off the sideline.

He only appeared in five snaps last year and 22 over the course of his career, but it was enough to get praise from Adrian Peterson for his work in goal line formations.

Anderson's offensive snaps quickly tailed off as injuries began to pile up on defense, and he performed well during that stretch. He finished the season with four sacks, 43 tackles and five forced fumbles.

If anyone was to make a switch from defense to offense, Anderson has the background to make it work. With that being said, I feel like he did enough last year to earn the right to compete for playing time in Jack Del Rio's defense.

What's Trent Williams' status with the team? -- @themrsllucas

It's still unknown when or if Williams will rejoin the team, but there have been some positive signs in the past few weeks.

Rivera and Williams have been in contact with each other recently. Rivera confirmed as much at the combine when asked about the relationship between Williams and the new coaching staff. Smith, who was also asked about Williams, said that he expects him to report like the rest of the team.

But Rivera was also quick to say that their relationship is a work in progress. He wants things to remain fluid, and until Williams officially announces that he will rejoin the team, that's the most we can expect from the left tackle.

How are all the players recovering that were put on Injured Reserve and how much of a role will they play in which positions the Redskins will target in free agency? -- @BryonAndrews2

The Redskins ended the season with 21 players on Injured Reserve, so it would be hard to know exactly how every player is doing in their recovery. But based on what we've seen from the players who have been more open about the process, it looks as if it's going well.

Running back Derrius Guice, who was on Injured Reserve twice last year, has been the most active about his recovery from a strained MCL he suffered against the Green Bay Packers. He recently posted multiple videos on Twitter of him in the weight room and running in the team's indoor practice facility.

Bryce Love, who spent all of last year recovering from a torn ACL, joined Stackpole and Gabe Henderson on "The Rundown," and he sounds positive about being ready for his professional debut in 2020. Smith has also said that he expects Love and Guice to be "ready to go."

There isn't much to update on the rest of the Redskins IR squad, but there hasn't been any negative news, either, which is a good thing.

As for how it might affect their free agent targets, it might have some bearing on their decisions. But I believe Rivera and his coaching staff are more interested in finding the right players, even if that means signing or drafting from positions where other options are already available.

Is making the playoffs our goal this season and how will free agency play out? -- Paul G.

Rivera hasn't set out any specific goals for his first season, but based on what Rivera said in his opening press conference, he expects a quick turnaround in his new regime.

"I told [Snyder] I didn't want to go through a five-year rebuilding process, because quite honestly, I don't have the patience."

Rivera likes the young talent on the team; it's one of the things that attracted him to the job. He has praised their ability and believes he can win with many pieces already in place.

The first two weeks of free agency will be a sudden outburst of activity followed by a gradual decrease in news. Most of the top-tier players will already have deals in place before March 18, as the league will allow teams to participate in "legal tampering" on March 16. That will leave teams time to focus on other players who could add depth to their roster.

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