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#HailMail: More On Free Agency And Other Potential Targets


It's been two weeks since free agency officially began, and the Redskins have been busy trying to improve their roster. Here's what fans want to know about the new additions to the team and other potential targets:

Why have we not gone after a starting quality left tackle and left guard in free agency? Schweitzer and Lucas seem to be more depth. -- Michael B.

I would argue that Wes Schweitzer and Cornelius Lucas are starting-caliber players; they just haven't started every game of their careers.

I believe there is a misconception that the term "starting quality" is only for players who have started in almost every game from the moment they're drafted, and it's simply not true. Lucas, for example, has been a backup for most of his six years in the NFL, but it is worth pointing out that half of his career starts came last season when he started in eight games.

On the other hand, Schweitzer has been a starter for most of his career. After not playing at all during his rookie year, he switched from tackle to guard and started the whole season. Out of 46 games, he has started in 36 of them.

The Redskins also like their young players, so it's likely that Ron Rivera brought in players with starting experience to push them and create competition.

Will Thomas Davis Sr. have a large role in our defense this year? -- Emilie D.

Based on what Davis did last year, it's completely realistic to believe he will have a big impact on this defense.

Davis is one of the rare players who has found a way to still be effective well into their 30s. He started in all 16 games last year and had 112 tackles, which is the third-highest of his career for a single season. He's also started in at least 12 games per season since 2012, and his three Pro Bowl seasons came when he was 32, 33 and 34 years old.

Davis knows what Rivera wants out of his players and is familiar with the culture he wants to establish. Those are all good signs that Davis will be a big part of the Redskins defense next year. But he told local reporters earlier this week that he just wants to do whatever is asked of him, whether that is as a starter or a backup.

So, while he might not always be in the starting lineup, the hope is that Davis will have a positive influence on the team no matter what his role is.

Could the Redskins still target Cam Newton? -- Donnie S.

I can confidently say the Redskins will not try to bring in Newton.

We know this for certain because Rivera said as much when he went on a Charlotte-based radio station to discuss a variety of topics, including Newton and the Redskins' quarterback situation.

The connections between Newton and Rivera are certainly obvious. Rivera drafted Newton in 2011 with the No.1 overall pick, and the two had plenty of success, including a trip to Super Bowl 50.

Despite that, Rivera said there was no interest in signing Newton.

"At the end of the day, we have a young football team with a young quarterback in position. We have the chance to set and establish a thing, so that's the way we're looking at it."

Why are we putting so much attention on the running back position when we have bigger holes in our roster? -- Connor S.

I think the best answer to this question comes from J.D. McKissic, who told local reporters that running backs are "very important" to offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

We don't know much about Turner's version of the "Air Coryell" system; after all, he only called plays in four games last year. But we do know that he likes to use versatile running backs who can catch passes out of the backfield and can line up as a receiver. He had the ultimate version of this in Christian McCaffrey, who had 1,005 receiving yards last season.

The Redskins are not likely to find another player like McCaffrey, but they can find some who have a similar skillsets. Look at the running backs the team has on its roster: McKissic, Derrius Guice, Bryce Love and Peyton Barber. All four of those players can run between the tackles and be used as receivers.

As to why the Redskins have added two new backs, I believe it goes back to creating competition. There are currently six running backs on the roster, and it's doubtful they will keep them all. So, they will likely let them compete for a spot and keep the one they feel helps the team the most.

What are more possible targets the Redskins could sign in free agency? -- Tyler P.

Barring anything unusual, the Redskins are probably done signing players for now.

Despite making hardly any "flashy" moves, the Redskins have been fairly active in free agency this year. They've brought in 14 new players, including Kyle Allen via trade, re-signed three of their own and franchised tagged Brandon Scherff. That makes for 18 transactions over the past three weeks.

However, they could still bolster some positions, particularly on offense. Logan Thomas and Richard Rodgers are solid depth pieces, but neither of them are viewed as consistent starters. The same can be said for tackles Lucas and Jeremy Vujnovich. Both of them have been starters in the past and will likely compete for the open spot at left tackle, but they are still widely viewed as backups.

The Redskins have the cap space to go after a player they feel they need to sign, but Rivera and vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith have tried to be smart with who they sign and how much money they want to offer. At this point, any new player they sign will have to address the right need at the right price.

What are the chances of bringing in cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick? -- Blake F.

I originally thought Kirkpatrick could be an option for the Redskins, but after looking at his recent production, I don't think the Redskins will be a suitor.

Kirkpatrick was certainly good earlier in his career. From 2013-17, he had 10 interceptions -- two of which were returned for touchdowns -- and 52 pass defenses. Those are the type of stats that warrant consideration for being one of the better cornerbacks in the league.

The problem is that Kirkpatrick hasn't matched those numbers in recent seasons, mostly because of injury. He was on Injured Reserve in 2018 and 2019 with a shoulder and knee injury, respectively. He was activated last year and started the final six games, but he wasn't overly productive with just 33 tackles, four pass defenses and no interceptions.

Could Kirkpatrick still be a starting cornerback? It's certainly possible. But there are simply too many questions surrounding him, in my opinion, for the Redskins to sign him, especially since they seem to like the options already on the roster.

When are we going to address the need of wide receiver and offensive line? -- Shane H.

Good news: the Redskins have addressed both of those positions.

I have already spoken on all four of the addition to the offensive line, but I will add that most of them have experience at guard and tackle, so they could be useful as starters or backups.

As for wide receiver, the Redskins recently signed Cody Latimer, who spent the past two seasons with the Giants. He's coming off his best statistical season with 24 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

Those might not be the options fans were hoping for, but these players do add depth and experience in areas where it was sorely needed last year. And for those who feel like these signings aren't enough, the NFL Draft is particularly deep at wide receiver. So, the Redskins might not be done adding to those positions.

Will we go after Brasaud Breeland? -- Carlton H.

I'll say this about Breeland: he would certainly fill a need.

Like recently signed Kendall Fuller, Breeland helped the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers. He also played in Washington with Fuller before signing one-year deals with the Green Bay Packers and the Chiefs.

Breeland was a solid player with the Redskins from 2014-17. He had eight interceptions, 60 pass defenses and 270 tackles. He had at least 50 tackles in each of his four seasons with the Redskins. He didn't match that total with either the Packers or Chiefs.

There are some connections between Breeland and the Redskins, but a signing doesn't look promising in the foreseeable future. The Redskins want to see what they have in their young defensive backs, and they recently signed cornerback Ronald Darby to compete for a starting job.

That's not to say things could change. There is still plenty of time between now and the season opener. But for right now, it probably won't happen.

Now that we are returning to a traditional 4-3 defense, which won the team three Super Bowls, would having a defensive line of Matt Ioannidis, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Tim Settle be a formidable front four? -- Bobby P.

I don't know about that specific lineup, but I will say that free agents have noticed how good this defensive line can be.

In addition to being reunited with Rivera, Davis said the young players on defense, particularly in the front four, made Washington an ideal destination. He thinks "the pieces are in place to be successful" and the defensive front is "capable of completely wrecking the game."

"As a linebacker, you want to play behind guys that are capable of doing that," Davis said. "That allows you to be free, that allows you to make plays."

Davis didn't name any player specifically, but that includes all the players who make up this front.

When will the year start? Has COVID-19 affected the starting date? -- James W.

As of right now, the 2020 season is still scheduled to begin on Sept. 10.

The NFL has tried to maintain a sense of normalcy through this unprecedented time by allowing the league year to begin on time and the draft to go on, although it will not be open to the public and will not be the event it has been in years past.

The league hasn't been immune to changing some aspects of the offseason, though. OTAs are postponed for foreseeable future, and teams have shut down their facilities to most players and employees until at least next week.

If I had to guess whether the season will start on time, I would hesitantly say yes. However, it's important to remember we are in uncharted territory. Things could change drastically in five months. No one truly knows how things will turn out by then.

So, I would prepare for the Redskins to begin another season as you normally would, but don't be surprised if things change between now and September.

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