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#HailMail: Addressing Day 1 Of Free Agency


Free agency is finally here, and moves are constantly being made as teams are scrambling to sign players. Without further ado, let's get to questions. Here's what Redskins fans want to know:

The Redskins haven't been as active with the big name free agents as I have expected. What is the reason for this? -- Walter P.

As a general fan of the NFL, I can understand fans' frustrations about not landing big names yet in free agency.

Head coach Ron Rivera came to the Redskins with a plan to turn a team that went 3-13 last year into a contender. He said he doesn't have the patience for a rebuilding process, so it's clear he wants to win now. That is something that excited people about the team's future, and it should.

I get it when fans start clambering for the top-tier free agents, and I don't blame them for it. And it's possible that Rivera and his coaching staff wanted some of them. But in order to build the "sustainable, winning culture" Rivera has talked about, they can't focus on only big names.

A well-structured team needs depth and players who could become starters. It needs players like Wes Schweitzer and Kevin Pierre-Louis, both of whom reportedly agreed to terms with the Redskins. It needs leaders like Jon Bostic, who is reportedly re-signing with the team.

Big names are great, but they can't be the only goal in free agency. Rivera and vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith have a plan for this roster, and as cliché as it sounds, fans need to trust in it.

Why would you sign a 36-year-old linebacker? -- Nicholas M.

If you're referring to Thomas Davis, who reportedly agreed to terms with the Redskins, then the answer is simple: he's still highly productive.

Most players start to decline around their mid-30's, but there are a few who find a way to still be serviceable. Davis is one of those players. He had a team-high 112 tackles, which would have been second on the Redskins, with the Chargers last season, and he started all 16 games for the sixth time in his career.

There's also the fact that Davis knows Rivera's system and the culture he wants to establish in Washington. He bought into Rivera's philosophy when he was first hired by the Carolina Panthers in 2011. That led him to three straight Pro Bowls and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015.

Davis has totaled at least 100 tackles in seven of his 15 seasons and was one Rivera's best linebackers with the Panthers. That is the kind of player Rivera wants to have around him.

Why have we not invested anything on offense? -- Shaquel G.

There has reportedly been some news on the offensive side of the ball since this question was asked.

According to reports, the Redskins are set to bring in running back J.D. McKissic and tight end Logan Thomas. McKissic, who spend last season with the Detroit Lions, played for three years with the Seattle Seahawks and has been a utility back since he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State. He had 438 yards of total offense and a touchdown in 2019.

Thomas, who also played for the Lions has year, caught 16 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown, which came during their Week 12 matchup against the Redskins.

There are still plenty of players available, but we're keeping track of all our free agency moves in our journal, which you can check out HERE.

Do you think the Redskins will go after a free agent WR or OT or just wait for the draft? -- @FranFHTTR4Life

The Redskins are in perfect position to do either in regards to both of those positions.

Options are limited when it comes to left tackle, which would be the position the Redskins would likely pursue in free agency, but there are still plenty of receivers still left, according to Spotrac. They could get veterans like Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, or they could go even younger and try to sign Devin Funchess or Robby Anderson.

They could also wait until April and draft someone to go with their already young receiving corps. There are some mock drafts that have the Redskins trading down to get Henry Ruggs III, but they could pick almost anyone with the No. 2 overall pick. That includes Jerry Jeudy, who many consider to be the best prospect in a deep receiver class.

There are more options at tackle in the draft, as well. Some of the top prospects include Jedrick Wills out of Alabama, Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa and Andrew Thomas out of Georgia.

What positions are the Redskins still looking at to fill their roster? -- Kyle J.

Since the "legal tampering" period officially opened Monday afternoon, the Redskins have reportedly signed three linebackers, a defensive end, a tight end, a guard, a tackle, a running back, a cornerback and a safety. That more or less covers the list of needs the team has, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rivera continued to add to those positions.

Offensive line and tight end are still arguably the biggest areas of need. Even with the reports that the Redskins have agreed to terms with Schweitzer, Cornelius Lucas and Thomas, I could see them adding another player or two to those positions.

There are still questions at wide receiver and backup quarterback that need to be addressed. The Redskins have three wide receivers already, but many believe they need a veteran in that group. Rivera also wants to push Haskins to earn a starting job, and his competition could come either in free agency or the draft.

Are we ready as an organization ready to commit to Derrius Guice? I know we have Bryce Love and Adrian Peterson, but do you think a trade is possible for Guice? -- @Wentzjamie

I believe the Redskins are ready to commit to Guice, but they want to have a healthy supply of backups in case he gets injured again.

Guice proved in four games last year that he can be one of the main pieces on offense. However, he's also been injured for most of his professional career. That's why the Redskins still have Peterson, Love and now McKissic, according to reports.

The short answer is that Guice is still a part of the Redskins' plans in 2020, so a trade is highly unlikely at this time.

Would the Redskins consider signing Cam Newton? -- Kenneth M.

There are certainly plenty of connections between Newton and the new Redskins coaching staff to warrant the question.

Rivera drafted Newton with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The two helped take the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 with a 15-1 record in addition to three other postseason appearances. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner also worked with Newton last year, so he would understand the Redskins' new offensive system.

Newton has been given permission to seek a trade from the Panthers, but a possible deal with the Redskins would require precious draft capital. Even if Newton was released, he would have to compete with Dwayne Haskins to be the starting quarterback, and I'm not sure he would want to do that after starting for his entire career.

Maybe the situation will change, but for now, I don't believe the Redskins will end up signing Newton.

What are we going to do with the franchise tag on Brandon Scherff? -- Eddie W.

Placing a franchise tag of a player can bring mixed reactions from fans, but I believe this was a good move by the Redskins.

The Redskins officially placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Scherff on Saturday afternoon. That action does three things: in ensures that Scherff will get a salary based on the average of five largest salaries for his position or 120% of his previous salary; the Redskins will be able to match any offer Scherff receives from other team; and the team will be awarded two first-round picks should it decline to match an offer.

I understand that players would rather have a long-term deal in place, and there is always the possibility the Redskins could do that later in the offseason. Contracts are rarely an easy thing to negotiate, and placing a franchise tag on Scherff allows more time for that to happen.

How much power does Rivera have? -- Bob Y.

I'll put it this way: the Redskins are completely behind Rivera and wherever he wants to take the franchise.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has put his complete faith in Rivera from the moment he made him the head coach. He believes successful teams put their head coach at the forefront, which is why he has allowed Rivera to work so closely with Smith on all roster decisions.

Rivera has been allowed to bring in most of his old coaching staff from Carolina, and he has a say in all decisions regarding free agent and draft prospects. His opinion carries more significance than most within the organization.

The Redskins have not hired a general manager yet, meaning it's Rivera and Smith leading the team into the future.

I noticed a lot of offensive linemen are off the board already. Who are a couple of good options remaining? -- Eric S.

There aren't many options in terms of what the Redskins need, which is a starting left tackle. However, there are some veterans out there who may be available for short-term deals.

One of the best players who has yet to sign with a team is former Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. Peters in 38 years old, but he has been to nine Pro Bowls and been an All-Pro twice in his career. He would only be a short-term answer, but he could certainly fill a hole in a young offensive line group.

Another is Kelvin Beachum, who is 30 years old but doesn't have Peters' background. When he and New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold were both healthy, the Jets were 7-2 and averaged 329.1 yards of offense per game.

Neither of these players are considered to be top-tier players, but they are quality players who could fit in well on the offensive line.

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