New faces: S Landon Collins, QB Dwayne Haskins, OLB Montez Sweat, QB Case Keenum, LB Jon Bostick, OT Donald Penn, OL Ereck Flowers, WR Terry McLaurin, RB Bryce Love
They’re gone: WR Jamison Crowder, OLB Preston Smith, LB Zach Brown, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, LB Mason Foster, OT Ty Nsekhe, OLB Pernell McPhee, WR Maurice Harris
2019 snapshot: Questions remain at quarterback, where Keenum emerged as the starter by default when Colt McCoy (leg) couldn’t get healthy and first-round pick Haskins showed he wasn’t quite ready.
Normally a very active team, Washington focused more on quality than quantity this offseason, resulting in a number of moves that could be categorized as boom or bust.
Collins might become the linchpin of a strong defense, or he might struggle in coverage and become an albatross of a contract (six years, $84 million, $44.5 million guaranteed). The deal has no out until at least 2022, and even then would carry $6 million in dead money to escape, making it one of the riskiest handed out this spring. Whether by design or not, the Redskins also let important contributors in Smith, Nsekhe, Clinton-Dix, Brown and Foster depart without many ideal replacements.
The draft brought two more swings for the fences, even if they were great value. Haskins has the tools to be a franchise quarterback, but he’ll need protection — LT Trent Williams’ holdout doesn’t appear close to an end — and weapons early on to ease the transition. Sweat could become the star that Smith never was opposite Ryan Kerrigan, but he cost a 2020 second-round pick and was pulled from some teams’ boards due to a heart condition. Both picks seemed like worthwhile gambles, but they are gambles nonetheless.
The offense could use another weapon, and Williams’ holdout could leave the unit as a disaster. But the defense looks solid, and underrated DL Matt Ioannidis was extended at a nice price (three years, $21.8 million).
Get to know: EDGE Montez Sweat.
At 6-foot-6, Sweat is hard to miss, but he’s standing out in other ways for the Redskins after veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn showed him some tricks of the trade during training camp. The 22-year-old has had lulls in consistency, but that’s the norm for rookies playing in the trenches.
Worth the investment?
–Despite lacking a high ceiling, the Redskins have won at least seven games in four straight seasons, which makes the over on their 6.5-win total tempting. With their improving defense and possible upside at quarterback, that figure seems reasonable.
–Only four teams — the Dolphins, Cardinals, Bengals and Bucs — have longer odds to reach the postseason than Washington (+500). There might be some value there, given the possibility that Haskins pops.
Bottom line: It could all go south, but it’s hard to argue with the upside of Haskins, Sweat and Collins. Whether they pay dividends in 2019 remains to be seen.