April 21, 2021

Redskins Continue to Improve Defense, Trade for S Goldson

The Washington Redskins are in full overhaul mode on the defensive side of the ball. GM Scot McCloughan has already reunited with former draft pick Ricky Jean-Francois, Jeron Johnson, and Chris Culliver and has now done the same with his former fourth round pick S Dashon Goldson. Goldson, along with a 7th round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, was sent to Washington for a 6th round pick also in the 2016 NFL Draft going to Tampa Bay. Based on Goldson’s recent tweet about admiring Sean Taylor and how he plans to bring winning football to Washington, it is without a doubt that he will fit right in with the fans and team.

Although the deal looks great on paper as the Redskins are getting a plug-in starter for nearly nothing, it is the money behind the deal, worth more than the draft picks that the Redskins are giving up. Goldson signed a 5-year, $41.25-million contract with the Bucs as a FA in 2013. Four million of his $7.5-million ’15 salary is guaranteed. Goldson will be 31 in Week 2 this season and was scheduled to make $8 million. The Redskins methodically negotiated a deal such that the Buccaneers will pay the $4 million fully guaranteed under Dashon Goldson’s contract for 2015 despite trade to Washington. As a result, the Redskins will take a $4 million cap charge for because of Goldson’s $3.5 million salary and $500K workout.

Although this seems to be an upgrade over the injury prone Brandon Merriweather, the Redskins look to again have just a one year place holder at safety with Goldson. Goldson is scheduled to make $8 and $7.25 million dollars during the 2016 and 2017 season and with the belief that his best years are behind him, the Redskins could easily cut ties with the two time Pro Bowler before next season.

Goldson has had 50+ tackle seasons in each of the past six seasons between the 49ers and Buccaneers, but he has only had a single interception in the past two seasons in Tampa Bay compared to the 14 he had in his last four seasons in San Francisco. Goldson’s skill set lies in his ability to make big plays as an enforcer which provided a spark to the 49ers defense, but caused him to often be out of position in Tampa Bay. Goldson, like Merriweather, has the tendency to be over aggressive and connect on helmet-to-helmet hits. His big hits were curtailed in 2014 as he started to whiff on more tackles.

Goldson, a true free safety, fills one of the remaining gaping holes in a Redskins team that struggled greatly last season. Having already signed Chris Culliver and Jeron Johnson to play in the secondary to go along with the emerging Baushad Breeland, the Redskins may have a set secondary for this season. Goldson is potentially the sixth different starter the Redskins have added on defense this offseason including Jean-Francois, Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, Culliver, and Johnson. Throw in retained solid players like Ryan Kerrigan and Breeland, and the Redskins are bound to perform better defensively.

Redskins Continue to Beef Up on the Defensive Line

After Scot McCloughan reunited with former draft pick Ricky Jean-Francois and signed former Chicago Stephen Paea, the Redskins have added a third defensive linemen, Terrence Knighton. Knighton, also known as Pot Roast, signed a bargain of a deal at one-year, $4 million. Knighton, like Jean-Francois, has finished his sixth season in the NFL. After being drafted by the Jaguars, Knighton played the past two years for Denver.

Knighton has had a consistent NFL campaign with a career 12.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Although, one might think there is too much repetition between the three free agency signings to start the 2015 NFL season, there cannot be enough quality linemen that have made a living shedding multiple blockers.

Knighton has mainly played nose tackle under Jack Del Rio’s 3-4 defensive scheme and could be in a solid role to split time at that position with his recruiter and friend Chris Baker. Along with the “prized” free agency addition last year of Jason Hatcher, the revamped defensive line looks poised to cause more havoc without blitzing next year. Moreover, the signing of Knighton might mean the Redskins will not resign Jarvis Jenkins, who is currently an unrestricted free agent after being drafted in the second round four years ago.

Although the Washington Redskins have many needs, they needed to start from the inside out with their lines of both sides of the ball. On the defensive side they have made vast improvements by getting rid of Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen while adding the younger and better bodies of Jean-Francois, Paea, and Knighton. Knighton might not be considered a three-down player, but smart moves likes these with McCloughan at the helm will help the Redskins regain respect in the league.

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