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Before even going out there, however, I am officially changing my view that James Thrash faces an uphill battle to make the team. I wouldn't say that he's on the 53 man roster for sure, but he's doing what he does: hustling, doing whatever is asked of him and then some.
That leaves Anthony Mix in a precarious position. He's not been doing much to get noticed and considering that the team drafted two big receivers he needs to do more than just impressively fill out a uniform.
By the way, this is a pretty nice Mickey D's. Some stuffed chairs, free Wi Fi and a TV. Drop by if you're in the area.
On Friday morning, starting at about 8:00 AM EDT or so, I'll be running a live blog from training camp at Redskins Park.
Armed with my trusty Blackberry Pearl, I'll be taking pictures and sending along my thoughts and impressions as the Redskins toil away in the July heat. I'll also bring along my "real" camera and later in the day I'll post some more pictures and give you a recap of the day.
I won't be able to see comments to the blog posts while I'm out there, so I'll include an email address in my initial article for you to ask questions and send along comments. I'll pass them along into the main blog as best I can.
This should be fun and I hope you can drop by here on Friday to check it out.
This isn't about to become all Jason Taylor all the time, but with things settling back to normal at Redskins Park as the grind of training camp sets in, it's a good time to take one last look back at the trade that brought him to Washington.
The more I think about it, the more I like it.
I'm not yet drinking the Kool-Aid, but it's better than I thought it was at first blush. What I like is that it makes the Redskins better right now. And, if you look at what they gave up the way that the NFL's movers and shakers do on draft day, it's not as steep as it seems.
When trades involving draft picks are made, selections in future years are devalued by a round. For example, when the Redskins traded for the pick to draft Chris Cooley, they gave up a 2005 second-rounder to get the 2004 third. That's standard practice since the receiving team gets the use of the player for a year before having to pay for him.
So, since there is a football season in between now and the time that the Redskins will pay for the pickup of Taylor, you could say that the Redskins gave up the equivalent of a third-round pick (the '10 sixth gets devalued down to an undrafted free agent) for Jason Taylor.
That's a homeristic slant, no doubt, but there is some legitimacy to it.
The Redskins are now in a box
The major negative in the deal is that it's the only one the Redskins can make this year. They are out of cap room. Their stock of '09 draft picks is drying up. Should they find themselves in need at another position, such as cornerback, they're stuck either making do with what they have or they will have to put street free agents into uniform and give them meaningful playing time.
Then again, maybe it's a good idea for this bunch to have its hands tied, what with Brett Favre actively being shopped by the Packers. Plus you never know when the Bengals will tire of Chad Johnson's antics. The Taylor trade wasn't disastrous and now Vinny Cerrato and company don't have any more matches with which to play.
Time will tell
Of course, we won't definitively know if this was a good deal or a colossal blunder until sometime in the future. If Taylor plays for three years and he gets double-digit sacks each year the feeling will be that the Redskins got a reasonable return on their investment of picks and money. If they get less than that out of Taylor, the view will be that they, once again, paid a high price to bring on an aging star just as he started to hit the downside of his career.
The trade of Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins is being hailed as a master stroke by many in the national and local media.
Peter King on SI.com wrote, "I have to hand it to Snyder and Cerrato. This was a very good trade for them."
King, a noted Skins basher, raved on:
The reason the Washington trade makes so much sense is that even if Taylor gives the 'Skins just two years, dealing the 51st pick (that was their second-rounder this year) for two seasons of a top-five pass-rusher would be worth it to any thinking football person.
The King article also goes into the timeline of the trade. From initial phone call to final paperwork, the process took a little over three hours.
On ESPN.com, John Clayton said:
For the Redskins, the price -- second- and sixth-round draft picks -- was worth it. Defensive end was their thinnest position. The first-day practice losses of Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee on Sunday left them with only nine healthy defensive linemen. Erasmus James is the 10th defensive lineman left on the roster, but he's on the physically unable to perform list recovering from years of knee problems.
I'm not sure from where Clayton got the number of nine for the healthy defensive linemen. After Sunday's injuries and before the Taylor trade there were 12 of them on the roster. Subtract James and that makes 11. Perhaps he's not counting Lorenzo Alexander, who worked mostly on offense last year but has been assigned to be a defensive tackle for the time being.
Locally, Mike Wise had this take:
This was big and bold -- back to the proactive days when rebuilding through the draft could not hold a candle to rebuilding on the fly, when Daniel Snyder saw a player he liked and promptly bought him.
And before anyone compares acquiring Taylor to throwing money away on Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith or Brandon Lloyd, let's be clear: After watching Daniels go down and out for the season -- and maybe his career -- and after watching a backup like Buzbee crumple to the ground in agony, this was a move the Redskins needed to make.
It was a move the Redskins needed to make, said Wise, because of the way they have handled the acquisition of talent on the D-line in the past:
If Taylor fizzles, the Redskins have to bite the bullet and realize they put themselves in this position long before Daniels went down.
By their own doing, they neglected real upgrades to the defensive line. Andre Carter was the only bona fide change the past five years. Demetric Evans and Anthony Montgomery have yet to realize their potential.
I disagree about Montgomery—I think that he took great leaps and bounds forward last year—but his overall point is valid.
To be clear, I don't necessarily think that they should have taken Calais Campbell or Quentin Groves in the second round of the draft. I stand by my point that the biggest problem this team has had this decade is scoring points, not preventing the other team from scoring.
Still, if one injury to a starter at one position forces you to make a trade that burns a second and a sixth and over $8 million in cap space you haven't done a very good job in building depth at that position. You can nitpick over what player should have been taken over which other player with a given draft pick, but having depth means that you have someone who can step in as a starter in the event of an injury. The Redskins, by their own admission, didn't have that depth.
Even David Elfin at the Times, who never has been accused of being a homer, liked the deal:
Q: Did the Redskins mortgage the future to make this move?
A: Not unless you consider a second-round draft choice in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010 plus a lot of salary cap room consumed this year and next mortgaging the future. If Taylor makes a smooth switch from the right side to the left, it seems like a no-brainer.
I don't know about the characterization as a no-brainer, but Vinny Cerrato and company certainly acted as though it was one. No doubt, however, it was a bold move and like most bold moves it's likely that it will prove to be either a master stroke or a colossal blunder.
Time will tell.
I don't usually like to do pull quotes from something I wrote just a few hours ago, but I'll make an exception in this case:
From this article posted today a 4:16 PM EDT:
Trading for Jason Taylor and giving up a conditional fifth-round pick and having him work his contract to a cap-friendly deal that would contain a big roster bonus to be paid on opening day of 2009 would be OK. Giving up a second-rounder and having to work around his $8.1 million salary this year, making him a very expensive one-year rental, would be dumb.
The deal that went down this evening was the "dumb" deal and then some. The Washington Redskins gave up an '09 second and a '10 sixth for the right to Taylor's contract as is.
The only potential mitigating difference here is that Vinny Cerrato is "100 percent confident he'll play more than one year." There's some reason to believe that this is the case as, according to Jason LaCanfora, the relationship between Cerrato and Taylor's agent Gary Wichard is "uncommonly close" (not that there's anything wrong with that).
So, if Taylor plays for two or three years, the deal starts to make a little more sense—but only a little. A second is a lot to give up for a short-term player and by any definition two or three years is short term.
The trade does improve the defense, immediately and considerably. Taylor was the league's defensive MVP just two years ago and he immediately becomes the team's best defensive linemen, perhaps their best overall player. For the first time in years the Redskins will line up bookend defensive ends, both of whom should post double-digit sacks. Andre Carter posted 10.5 sacks in 2007.
It's the kind of deal that would be great for a team that is just a player away from being a legit Super Bowl contender. Are the Redskins, a playoff team two of the past three years, that sort of team?
If not for a couple of factors like a head coach and a quarterback who are going to be doing some on-the-job learning, maybe. By Zorn's own admission, it's going to take Jason Campbell a few years to master his version of the West Coast offense. Jason Taylor won't be playing here in a few years and neither will the second-round talent that the Redskins gave up to obtain him.
Initially, the news that the Redskins had pulled the trigger on this trade surprised me. It seemed like they were changing their ways and using draft picks on college players instead of dealing them for short term quick fixes.
But then I remembered all the way back to April when Cerrato had an offer of at least one first-round pick and possibly two for Chad Johnson. They were saved from that one by the Bengals insistence that they were not going to trade away Johnson.
The Dolphins weren't inclined to save the Redskins from themselves on this occasion.
Maybe Taylor will play for three seasons, post 35 sacks, and be a key to a couple of deep playoff runs. Or he may provide a few, very expensive thrills before riding off into the sunset after the 2009 season.
The Redskins are all in betting the former.
According to multiple sources, the Redskins have traded for Miami defensive end Jason Taylor.
It appears that the cost—reported to be a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010—was quite steep for a player who has said he will play for one more season.
The Washington Redskins lost a second defensive end for the season today as it was announced that Alex Buzbee ruptured his right Achilles' tendon during the afternoon practice.
Phillip Daniels went out in the morning practice with an injured ACL.
Unlike Daniels, who was a projected starter, Buzbee was a long shot to make the team. Still, the departure of two DE's from the lineup in one day leaves the Redskins thin at the position. With
Erasmus James unable to practice while he is recovering from knee problems of his own, the Redskins will have to do some shopping in a hurry.
One possibility would be to bring back Tommy Davis, a 2007 practice squad member, who was cut last week. They may work on a trade to fill the position, but in the meantime they need to get two warm bodies in there.
Cornerback Fred Smoot also suffered an injury in the afternoon, although his didn't appear to be as serious. He sprained his left ankle and, according to Jim Zorn, the hope is that he will miss less than a week.