In the chaos and madness surrounding the recent pandemic that has put humanity on hold, the NFL is here to remind you that the 2020 season is officially upon us.
Teams across the league are getting their first chance to put pen to paper with free agents and trade acquisitions, and begin mapping the path to Week 1 in September, and the Washington Redskins are right in the thick of things. For a while, it was reported that the Redskins would make a strong push for Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper, and on Monday, those reports came true. While Washington didn’t win the bid for Cooper, who signed an extension with the Cowboys, there were three outcomes from the Amari Cooper sweepstakes that are true. All of them are good for the Redskins.
Unlike previous years, there is something the Redskins are beginning to show that has been missing for quite some time—free agent relevancy.
For years, fans had watched Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office settle for overpaying low-end free agents. Instead of landing top tier talent, the Redskins would watch players and agents turn their noses up, and go in another direction. This, in turn, led to the wheelbarrows of money rolled out for free agents like Chris Culliver, Andre Roberts, Tanard Jackson, Stephen Paea, and Kendall Reyes. Those are just to name a few.
Want your voice heard? Join the Riggo's Rag team!Write for us!
Names like Josh Norman and DeSean Jackson are exceptions to the trend, but it’s safe to say Redskins fans don’t want to hear the name Josh Norman again, so let’s move on, shall we?
Free agents like Ndamukong Suh or Jason Pierre-Paul in 2015 were bound for other teams, because why on earth would they want to be in Washington? The distrust and disdain for Bruce Allen reached far beyond the fanbase. Agents and players alike wanted nothing to do with the Redskins.
But it took just a few weeks after the team hired Ron Rivera and dismissed Bruce Allen for the organization to begin to see a pattern change. Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen came to town for a visit before accepting a job with the Seahawks. Sure, he didn’t land a job in D.C., but the point is that he was ready if the price was right. That is something the Redskins have not had in previous years.
This brings us to Amari Cooper, and the $100 million contract that keeps him in Dallas for the next five years.
The Redskins reportedly had been right in the mix with the Cowboys to land the former Alabama star, even having offered more money. Cooper opted to stay in Dallas with his deal, giving him a whopping $20 million per year average annual value. For clarity, the state of Texas does not have an income tax, while the states of Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. all do. So whatever extra money the Redskins would have offered, tax codes in each state lend some additional context.
The first takeaway is that the Redskins see a need and are attacking the most prominent names to fill the voids. This is a good sign of things to come. It also shows that teams, agents and players are willing to negotiate with the Redskins on a more serious level.
The second takeaway is one that a lot of people are surprisingly not talking about. The Redskins’ push for Cooper was a three-part operation, and the team had every reason to go all-in. For one, it was a chance to pursue a star in the league, and fill a position of need. Secondly, it was a chance to take that player away from a division rival. And finally, by going after Cooper, the Redskins did all they could to drive that price way up for the Cowboys. While option one and two didn’t go through, option three was achieved to perfection. At $20 million per year, the Dallas Cowboys are already spending enormous sums of money on running back Ezekiel Elliot and their offensive line. And who could possibly forget Dak?
The race for Amari Cooper may not have led to a deal getting done in Washington, but it sure led to Dallas forking over more money than they may have intended to keep him in the Lone Star State.
A bonus takeaway from the bid for Cooper is that the Redskins have the cash and the cap space, and are willing to take a chance on big names as they become available. That is what will be vital to rebuilding the team, and eventually the fanbase, in the coming years.
Buckle up! The next few days will be full of news and notes. The NFL, folks. Don’t you just love it?