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ESPN.com Insider: Synder Smarter w/ His Signings


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Finally someone sees the forrest for the trees. HTTR

Snyder smarter with his signings

posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 |

Reader Josh in the District writes, "You must be finding all of Dan Snyder's cap room for him. It's probably a busy job with all the money he's handing out. That must be why you haven't updated your blog during a fast and furious free agent season."

Well, I wish I could be that privy to the Redskins' signings, but the reason I've been AWOL during one of the busiest free agent weeks ever was because I spent it on the beaches of Huatulco, a town of 15,000 in Mexico that's currently under the radar, but trust me, your kids will want to visit for spring break some day.

In catching up, and fielding all the e-mails wondering what the Redskins are doing, I have reached this conclusion: The Redskins are getting smarter about spending their loot. One of the best beat writers around, The Washington Post's Jason La Canfora, noted in his story on Saturday exactly how the Skins have done it: By spending about the same amount on every guy. According to La Canfora, the contracts of Antwaan Randle El, Adam Archuleta and Andre Carter are basically the same, $30 million over six years, with near-minimum salaries and decent ($5 million) bonuses.

Despite signing those players, the Redskins were under the cap as of late last week after trading Patrick Ramsey.

Many of You The Readers have asked why in the world the Skins would want three receivers -- Santana Moss, Randle El and Brandon Lloyd -- who are small and fast. Two weeks ago, I sat in an office at Redskins Park with new offensive coordinator Al Saunders. He and coach Joe Gibbs approach offense from the same angle, the Don Coryell sets that Dan Fouts and Co. turned into high-wire acts in the 1980s.

In Kansas City, Saunders directed one of the league's most feared attacks without any outside receiving threats; the dominant players in KC's passing game were Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes. From doing various Chiefs stories over the years and talking to Saunders for all of them, I could tell he wished he had a wideout. He wanted a wideout, but well, he never got one. Even two years ago, when the Chiefs tried to line up Dante Hall in every conceivable position to turn him into an air threat, it failed.

As I sat with Saunders, he was excited. This was the most talent he'd had outside since he coached receivers for the Rams in the late '90s -- and that was just with Moss. I see where Washington is headed offensively: They're hoping to replicate the Rams with tiny, fast playmakers outside and a quarterback winging it.

Moss proved last year that he's as dependable as any big-play guy there is in the NFL, Steve Smith included. Randle El, who's never caught more than 47 passes in a season, isn't your classic receiver, but does add some elements that can be tricky to defend. Lloyd might have been a first rounder a few years ago had he not broken his leg at Illinois; as he is, he's a deep threat with a penchant for the highlight-reel catch.

The only question: Can Mark Brunell get the ball downfield? Will his arm and legs hold up for 20 games? His play slid badly last year toward the end of the season, and he's not getting any younger.


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Anybody think we will pull a switch at the very end? I mean its hard to watch film on a guy you haven't seen played.. Could this be a tactet used? Use Brunellt to get us to the playoffs and then use campbell (who will be fresh as anyone out there) to take us over the hump?.

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