When the clock went final on Sunday, the Redskins 2018 season finally ended. The last two months revealed a team with big holes and multiple needs, and with the offseason now approaching, it's worth a first look at what is to come next.
1. Who's the Boss?
The questions in Washington start at the top, like will Jay Gruden be back in 2019. All signs point to yes, but likely with a very different coaching staff. There's also the question of front office leadership, and might something happen with team president Bruce Allen. He could be reassigned to a business role, but odds are he stays with the Redskins, like he has for nine years.
2. Who's the QB?
Alex Smith will make $20 million next season, but it's unlikely he will step on the field. While Smith works back from his horrific broken leg, Colt McCoy is the only other quarterback under contract for next season. McCoy also broke his leg in 2018, but is expected to make a full recovery by OTAs. The team must add a third QB, and that could be Josh Johnson or it could be a draft pick. But the Draft hardly has a sure thing available.
3. What about the Hall of Famer?
Adrian Peterson ran for 1,042 yards in 2018 and was one of the only bright spots for the Redskins. He was a leader on the practice field, in the wight room and in the locker room. After the dispiriting Week 17 loss to the Eagles, Peterson addressed the team and demanded every player work hard to be better for next season. Here's the thing, Peterson isn't under contract for next season. The Redskins should bring him back, and would be wise to use the exclusive window of time between now and March when free agency opens to work on a new deal with AP.
4. Pay or Go?
Preston Smith and Jamison Crowder headline the Redskins players that face free agency this offseason. Neither had stellar campaigns in 2018, but both have shown plenty of potential throughout four seasons in Washington. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is another player facing free agency, but seems unlikely to stay in burgundy and gold. Washington can exercise its fifth-year contract option with Brandon Scherff, but getting a long-term deal done with their Pro Bowl guard will be a priority as well.
5. Contract Questions, Cont.:
It's not just pending free agents that bring uncertainty. A number of players bring contractual situations where it might be advantageous to make cuts. Josh Norman has no guaranteed money in 2019 and the team could save some salary cap space if they release him. But would they? Norman still is a highly skilled CB and the Redskins secondary is decimated, particularly after the team released DJ Swearinger. 2019 also marks the first year Jordan Reed's contract not to carry guaranteed money. Other players like Vernon Davis and Zach Brown have contract years without guaranteed cash.
6. Over or Overhaul?
NFL coaching staffs go through changes every offseason. Some coaches get promoted, others get fired, and some just move on. Much of that natural movement will happen in Ashburn, but more could happen as well. If Jay Gruden stays on as head coach, he will likely get pressured to make meaningful changes to his staff. That could mean the dismissal of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, and some changes on the offensive side could be considered too.
7. Up or Away?
Two key cogs in the Redskins front office could get job offers elsewhere: Eric Schaffer and Kyle Smith. Will the Redskins promote those guys to keep them, or risk more talent drain from Redskins Park? Much of that will hinge on what happens with Bruce Allen.
The Week 17 loss to Philly might be less than 24 hours old, but for Washington, it's time to turn the page entirely. 2019 offers many more questions than 2018 did answers.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Must See Photos: The best photos from a bitter loss
- Jay Gruden's Back: Why Gruden gets another season
- Highs and Lows: Week 17 Redskins vs. Eagles recap