ASHBURN — New Redskins safety Landon Collins stepped up to the podium Thursday in front of a filled auditorium, telling those in attendance about his excitement in joining the franchise. He spoke glowingly over his admiration for Redskins legend Sean Taylor. He discussed the ways he’ll fit in Washington’s defense.
But despite the Redskins trotting out their six-year, $84 million man for the first time, Collins obviously doesn’t solve every problem for Washington — and the team understands this, too.
On the same day Collins was introduced, Washington lost safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Chicago Bears on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. The team was still hopeful they could agree to a deal with Clinton-Dix, but found out about his departure soon after Collins’ press conference.
That means safety — despite Collins’ arrival — is among the team’s list of needs moving forward.
Senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said Washington needs to add at guard, edge rusher, wide receiver and safety.
He also said quarterback is still a need, even after trading for Case Keenum last week.
“We’ve still got work to do,” Williams said. “When you look at this football team, you (can) go anywhere basically. … There are still some people out there we can add.”
The Redskins don’t view Collins as a traditional “box safety,” which involves playing close to the line of scrimmage. Last year, the Redskins would occasionally interchange each safety’s role depending on the formation, though D.J. Swearinger would often fill the box while Clinton-Dix remained deep.
Washington had hoped they could pair Collins with Clinton-Dix, who was acquired at the trade deadline last season. Before the news broke, Collins said he spoke with the safety to convince him to stay with Washington.
But Collins’ pitch ultimately didn’t work.
If the Redskins don’t add anyone, they’ll have to replace the safety with either Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke or Deshazor Everett.
“We’ve got to move forward,” Williams said when asked about Clinton-Dix’s departure. “We can’t pump the brakes. We’ve still got to go and find players.”
Washington also saw Maurice Harris leave in free agency Thursday as the wide receiver agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. With Jamison Crowder signing with the New York Jets days earlier, the Redskins could look to the draft to find a replacement.
As for quarterback, coach Jay Gruden confirmed Keenum will compete with veteran Colt McCoy for the starting job — telling reporters he had “absolutely zero idea” who will start Week 1.
Both men, though, aren’t under contract for 2020. That leaves the Redskins with only Alex Smith beyond this season, but he’s still a major question mark as he recovers from a broken leg. That’s why drafting a quarterback remains a possibility
“It’s still in play,” Williams said. “We were just going over the board this morning and I can say this: There’s a lot of guys up there — whether we’re at 15 or we move up or we move back — you’ve still got to think what’s best for the football team.
“The good part about at this time, we’re not there. The draft is not today.”
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