The 2020 season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its inaugural campaign under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
With the trade deadline Tuesday at 4 p.m., the Washington Football Team has a chance to improve its current roster or collect more draft capital. So, will the team be buying, selling or staying put?
Head coach Ron Rivera did not reveal any details Monday, but he did explain what he looks for when making trades.
"Let's say we're trading for somebody and we hope that person has a number of years left on his contract and a good, favorable contract for us in terms of our cap going forward," Rivera said. "Does he fulfill that need? And if he does, will he fulfill that need for two or three years? If that's what you're getting right off the bat, then you're going to feel very fortunate those are the circumstances going forward."
The first trade Rivera made as a head coach was perhaps his best one yet. The Carolina Panthers clearly needed a tight end entering the 2011 season, and Greg Olsen, a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears, was in the final year of his rookie contract. Usually that would deter Rivera, but the Panthers extended Olsen upon acquiring him for a third-round selection, ensuring No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton had a reliable target for years to come.
Olsen ended up racking up 6,463 yards in nine years with Carolina and became the first tight end in NFL history to record three straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards.
"The Greg Olsen one was one that suited us in terms of filling a need for a period of time," Rivera said. "That's what you're looking for."
The second trade Rivera brought up Monday was when Carolina acquired defensive end Jared Allen in 2015.
The Panthers were Super Bowl contenders, so Rivera wanted to bolster the team's pass rush with an established veteran. Allen started 14 games between the regular season and playoffs during his final NFL season, helping the Panthers advance to their second-ever Super Bowl.
At 2-5, Washington is not set up to surrender draft capital for a short-term rental. But if a player at a position of need is available -- namely wide receiver, tight end or linebacker -- and has a few years remaining on his contract, Rivera could be interested at the right cost.
"There are a number of guys out there you can trade for, but if they're all on their last year of their contract and you're sitting there going, 'Oh, wow. If he comes out and plays really well, it's going to be really, really expensive,'" Rivera said. "If it is really expensive, you may not be able to keep that player, so you just invested three months and now that player's gone. So those are the things that you worry about as well."
-- "The epitome of a true vet and a true pro": Despite playing fewer snaps than he's used to, Ryan Kerrigan has been incredibly efficient rushing the quarterback in his 10th NFL season. He has also been an invaluable mentor to the team's younger pass-rushers like Chase Young and Montez Sweat, according to Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
"I see him talk to [younger players] about certain things as far as playing the game, preparing for the game, how to take care of their bodies," Rivera said. "The epitome of a true vet and a true pro."
Both of those qualities make Kerrigan an integral piece of this team, Rivera added.
"Ryan's been a big part of what we've done. He's been a big part of this organization for a number of years and has had a tremendous amount of success. We have a tremendous amount of respect for who he is as a member of the Washington Football Team."
-- Rivera explains why Washington did not sign safety Eric Reid: Reid played for Rivera in Carolina from 2018-19, and Rivera has spoken highly about the veteran safety on multiple occasions.
With Landon Collins lost for the season with an Achilles injury, Rivera said he and Reid had a "great" and "very honest" conversation about reuniting in Washington. However, Reid declined a practice squad offer from the team.
"I offered him the veteran spot, the practice squad veteran spot, so he could get in, get his legs under him because he really hadn't had the opportunity to go into camp or be a part of anything, so I wanted him to build his way up into it," Rivera said. "Eric felt that he had kept himself in great shape and that he'd be ready for any action.
"He's a smart football player, he really is," Rivera added, "but I also wanted to give [Jeremy] Reaves an opportunity. I'm one of those guys that if you come to training camp, you work your butt off, you do everything that you're supposed to, you deserve that opportunity before anybody else. That's what I was kind of doing with Jeremy. He earned that right. He earned my respect as far as having gone through camp, not complaining, and doing things the right way. I wanted to give him a chance to be a part of the 53 and see where he is."
-- Washington begins crucial stretch: Washington's chances at finishing with a winning record are dwindling, but there's still a shot to win its first NFC East title since 2015. The next four games, which come against teams with a combined record of 8-21-1, will go a long way towards pushing for a playoff spot.
"I told our guys in our meetings today, 'I don't care if we're 8-8 and getting into the playoffs. You've just got to be invited to the dance, and then we'll see what happens,'" Rivera said. "We'll see. Like I've said before, I've made it to the playoffs at 7-8-1 and people said we didn't deserve to be there and we turn around and win our first playoff game and go on the road and scare the heck out of a good team. It doesn't matter. However you can get in, get in."
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