ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins need help. They might just have too many injuries to find any at the trade deadline.
Every offensive line starter is dealing with an injury, though in most cases, it’s a short-term issue. They need help along the defensive line even more, with only four healthy bodies on the active roster. They need help at safety, with two of the four hurt. Two tight ends are hurt.
The hard part would be finding a spot for anyone new -- most of the injuries are short term and almost all involve key players. Trades aren’t common in the NFL and they usually involve draft picks for a player. The team acquiring someone would need to make a corresponding roster move.
“We can’t really make a lot of roster moves because of all these injuries,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “You can’t put any of these guys on IR and you can’t cut any of these guys. They are all major parts of our football team. So we will have to figure it out and we will do it.”
The offensive line illustrates the problem. To add someone there, they’d need to let someone go. But the backups they have are playing and the starters aren’t ready for injured reserve. Even left tackle Trent Williams, with an ailing knee, isn’t there yet. For now they want to see if resting the bone bruise in his knee will help.
If they traded for, say, another tackle, they could always release one of the others on the roster, assuming the newcomer is better and could play immediately. It all adds up to this: The Redskins expect Tuesday to be a quiet day on the trade front, barring the unforeseen.
Even if the Redskins were healthy, a trade would be unlikely considering how rare they are in the NFL. The Redskins do need help at a few spots, but finding players who make sense -- given the cost -- is the hard part.
Not every player rumored to be available makes sense. Take Buffalo tackle Cordy Glenn for example. The Redskins have two tackles already signed long term in Williams and Morgan Moses and a highly affordable, good backup tackle in Ty Nsekhe. Glenn has three more years on his deal -- with a high-mark cap hit of $14.45 million next season. Next.
Could they afford to make another move elsewhere, like receiver? That’s a tough position at which to make an instant contribution considering how much of of a player's success is reliant upon knowing the offense -- and the routes a team runs -- as well as chemistry with the quarterback.
The Redskins absolutely need more production from their receivers, particularly Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson, but with so much immediate help needed elsewhere, it would be difficult to make a move. Both are talented, but so far unproductive receivers -- would the Redskins be helped by adding another player who might share that description?
San Francisco made a smart move Monday, trading for a quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) who is far more about the future than the present. It wasn’t a panic move (remember the third-round pick once traded for Jason Taylor?). Seattle trading for Duane Brown also helps the Seahawks now and in the future.
If the Redskins could add someone who not only helps now, but also makes sense in 2018 and beyond, then it would be worth surrendering a draft pick. Otherwise, it would not be. They have a lot of free-agent decisions to make in the next two years, so adding a player with a higher cap number in the future might not be the smartest move.
Realistically, if the Redskins are going to make a run, it will be because their injured players return, especially along the line. At some point, perhaps soon, all of them will be back. Or it’ll happen because a young player, such as Doctson, starts making plays and tough catches. He’s been in position to make them; will he finish those grabs in the future? That’s what the Redskins need most.