Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Final Take on Jason Taylor

IIWII asked it's readers how they felt about the move to cut Jason Taylor and here was your response:
77% Good Move
23% Bad Move

(13 votes made)

If anybody uses this as a source, feel free. But I'd like to make this clear this is my opinion and my opinion only.

The entire Jason Taylor situation (from his acquisition to his departure) has been based on situation and need.
Yes, the Redskins made the move and they gave up a 2nd (2009) and a 6th (2010) in order to get him and are currently being ripped by many for giving up so much to get in the end so little (20+ tackles, 3.5 sacks 5 batted balls or so in only 8 starts/13 total games). But the real question is would have the Redskins made the move if Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee hadn't gone down with season ending injuries?

I don't think so. Evans (who wound up being the main starter) was considered a solid depth player and spot starter, but had never been asked to be a full-time starter. Chris Wilson has been nice as a pass rusher but is not the every down DE. Nobody else were locks to even make the roster (Erasmus James and rookie Rob Jackson were pretty much question marks). So the move had to be made. Now should there be criticism about the lack of roster depth at the time? Yes, that's pretty fair assessment and that should be where the main finger should be pointed at the front office. Give the Redskins some credit, they were desperate and the Dolphins knew it but the Dolphins only got a 2nd and the 6th in 2010. Remember at the 2008 draft and before, the Dolphins wanted at minimum a 2008 1st rounder to get Taylor.

Now move to late February and now........
The Redskins made it clear that they wanted Taylor to stay and with the money from the restructures and cuts was enough to make the three moves they wanted to make. It's here that the story sounds a bit basic. The Skins cut Taylor when they asked him to add a clause that he'd come to Ashburn 3 days a week for off season workouts (thus, about a 75% participation rate). Sounds kind of trivial right?

I think there's much more to it than this:
Like I said before, it seems that the Redskins did want Taylor to stay. It makes sense. How many fans were salivating at a healthy Jason Taylor on the same line with Albert Haynesworth? I know I was curious to see it and I'm sure that Daniel Snyder did as well. I mean this sounds like something Snyder would do right (despite if there was any chemistry or if the player fit the scheme). So what happened?

Here's what I think happened:
1) The Redskins wanted Taylor to be in their program so they could work on his size. Taylor is in amazing shape, but a football athlete trains differently than a ballroom dancing athlete. Did it look to you that Taylor looked thinner and lanky than he had in past years? It did to me. The Skins probably wanted Taylor's shape to look more like pass rushing defensive end with a little more bulk to help in the run game.

2) The Redskins planned on having him play a large portion of SOLB. Let's forget about whether this would have worked or not, the Skins have a hole at SOLB since Washington was released and they would have brought him during the workouts to get him to learn the position then bring back a run stuffer DE like Daniels or Wynn. At worst, the Redskins would have known if they had to sign a FA OLB or try to draft one if Taylor didn't like the move or it wouldn't have worked.

3) The Skins wanted Taylor committed to the team and the scheme. Obviously if you pay Taylor $8.5 million, you want him there to be a teammate and you want to make sure that he wants to be there and that his mind isn't on the future but on the 2009 season. Taylor wanted to stay at home and be with his kids. Nothing wrong with that, but if you just signed guys like Haynesworth and Hall (both having character issues in the past) you want other veterans to be there and to send a message that there is no favoritism and that even highly paid FAs are expected to show up (Ed: Off season workouts are voluntary, but many teams put roster bonuses in player contracts that are paid if said player comes in and workouts for a few hours a few days a week. Only OTAs and mini-camps are mandatory. So I'm using "expected" loosely but many teams do unofficially expect their players to participate in off season workouts - thus the big deal reported by the media when a player doesn't show like what Jay Cutler is doing now.) and workout.

In the end, the Skins felt that the lack of participation would be a detriment and did the right move by cutting Taylor. Not only did they get rid of a player that didn't fit the scheme (in my opinion he just didn't) but it saved them cap money that helped bring in a guy that wanted to be back in DC.......Derrick Dockery.

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