Why the Redskins should tank for Trevor Lawrence in 2020

Trevor Lawrence
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins took a step forward this offseason by firing president Bruce Allen and hiring head coach Ron Rivera. Now, with the organization focused on building for a better future, it’s time for the Redskins to rebuild in 2020 to be in a position to land Trevor Lawrence.

The big picture: The Redskins aren’t in a position to win next season. An offense with weaknesses across the board and a defense that has holes at every level, this is a bad team that needs years to improve.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s in Washington’s best interest to treat the offseason as a chance to find long-term solutions. By doing so, the Redskins could be in position to land Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft.

What about Dwayne Haskins? The Redskins selected Haskins with the No. 15 pick in 2019, seemingly making him their quarterback of the future. Haskins is talented, but things are very different since he arrived in D.C.

  • Washington selected Haskins in large part because of Allen’s preference for him. It’s a move that caused further dysfunction in the organization.
  • Haskins struggled mightily in his rookie season, throwing seven interceptions and averaging just 6.7 yards per attempt in nine games.
  • He’ll be with working with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the second consecutive year.
  • As the Cardinals proved, teams are willing to move on from a first-round pick if they believe a better quarterback is available.

Haskins could still wind up being a good NFL quarterback. However, his ceiling is likely capped as a top-12 player at his position. The Redskins aren’t ready to contend this year and they’ve put Haskins in a situation where he’s destined to fail.

If this team inevitably struggles to win five games, it might as well go all out with rebuilding to land an elite quarterback prospect.

Potential offseason moves: The Redskins can follow the Miami Dolphins’ method from this past season. While Washington might not land quite as strong of a haul as the Dolphins did, gathering more draft picks is the right approach to take.

  • Josh Norman – This is the easiest decision in Washington this year. The Redskins can create $12.5 million in cap space by cutting Josh Norman. It’s a move that rids the team of a bad cornerback, removes a disgruntled player from the locker room and opens up a spot for a young player.
  • Trent Williams – Even if Rivera wants to repair the organization’s relationship with Williams, both sides would benefit from a trade. Washington won’t be able to secure a first-round pick. It missed that opportunity last offseason. However, moving Williams to the Cleveland Browns can still work for everyone. In return, Washington receives the Browns’ 2020 second- and fourth-round pick along with their 2021 fifth-round pick.
  • Ryan Kerrigan – Kerrigan is beloved by the fan base, but he deserves more than spending his remaining years on a bad team. He’s under contract for one more season with an $11.6 million cap hit. It’s a bargain for teams needing a top pass and Kerrigan is the perfect fit for the Indianapolis Colts. Washington picks up the Colts’ 2021 second-round pick and fifth-round pick in exchange for Kerrigan’s services.

Kerrigan is a talent Washington can afford to move for draft picks with Montez Sweat and likely Chase Young coming off the edges. While Williams would make this team better, his impact wouldn’t negate all of Washington’s other holes. So, moving both icons is in the Redskins’ best interest for the future.

The deal with Cleveland gives the Redskins a second-round pick this offseason after trading their pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Colts’ picks next year gives Washington potential ammunition to trade up for Trevor Lawrence, if needed.

Build a foundation in the draft: Washington will have plenty of options on draft day, including moving down from the No. 2 overall pick. However, we’ll focus on the opportunity to add elite talent and then work with the deals already made.

  • 1.02 – Chase Young – When a generational talent is available, you have to take him. Young could become an All-Pro defensive end within his first few seasons and he can transform this defense. A future duo of Sweat and Young will create chaos for opponents.
  • 2.41 – Josh Jones – Trading Williams means finding his replacement and James is the perfect project. A developmental tackle with the size, length and athleticism that can be turned into a cornerstone on the line.
  • 3.66 – Antoine Winfield Jr. – Washington needs a playmaker in its secondary. Winfield Jr. created nine turnovers in 2019, two coming against Penn State. Following in his father’s footsteps, he can be a standout player in coverage at the next level.
  • 4.98 – Denzel Mims – The Redskins found a steal in the 2019 draft with Terry McLaurin. Now they need a receiver to complement his game. Mims made some of the best catches in football this year, from a clutch fingertip grab to this absurd sideline catch. He is 6-foot-3 with an incredible catch radius, strong hands and excellent awareness. Mims is everything Washington needs on offense and pairs perfectly with McLaurin’s deep speed.
  • 4.105 – Amik Robertson – Robertson was off the national radar at Louisiana State this season. However, his five interceptions and 16 pass deflections deserve attention. While he is an undersized corner at 5-foot-9, Robertson’s instincts, track speed and physicality are outstanding traits. He’ll need some NFL coaching, but he could become an excellent corner.

These picks address Washington’s needs with young talent at key positions. Young will be a Rookie of the Year candidate immediately, while Winfield and Robertson will benefit from a strong pass rush.

Mims can step into a prominent role the day he arrives and will make this passing attack better. He also offers one of the highest ceilings among 2020 receiver prospects. Jones can use the summer to work with a great coaching staff and eventually start during the season.

Bottom Line

Even with the additions made, the Redskins will still probably be one of NFL’s five-worst teams next season. While another year of disappointment and losing will be difficult for the fan base, it’s also the consequence of organizational failures in previous years.

Consecutive seasons with a top-three selection and a new regime now making football decisions would likely spell the end for Haskins. It would likely signal the end for Haskins in Washington, with the front office looking to move him for more draft picks.

This is where everything comes together for the Redskins. They will have more than $100 million in cap space for the 2021 offseason. It’s the perfect situation to be in for a class of free agents that will have Christian McCaffrey, Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp and even more defensive talent available.

Washington could load up in free agency and head into the 2021 NFL Draft with one mission. Whether the Redskins own the No. 1 pick or they use their draft capital to acquire it, they can land Trevor Lawrence.

The Redskins are finally headed in the right direction. Now it’s time for this team to think about the future, rebuild this roster and target 2021 for a significant turnaround.