- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Alex Smith trade became official Wednesday, but the departures for the Redskins’ own free agents continued.

The Redskins saw three players — linebacker Trent Murphy, center Spencer Long and tight end Niles Paul — sign new contracts with other teams in free agency. The deals come a day after Kirk Cousins, Bashaud Breeland and Ryan Grant moved on.

Murphy signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Murphy, a 2014 second-round pick, is coming off a torn ACL, which resulted in him missing the entire 2017 season. But a number of teams were interested in his services, given the fact he had nine sacks in 2016.

In Murphy, the Redskins lost a rotational pass rusher. On the roster, they still have Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Ryan Anderson.

Long, meanwhile, agreed to a deal with the New York Jets. The 27-year-old center spent four seasons in Washington, but was limited to just seven games last year because of injuries. Then rookie Chase Roullier did a solid job of filling in for Long and is expected to start at center moving forward.



With Grant, Breeland, Long and Murphy signing elsewhere, Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses is the only member of the 2014 draft class that’s still on the roster.

The Redskins also lost a well-respected veteran in Paul, who agreed to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. Paul spent seven years with the Redskins and was valued for his special team contributions. He also did the dirty work necessary as a blocking tight end and occasionally playing full back.

Cousins was lured to the Minnesota Vikings with a record $84 million contract, while Breeland left for the Carolina Panthers (three years, $24 million) and Grant joined the Ravens (four years, $29 million).

The Redskins have had a quiet free agency, so far. They addressed a major need with the signing of former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson, who will add speed.

Washington also re-signed wideout Brian Quick, giving them depth.

The Redskins still have other free agents in limbo — most notably linebacker Zach Brown. At the scouting combine, Redskins executive Doug Williams said they offered Brown a contract “a long time ago,” but didn’t receive a counteroffer. Other high-profile linebackers, like Philadelphia’s Nigel Bradham and the Jets’ Avery Williamson, have already been signed.

Besides Brown, inside linebacker Will Compton and outside linebacker Junior Galette highlight the most noteworthy Redskins free agents still on the market.

There’s still time for the Redskins to add pieces, as free agency technically opened Wednesday. Teams could begin negotiating on Monday. 

Washington still needs to address their defensive line, safety, cornerback, guard and running back. They can also fill their needs through the draft.

The Redskins will also introduce Smith in a press conference Thursday. They agreed to acquire him in January for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick.

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