Redskins Warpath – August 2019

(Barré) #1
Landon Collins was the Redskins’ prize in free agency.
A six-year, $84 million prize to make him the NFL’s highest
paid safety.
To the surprise of many, the Redskins paid Collins as if
he were a deep centerfield or “single-high” safety in the mold
of Earl Thomas or how Ed Reed for much of his career.
That’s not the case and the Redskins know it.
As a matter of fact, they paid Collins slightly more per
year on average ($14 million) than the Ravens paid for
Thomas ($13.75 million). Washington also gave the 25-year
old, Collins, who is much younger than Thomas (29), $12.
million more in total guarantees but paid slightly less in fully
guaranteed cash while securing Collins’ rights until 2025.
Both players share the same agent, David Mulugheta,
who also represents new quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Certainly, it could be a mistake to have paid Collins the
amount they did, but the Redskins are also paying for lead-
ership and for character. They’re paying because they
haven’t been able to solve their mess at safety, since Sean
Taylor passed away.
Which brings us back to Collins being the Redskins
prize. Part of the reason, if not a huge reason for targeting
and doing whatever it took to get Collins, was because he
grew up a fan of the Redskins, idolizing Taylor, the man he
hopes to emulate.
Collins has not hidden from his affection for Taylor and
that automatically has made him a fan favorite. “Sean Taylor
was one of my idols and he was a major [reason] why I
wanted to touch the field he played on,” he told 106.7 The
FAN recently.
In addition to helping further shape Taylor’s legacy, there
were other parts of becoming a Redskins safety that was at-
tractive for Collins.
“Honestly, they had a lot of great players and I just loved
the way their defense played,” Collins said in the same in-
terview. “They made so many plays and they ran around. I
love a defense like that. I’ve been a part of defenses like that
and defenses win championships. You want to be a part of
guys that want to do that each and every down.”
Collins doesn’t act like he’s 25-years old or the new kid
in town. There’s a confidence and a maturity that is easy to

see. He plays with a youthful joy that another guy he’s re-
placing, D.J. Swearinger, didn’t seem to have.
Swearinger was very productive for the Redskins last
year and overall in his nearly two years with the club, but
his act wore thin with the coaching staff, some teammates
and others. The Redskins cut him late last season despite
being their best defensive back because of repeated criti-
cisms of the coaching staff and teammates in the media.
Collins is not going to do that. They are very different
personalities. He’s a team-first guy. It’s another reason why
the Redskins invested in the law firm of Landon & Collins.
Beyond the financial investment and everything that went
into the decision to recruit and land Collins, the Redskins
needed someone on the back end to usher in a new era.
They feel Jonathan Allen is the leader that the front
seven needs and they’re right. Josh Norman is not the player
or person they thought they were getting to fill that role,
nor was Swearinger, so they hope to be right about Collins.
On the field, Collins is at his best when playing closer
to the line of scrimmage. He was banged up last year, his
final season with the Giants and combined with his market
value and lack of deep range, the New York Giants decided
to move on.
Essentially, they allowed Collins to walk out the door
for nothing but a compensatory pick in 2020, to a division
rival. It remains to be seen if they were right or if the Red-
skins were right, but Collins will be used primarily as an
extra linebacker to plug holes, lanes and space.
He’ll be counted on to stop the run and sit on passing
routes in short zone areas, that are largely a by-product of
the west coast offense, which most teams employ.
The Redskins have constantly struggled to cover tight
ends over the years, down the seams and even in the flat
areas, often on third down. That’s another specialty of Collins.
Some of that responsibility was expected to fall to Reuben
Foster, but he was lost for the year with a torn ACL in OTAs.
The former Alabama product is a three-time Pro Bowler
and has racked up 437 total tackles in 59 games, along with
four sacks, 32 pass breakups, eight interceptions and three
forced fumbles.
It’s also impossible to ignore that Collins is part of the “Al-
abama Wall” movement, joining Allen, Daron Payne and
Shaun Dion Hamilton on the Redskins defense.

AUGUST 6, 2019 Warpath 15

The firm of Landon & Collins prevails

By Chris Russell

Safety Landon Collins joins fellow Alabama alum
Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Shaun Dion
Hamilton on the Redskins defense.
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