Monday brought one of the strongest statements yet on how new Redskins coach Ron Rivera plans to approach the 2020 season.
In one day, Rivera unloaded two defensive starters who might have caused headaches, while adding another player from his time with the Carolina Panthers.
First, the Redskins acquired Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen, a third-year player who will provide depth and stability at the quarterback position.
Dwayne Haskins will remain the starter, but in what is shaping up to be a shortened offseason, Allen will be able to jump in right away with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner and provide a capable backup option.
He’s also familiar with the culture that Rivera has often spoke of needing to bring with him - the more players who can carry Rivera’s message, the better, in his mind.
The Redskins gave up a fifth-round pick to acquire Allen, then turned around and acquired a fifth-round pick later in the evening.
They did so by trading cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks.
Dunbar, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, had indicated he wanted a new deal.
The timing wasn’t ideal - Rivera arrived to face a player with contract demands and had never worked with him.
Dunbar’s request wasn’t without merit, though. He took over the No. 1 cornerback spot on the Redskins from Josh Norman, and had done well in the position.
Unloading a No. 1 cornerback for a fifth-round pick is settling for pennies on the dollar, but in this case, the message trumped the money.
It’s the same decision Washington is likely to make with Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who is seeking his own departure.
To cap it, Washington released safety Montae Nicholson, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.
Nicholson worked his way into the starting rotation mostly, but was also an off-the-field liability for the Redskins. He was involved in an after-hours fight at an Ashburn bar, and a woman died of a drug overdose after being at his house last November.
The Redskins signed safety Sean Davis in free agency — he’s likely to start opposite Landon Collins when the season begins.
Nicholson’s departure is different from Dunbar’s - Nicholson’s trade value was zero, and he might not land on another team coming out of training camp.
Still, the moves indicate that for Rivera, culture will trump production, at least in the regime’s first year.
Doing so gives Rivera time to scout the landscape, though he’ll also be doing so without his starting cornerback.
For Allen, it’s the same reasoning as Rivera’s decision to bring many of his assistants from Carolina - familiarity.
As an added benefit, Rivera can lean on those coaches and players if the offseason is cut short by coronavirus concerns, leading to an accelerated schedule leading into Week 1.
If that is the case, Haskins likely would need to take 100% of the practice reps, placing a premium on having a backup who can step in with minimal on-field instruction time.
Allen was the third-string quarterback in Carolina in 2018, his rookie year, before starting 12 games in 2019 after Cam Newton was injured. He finished the season with 3,322 yards passing.