SNIDER: Redskins trading Anderson would be foolish

Rick Snider
June 16, 2020 - 1:00 pm

The Redskins will regret it if trading linebacker Ryan Anderson. The unit may be flush with talent now, but it only takes an injury or setback to others to turn the defense into a donut.
Several teams are reportedly interested in the Redskins 2017 second-rounder, who finally appears ready to regularly contribute. The problem is he's now buried on the depth chart while the defense switches to a 4-3.
It would seem like a no-brainer to peddle Anderson for a future pick, but that would be foolish. Teams might offer a fifth rounder and that's way too low given Anderson's upside. Sure, Anderson could walk as an unrestricted free agent next season, but for now he's a cheap key reserve at $1.19 million. Given the prospect of no ticket sales this fall depressing the salary cap by a reported $40 million next year – unless teams opt to take on some of the downside this season – makes Anderson even more valuable.
Now the Redskins have plenty of linebackers on a revived defense as long as they stay healthy. That's a tall order for the NFL's most injured team each of the last two seasons. But linebacker is in flux with Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat playing closer to the line in the new scheme.
Meanwhile, there's no certainty Reuben Foster will be ready after missing last season with a knee injury suffered during OTAs. The team is also asking for 37-year-old Thomas Davis to remain viable in his first season locally. NFL players age quickly, which is the fear with Davis and Kerrigan. That leaves Cole Holcomb, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Anderson to play big minutes. Factor in the COVID-19 uncertainty and there's no such thing as too much depth.
Anderson has largely been a disappointment. Second-round picks are supposed to be starters. Anderson really wasn't a factor his first two seasons before finally showing promise last year, with 44 tackles and four sacks while playing every game.
But here's a big question – what does the new coaching staff think of Anderson? Oh, this time of year everyone is swell, but Ron Rivera and staff won't see one snap of Anderson in offseason camps, so preseason will be a quick read. Maybe they like him. Then again, they may see trading him away for a low draft pick better than turning him free as a roster cut. They probably won't know until late August. The deals out there now will still be there later this summer.
Until then, let other teams wish they had Anderson. The Redskins should take one more chance of developing one of their own draft picks.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks