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Here's one possible reason why the Redskins and Brown haven't agreed to an extension


Here's one possible reason why the Redskins and Brown haven't agreed to an extension

There are plenty of Redskins fans and members of the media who are anxious for the Redskins to re-sign linebacker Zach Brown. He is an example of a defensive free agent who worked out well for the Redskins, more of the exception than the rule for the organization in the free agent area.

He signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract in March after he didn’t get what he believed to be adequate offers for a long-term deal. The sixth-year veteran has been a bargain for Washington, producing a league-leading 117 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 12 tackles for a loss.


So why don’t the Redskins go ahead and lock him up for the next few years? They may not have the immediate cash they need to do that.

Per the NFLPA public report, the Redskins have just $1.75 million in salary cap space remaining for 2017. Earlier this year it looked like they would have closer to $4 million or $5 million available in December. But that was before a staggering 15 players headed to injured reserve. The Redskins must continue to pay the salaries of those players and of the players who replaced them on the roster. That has cut into their cushion considerably.

They are likely to cross the finish line on the last day of the season on fumes; they could be looking for loose change in the couch cushions at Redskins Park to get through Week 17. That likely doesn’t leave them with enough money to entice Brown to skip free agency next March and stay in Washington.

One of the incentives that a pending free agent might get to persuade him to forego hitting the open market is some immediate cash in his bank account. For example, last week Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery got $6.25 million signing bonus as part of his four-year, $52 million extension. Like Brown, he signed a one-year free-agent deal earlier this year.


That signing bonus money is charged to the 2017 salary cap. The Redskins simply don’t have the cap space to pay Brown anything close to that.

A signing bonus isn’t a requirement in a contract extension. Maybe they could work around that by, say, giving Brown a deal that has a substantial roster bonus that would be paid the day after the Super Bowl, when the cap resets. But at that point, the player could well opt to wait another month or so and see what the open market brings.

Brown turned 28 in October and this likely will be his one shot at a lucrative contract. His deal should land with an average annual value of about $5 million to $7 million. A deal like that is not a major burden on the salary cap. He is a good fit in the Washington defense and although he won’t give the Redskins a hometown discount, there is every reason to think he would stay for a competitive offer.

But it’s hard for them to make an enticing offer right now, given their cap situation. It’s likely that those who would like to see Brown back will have to wait until March for a resolution to his status.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.



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Need to Know: The five key plays from the Redskins' win over Arizona

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Need to Know: The five key plays from the Redskins' win over Arizona

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 18, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Denver Broncos at FedEx Field.


Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Giants (12/31) 13
—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 86
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 129

The five key plays during Redskins vs Cardinals

Sack and strip by Anthony Lanier, recovery by Preston Smith—This was on the third play of the game and the Redskins had a touchdown on the fifth play of the game. It also was the start of a stellar day for Lanier, who had two sacks, a tackle for loss, and three passes batted down in addition to the forced fumble.

Kirk Cousins screen pass to Kapri Bibbs for a touchdown—This was a well-designed play, with Kirk Cousins first doing a play-action fake to Bibbs and then faking a jet sweep to Ryan Grant. All that gave time for the offensive line to form a wall and Bibbs got behind it, took Cousins’ short pass, and rolled 39 yards for the touchdown. That made it 14-3 early in the third quarter, giving the Redskins some breathing room to keep the Cardinals at arm’s length, while their offense struggled at times.

Vernon Davis fumble—The Redskins had a chance to grab some momentum back before halftime after Smith picked off a Gabbert pass at the Washington eight. His return and a personal foul penalty set the Redskins up with a first down at their own 41 with 1:50 left in the half. But on the first play, Davis caught a pass from Cousins, turned upfield and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered and drove in for a field goal that made it 14-9 at halftime.

Second half kickoff gaffe—The Cardinals tried a pooch kick and it worked like a charm. None of the Redskins seemed to know what to do with the kick either before or after it hit the ground. The Cardinals recovered and got a field goal that made it a two-point game.

Gabbert pass for Larry Fitzgerald incomplete on fourth down—After exchanges of field goals in the second half, it came down to a fourth and 10 play at the Redskins 21 with Washington leading 20-15 with 23 seconds left. Gabbert threw for Fitzgerald at inside the 10 yard line. The pass was high but Fitzgerald has made his bones on hauling in such passes. Ex-Cardinal D.J. Swearinger was there to contest the pass and he maybe got a couple of fingers on it. The pass fell incomplete and the Redskins breathed a sigh of relief before celebrating a badly-needed win.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

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Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 20-15 win over the Cardinals.

Turnovers are important: Part of the Redskins’ problems in their last two non-competitive games was a lack of turnovers. Their only takeaway against the Cowboys and Chargers came on an interception in LA long after the outcome had been decided. Today, the Redskins got one three plays into the game, giving them an extremely short field (six yards) and a 7-0 lead a minute and a half into the game. That proved to be critical on a day when the offense operated well only in fits and starts.

RELATED: Must see photos from Redskins-Cardinals

Kendall Fuller might go to the Pro Bowl: Well, maybe he won’t because not many cornerbacks on 6-8 teams with low-ranked defenses get picked. But he is very, very good. Sunday he was all over the place and finished with eight tackles, including one in the middle of the line on a running play, something you don’t see a corner do often. He also knocked down two passes. The Redskins hope that some of their players who are now rookies can take the same leap that Fuller has between his first and second seasons.

Bad call, Jay: I’m not usually one to bang on Jay Gruden for his play calling but the end around to Josh Doctson late in the third quarter was just awful. They had a five-point lead first down at their own 32. A nice steady drive to any kind of score makes it tough for the Cardinals. But instead of sticking with what was working, Gruden called for an end around the Josh Doctson. It was the wrong play call at the wrong time to the wrong player. Doctson lost 14 yards on the play, which killed the drive. The Cardinals took possession after the punt and got back within two points on a field goal. Not good, Jay.

Special teams still struggle: There were three separate special teams gaffes in the second half. The Cardinals did a pooch kick on the second-half kickoff and they recovered it after the ball took an odd bounce. Then Jamison Crowder let a punt hit the ground and roll all the way back to the six-yard line, costing about 15 yards of field position. Finally, the Cardinals hit a 54-yard field goal but AJ Francis was called for using leverage to try to block the kick, giving the Cardinals a first down. Fortunately, they survived all of the miscues. The defense held Arizona to a field goal after the kickoff, the offense managed to drive for a field goal after getting the ball at the six, and the Cardinals kicked another field goal after the penalty on Francis. Still, the special teams can’t rely on getting bailed out all the time.

A needed win: The Cardinals did manage to put a big scare into the Redskins by driving down to the Washington 21 in the last minute. But the home team held on, averting disaster in the process. Had they lost due to a late drive engineered by Blaine Gabbert, who completed 39-percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 43, things would have become very ugly. A win is a win in the NFL so the fact that a couple of passes went just off the fingertips of receivers inside the 10 on the final drive won’t matter. They will celebrate and go into the week to prepare for the Broncos in a much better frame of mind.

MORE REDSKINS: Some unexpected players lead the Redskins to a sloppy but much-needed win

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.