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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. streaking Chargers

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. streaking Chargers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 6, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 2:45

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 4
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 11
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 18

First look at Redskins vs. Chargers

Beware of early schedule opinions: This looked like one of the “easy” games on the Redskins schedule when looking at it before the season started. The Chargers were 4-11 in 2016 and they had to undergo a relocation to Los Angeles. The game looked even more like a “W” on the Redskins’ ledger after they started 0-4. But they have been on a roll since then winning six of eight games with the two losses coming on the road to the division-leading Patriots and Jaguars. Now the game certainly is the toughest of the four remaining for the Redskins and it might be one of the most difficult they have faced all year.

Shadow the hot hand? One of the reasons for the Chargers’ hot streak is the emergence of WR Keenan Allen as not just a good player but a great one. In the last three games, all Chargers wins are by an average of three touchdowns. Allen has 33 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns. He is the first player in NFL history to have at least 10 receptions, 100 yards, and one touchdown in three straight games. The Redskins haven’t had Josh Norman follow a receiver from side to side, but they might want to consider matching their best corner on the 6-2 Allen.

Rivers as good as ever: Philip Rivers has found new life in LA. After leading the league in interceptions two of the last three seasons in San Diego, he has just seven this year. His passer rating is the best it has been since 2013, and after taking no fewer than 30 sacks in any season since 2009, he is on pace to get sacked 17 times this year. He doesn’t have the “rings” that other QBs do but he’s having a Pro Bowl season in a Hall of Fame career.

Double barrel pass rush: The Chargers likely will finish the season with a double-digit sack performance on each side of their defensive front. Joey Bosa is already there with 11.5. Melvin Ingram has 8.5 and will probably get to at least 10 but he hasn’t had one in the Chargers’ last five games. As a team, the Chargers have 35 sacks, fourth in the NFL. The Redskins will need as many front-line offensive linemen playing as possible.

Potpourri: The Chargers are 31st in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up an average of 129.8 yards per game. Then again, the Redskins don’t always take advantage when they go against weak rushing defenses . . . We know that opposing tight ends always steal the Redskins’ lunch money but perhaps they shouldn’t devote too much to stopping Antonio Gates. He appears to be at the end of the line, with just 19 receptions for 179 yards (9.4 yards per) on the season . . . The Chargers have had some kicking problems this year, hitting just 66.7 percent of their field goals.

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

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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