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Need to Know: Which Redskins will stay, who will go?

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Need to Know: Which Redskins will stay, who will go?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 23, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Denver Broncos at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Redskins @ Giants (12/31) 8
—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 81
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 124

Who’s coming back?

One thing that is inevitable every offseason is roster churn. Not all players will be back but some of them are more likely to return than others. Let’s do a special version of breaking out the imaginary casino chips. I’m going to budget up to $100 in chips to bet on the chances of the returns of each of five players who will be free agents in 2018.

QB Kirk Cousins, bet $49 on returning—I normally don’t break it down in $1 chips (I’m not even sure if most casinos have them). But such is the uncertain state of things with Cousins at this point. Breaking that $49 down according to the three possible ways he could be back, I’ll put $9 on a long-term deal, $10 on the $35 million franchise tag salary, and $30 on the $28.8 million franchise tag salary. There is a lot to sort out between now and March when all of this will get settled.

LB Zach Brown, bet $60 on returning—There have been some contract talks but the Redskins’ salary cap position had them with little leverage to make a deal. They can negotiate with Brown any time. I think that the Redskins will make a competitive offer and that Brown will be inclined to stay rather than joining his fourth team in the last four years. But this is likely to be the 28-year-old Brown’s last shot at a lucrative contract. If one team’s offer is significantly higher than the Redskins’, Brown could take the money and run.

LB Mason Foster, bet $70 on returning—There was some sort of a spat between Foster and the front office when he was put on injured reserve in October but that seems to have been smoothed over. Foster will turn 29 before next season and he seems to be in a spot where he’d like to stay and finish his career in Washington. But, like Brown, this is likely to be his last shot at a free agency period where he will be in demand. It would only take one team to make an above-market offer to lure Foster away.

OLB Junior Galette, bet $20 on returning—Galette hasn’t had a monster season when it comes to getting sacks but he has put plenty of pressure on opposing QBs considering the limited number of snaps he has played. Pass rush is a valued ability in the NFL and it is likely that a team will offer him more money and more playing time than the Redskins will. The latter is very important to Galette, who will turn 30 in March. Perhaps the Redskins can persuade him to stay but the odds strongly favor him leaving.

CB Bashaud Breeland, bet $10 on returning—There are a few reasons why Breeland probably won’t return and his ability as a player and fit with the team are not on the list. He will be in demand as a solid starting corner entering his age 26 season. The Redskins have Josh Norman under contract with a $17 million cap number next year and it would be difficult to fit a second high-priced corner into their salary structure. And they won’t really have to since they have prepared for Breeland’s potential departure by drafting Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau in the third round in the last two drafts. If the Redskins move on from Cousins they might take some of the savings and invest it in defense but the odds are that Breeland moves on.

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: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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