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.
Today’s schedule: No media availability
—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.
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