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You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

  • I'm starting to think that the Redskins would be more apt to select a cornerback than an outside linebacker with their first selection in the NFL Draft. I'm hearing that they like Chris Clemons at the weakside linebacker spot and they would be perfectly happy to go into the season with him starting there with Warrick Holdman serving as his backup. It's another story at corner. While Kenny Wright might be a serviceable nickel back it would be positively scary if he were to have to start for even a game or two should Shawn Springs or Carlos Rogers go down with an injury. Yes, scarier than starting a second-round rookie. Some mock drafts have Ashton Youboty and Kelly Jennings, two players who have visited Redskins Park, being available in the vicinity of the #53 selection. Cedric Griffin of Texas and Alan Zemaitis of Penn State are very likely to be on the board there as well. I like Griffin because he could play safety, too, and depth there is an issue even if Sean Taylor can avoid doing any jail time.

    Mathias Kiwanuka

  • In fact, if no corners who would represent a good value are there in the second round and Washington has a choice of a linebacker and a defensive end of equal ability they could well go with the end. Signing Andre Carter was a good start, but the other two main DE's on the roster, Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, are both well on the north side of 30 and having a fresh, talented young player in the rotation would make them more effective throughout the season. The Redskins would have to strongly consider Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College should he slide back to them. His stock dropping largely because of a poor performance in the Senior Bowl, but his backers note that he was matched against D'Brickashaw Ferguson, one of the five best players in the draft. Another DE Washington is rumored to be looking at is Stanley McClover of Auburn. McClover was a surprise early entry in the draft, leaving school after his Junior year. His raw pass rushing skills are very good and with proper coaching he could develop into an excellent NFL player. The general consensus is that #53 may be too high a spot to take McClover, but the Redskins do not always go with the conventional wisdom, for better or for worse.
  • In his press conference on Monday, some comments by Joe Gibbs were interpreted to mean that the team would not trade up from that #53 spot. I'm not sure how you could read that into what he said:
    "I think you could always do [a trade]," Gibbs said. "It's just a matter of, when you get through all of your calculations, do you feel like it would be smart for us to do it? Obviously, it would depend on what kind of deals are out there.

    "We've had teams talk to us about it already. It's something that remains a possibility, but right now we don't have anything that we're talking seriously about right now."

    It was the "we don't have anything that we're talking seriously about right now" part that many picked up on, interpreting that as meaning that a deal was unlikely. Gibbs said no such thing. In fact, he said nothing, which is to be expected. The reason that they aren't talking seriously about anything right now is because no serious talks can begin until a player that the Redskins want is there and the team that is on the clock answers the phone.

    There is no question that, with their draft board set, Gibbs and company are debating various trade possibilities and are setting up their if-then scenarios. For example, "If player A is still there when Pittsburgh's pick comes up, then we'll call and offer them this package of picks".

    That being said, I've changed my mind on the likelihood of the Redskins moving up to either the end of the first round or the early part of the second from thinking that it's likely to happen to thinking that it's possible but unlikely to happen. What could trigger a trade up would be a run on cornerbacks toward the latter part of the first round. If the Redskins are very strongly thinking cornerback, they have want to move up to ensure that they get one who is capable of starting.

    Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played in from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 25, 17 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.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

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) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

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