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20 questions in 20 days: 19 Will Cooley make the team?

20 questions in 20 days: 19 Will Cooley make the team?

As we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 20: Will Chris Cooley make the roster?The background: For years Cooley was one of the best players on the Redskins roster, an iron man, and a fan favorite. The latter description is still valid but the other two are things of the past. He has missed substantial parts of two of the last three season with injuries and hes no longer even the starting tight end. He would like to stay and play in Washington and the Redskins probably would like him on the team. But he carries a salary cap charge in excess of 6.2 million and thats a lot to pay for a reserve, especially on a team squeezed by a league-mandated cap penalty.Tandler: Part of me says that Cooley wouldnt be on the roster now if he wasnt going to make the team. On the other hand, maybe Cooley asked for a chance to make the team and was willing to risk suddenly becoming a free agent on the day of final cuts. If his roster spot is up in the air, it looks like he will have to beat out Logan Paulsen to make it and Paulsen is making a strong push to become the better option, especially given the disparity in salary between the two. Bottom line, I think the team and Cooleys agent sit down next week and see if they can agree on compensation more in line with the players expected role with team. If they can, Cooley will stay; if not, he goes.El-Bashir: If Cooley wasnt in the Redskins plans, they would have cut him long ago, freeing up cap space while giving him the chance to settle in with another team. They owe him that much given the loyalty hes shown and what hes meant to the fan base. So, in my mind, he stays. But not only for sentimental reasons; Cooley is also a safety blanket. Remember, Fred Davis is one slipup away from a year-long ban from the NFL. And fullback Darrel Young seems is having problems with the hamstring that cost him two games last season. Yeah, his cap hit (6.23 million) is high and, at 30, his mileage is higher. But Cooley's versatility, leadership and value off the field are priceless.20 questions in 20 days20 YesterdayWill Jammal Brown play this year?
19 TodayWill Chris Cooley make the team?
18 TomorrowCan Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


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.