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Are the Redskins saving their cap dollars for 2017?

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Are the Redskins saving their cap dollars for 2017?

Most expected the Redskins to remain relatively inactive during free agency this year. During the Senior Bowl practices Scot McCloughan said that the Redskins wouldn’t be “big players” in free agency.

If he reversed course and had a big signing or two he would not have been the first GM to render earlier statements inoperative. But things have been quiet with the Redskins bringing in three defensive role players in S David Bruton, DE Kendall Reyes, and LB Terence Garvin.

They still have about $15 million in cap space left. They could have fit a player like nose tackle Damon Harrison, who plays a position of great need, into the budget. His contract with the Giants has a 2016 cap hit of $6.6 million and the Redskins could have probably squeezed that another million or so lower if they had wanted to.

But there were good reasons for McCloughan to show restraint. In fact, I can list six of them right here:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Pierre Garçon
  3. Chris Baker
  4. Jordan Reed
  5. Junior Galette
  6. DeSean Jackson

 

These players will be free agents in 2017. It’s safe to say that they are among the team’s most important players. Cousins’ passing accounted for 74 percent of the team’s offensive output. Garçon, Reed, and Jackson accounted for 55 percent of Cousins’ passing yardage. Baker was among the most valuable players on defense and if Galette regains his 2013-2014 form, when he posted double digit sacks with the Saints, he will provide needed pass pressure.

In addition, one key player on offense, Morgan Moses, will be eligible to get a contract extension as will cornerback Bashaud Breeland. But those six players will be key players that the team will either want to get extended or, perhaps in the cases of Jackson and Garçon, replaced in the free agent market. The two wide receivers will both be 30 years old in 2017 and the Redskins may prefer to move on. Although one could be replaced in the draft they still might have to invest in a free agent receiver in 2017.

The last thing that McCloughan wants to do is to commit a lot of money to free agents this year and find the team cap strapped when it comes to taking care of some of their own players in 2017.

The good thing is that the Redskins should have plenty of cap space to enable them to keep the players they want to keep. It’s too early to talk about 2017 cap space with any precision but after they sign their 2016 draft picks they will have about $110 million committed assuming they don’t sign any more free agents to multi-year deals. There already have been reports that the NFL salary cap will increase by as much as $10 million next year, from about $155 million in 2016 to around $165 million next year.

That would mean that the Redskins could have about $55 million in cap space to work with. That would be plenty to take care of Cousins, Baker, Reed, and Galette and to have the flexibility to deal with the situation at wide receiver. They could also consider extending Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses. Both would be eligible for new deals after the 2016 season.

In any case, the Redskins can roll over whatever is left over from this year into 2017, adding some $10 million towards building an even stronger war chest to be able to keep their own.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.