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Banged-up Skins catch a well-timed break

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Banged-up Skins catch a well-timed break

Jay Gruden’s message to the Redskins as they left Ashburn, Va., for the bye week was a simple one: spend the next five days getting refreshed, mentally and physically.

The week off couldn’t have arrive at a better time for the Redskins, who have been besieged by injuries through the season’s first seven games. Two weeks ago, they were without six starters against the Jets. On Sunday, they were down three starters and their third down running back against the Buccaneers.

“I think the big thing is [to] get their bodies healthy,” Gruden said. “I want to get them physically and mentally healthy, get some time off, spend it with their families, but really come back focused. New England plays Thursday night. I want them all to tune in, watch that game, get themselves mentally ready to go. The second half of our season, we’ve got nine games left, it’s going to be a grind. I think it’s going to be important for them just to get away—four, five days and get some rest and come back fresh and ready to roll because it’s going to be a tough nine-game stretch.”

The Redskins held their final practice of the week on Tuesday at Redskins Park. Although the hour-long session consisted primarily of individual work, some clues regarding the injury status of some players could be gleaned.

The good: wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring), running back Chris Thompson (knee) and center Kory Lichtensteiger (neck) did more than in previous days and would seem to be on track to suit up Nov. 8 in New England.  

The not-so-good: cornerbacks Chris Culliver (knee), DeAngelo Hall (toe) and Bashaud Breeland (hamstring) and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (broken hand) did not participate. Their status for the Patriots, obviously, is much less clear.

“This year [the bye] comes almost at the midway point, so for us it'll be good to just get away,” said linebacker Keenan Robinson, who, like many of his teammates, is nursing some bumps and bruises. “Especially coming off a win, that really helps too, just the morale and the vibe we have. But yeah, the bye week comes at a good time, man. Everybody gets a chance to get healthy and it gives us an extra week to prepare for the Patriots.”

The next hint of the team's overall health situation will come Monday, when the players reconvene at Redskins Park.  

“I don’t like to project and guess,” Gruden said, asked who, specifically, he expects to play against the Patriots. “I just want to see these guys get with the trainers and progress at their rate… But expectation-wise, I have high hopes for the majority of them, really, other than the ones that are on IR, so we’ll just have to wait and see.” 

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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

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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