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Bubble watch version 3.0: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster


Bubble watch version 3.0: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

RICHMOND—The Redskins open the preseason in Cleveland in just a few days and in less than four weeks they will cut to their final 53 players. In other words, it’s getting late early for the players on the bubble trying to secure a roster spot.

Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles on September 5 plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble. I’ve added some comments as needed.


Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, , Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Willie Smith

With the switch of Brandon Scherff to guard and Spencer Long getting pushed to a reserve role there is one more tackle spot and one fewer guard spot. I think Josh LeRibeus gets pushed to the wrong side of the bubble and Smith steps in and takes the other reserve tackle spot.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen

The Redskins' unofficial depth chart lists Paul as the starter with Reed second. I think

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Thompson’s position seems to be firming up. He has been running well in practice and last week Gruden said that he was becoming a solid third-down back.


Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

The reserve corners and safeties will be in limbo pending the Week 2 return of Bashaud Breeland (not on the 53 due to suspension), who will be eligible and presumably healthy and ready to play. Since they’ll only have four active cornerbacks for the game anyway, there’s no point in carrying a fifth on the 53. Jarrett, who can work a slot corner in a pinch, can serve as the emergency corner. When Breeland returns it appears that either Robinson or Rogers will be gone.

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 16 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks

Last 4 on

CB Justin Rogers—Breeland’s one-game suspension opens the door for Rogers to get another NFL game check and perhaps get a chance to establish himself as a legitimate slot corner. But unless he improves his play he will be the 53rd player on the roster in Week 1 and gone in Week 2.

OT Tom Compton—He started the majority of the games last year but he now is being pushed to the bench by Moses, who couldn’t get ahead of Compton on the depth chart last year. On more step down and he could be on the street.

DL Frank Kearse—He was one of the few feel-good stories last year, going from a long shot to make the roster to a good rotation player who posted three sacks. But he could be odd man out if they decide to go with only six defensive linemen.

S Trenton Robinson—If Rogers performs well for the rest of camp and preseason games, Robinson could be the odd man out when Breeland returns. He is solid on special teams so that helps.

Four more close to the bubble: OL Willie Smith, PK Kai Forbath, DL Kedric Golston, ILB Adam Hayward

Last 4 cuts

OL Josh LeRibeus—He has been working as the backup center. The problem is, they generally don’t keep two centers. Sure he can play guard but the team is unlikely to let go of Spencer Long or Arie Kouandjio. That leaves LeRibeus on the outside looking in.

RB Silas Redd—If Thompson doesn’t shake his injury bug, Redd is likely to be in. Even of Thompson does stay healthy, Redd could win the job anyway. Right now Thompson has the edge because of his speed but Redd will not give up easily. Redd hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp but there is time for him to make an impression.

OT Takoby Cofield—The team paid him the maximum signing bonus for an undrafted free agent so they thought highly of him coming out of Duke. He has had a good camp and if he has a good preseason Cofield could make a case for a spot on the 53. For now, he appears to be practice squad material.

OLB Trevardo Williams—Things have not gone well for Williams since camp started. First the team brought in Junior Galette, who takes away a roster spot at his position. Then he suffered a hamstring strain that Gruden said will sideline him for two weeks. An injury could create an opening for him but he needs to be able to take advantage of it.

Four more just on the wrong side of the bubble: WR Rashad Ross, NT Jerrell Powe, TE Je’Ron Hamm, RB Trey Williams

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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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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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