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Hunkering Down

Hunkering Down

Hunkering Down

The clock is ticking at Redskins Park with a week left to go before free agency. That happens every year in late February, but the difference in 2006 is that nobody knows what’s going to happen when the clock strikes midnight.

Vinny Cerrato said a lot about the Redskins cap situation on Thursday by saying very little on WTEM in Washington.
If there is a Collective Bargaining Agreement, we can answer a lot of our questions in free agency. If there's not a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which we should know hopefully in the next few days, then we'll be doing most of our [player acquisitions] in the draft.
In other words, the Redskins will have plenty of cap room to spend should the CBA get extended. An extension would likely carry the dual benefits of a higher cap, probably in the neighborhood of $110 million, and an easier environment in which to redo contracts. Washington could file a little paperwork, perhaps release a player or two and then start the preflight checklist for Redskin One to start ferrying prospects to Ashburn

Without a new CBA, however, the Redskins will be severely pinched to squeeze in under the cap as we talked about here earlier this week. First the Turk, normally a staple during training camp, will be making premature visits to perhaps as many as a dozen players, telling them that the coach wants to see them and, oh yes, bring your playbook. Players’ agents will be in the lobby and on the phone, as they try to hammer out new deals that will shuffle enough money in the right way so as to provide cap relief but still remain within the guidelines of the CBA. It will take every bit of creative accounting to get the Redskins under the cap and have enough room to sign their draft picks and leave room for an injury replacement or two.

If one were to listen to what NFLPA chief Gene Upshaw said today it’s would appear that the latter scenario is the one that the Redskins will be dealing with. After speaking with a group of player agents today, Upshaw seemed quite pessimistic that a deal would be reached:
Unless something is going on ... that I've not seen in the last day or two, we're just not there yet. I'm not putting a lot of faith in that we're going to reach agreement in the next couple of days.
Of course, all of that talk could be just that, talk, a negotiating tactic. There are rumors that the deal is close and it would take just one breakthrough to get it done
Complicating the matter further is the fact that the NFL has yet to announce exactly what the salary cap for 2006 will be absent a new CBA. It could be anywhere from $92 million to $95 million. Those three million dollars make a big difference for a team that will be needed to squeeze every dime. On top of that, every contract signed and renegotiated will have ramifications through future years. The 2007 season may be uncapped, it may not be if a CBA is reached sometime in the next few months. The Redskins will have to take their best guess at what will happen down the line.

All of this means that the Redskins not only have a Plan A and a Plan B, but because of all of the possible dimensions and permutations their stacks of plans likely run through most of the alphabet. The Excel spreadsheet used to calculate the cap must have entries in Row 782, Column CZ.

And those are just the contingencies dealing directly with the salary cap. Cerrato, Joe Gibbs, and the rest of the scouts and coaches have to evaluate free agents that the Redskins may or may not be able sign and start figuring out how to replace players that they may or may not have to cut.

Some are seeing other teams releasing players and redoing contracts already and wondering why the Redskins have yet to announce anything more than the signing of long snapper Ethan Albright. The complexity of the Redskins’ situation dictates that virtually everything takes place at the last minute. The elements of each plan are intertwined and it’s likely that very few if any potential moves are common to all of the plans. There is no point in playing your cards early when the potential gain is minimal and the possible consequences of making the wrong move are very damaging.

Those of you who have been complaining that it’s been too dull be patient. Things will begin to heat up in the next several days as the clock keeps ticking.

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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.

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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.