Josh LeRibeus doesnt remember the precise play, but he knows about when it happened.At some point during Mondays practice, the Redskins rookie realized that he belongs, that he can block NFL linemen and linebackers.Youre like, these guys are so good, theres no way you could ever get there, LeRibeus said Wednesday. But then you get in there, and its, Oh, I can do this. That starts to build your confidence.The Redskins selected LeRibeus in the third round of Aprils in the hopes the SMU could product could serve as a backup guardcenter this season and eventually develop into a starter.The uncertainty surrounding left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, however, has accelerated the schedule for LeRibeus.On Monday, Lichtensteiger had a second surgical procedure performed on his right knee and is expected to miss the remainder of the preseason. Since then, LeRibeus and Maurice Hurt have been seen time with the first team at left guard. (During OTAs and minicamp, LeRibeus received ample time at center, another position the Redskins envision him playing.)The moment Lichtensteiger had surgery, I got switched to guard, LeRibeus said. Its a great chance to realize what all I needed to work on at guard. Right now, its just work on the technique, work on the assignments.The biggest adjustment for LeRibeus has been a common one for first year players: the speed of the pro game. He prepared himself for the leap his junior year at SMU when he shed more than 60 pounds by switching to a healthier diet. The Redskins roster lists the native of Richardson, Texas, at 6 foot 2, 315 pounds.It just feels like a whole different level, he said. The practices out here are more intense than any of the games were in college.LeRibeus said he doesnt have a feel for how the position battle will unfold or even how much hell play this season. But he does know the next few weeks will be critical.Im sure preseason will determine a lot of that, he said.Indeed, it will. If Lichtensteiger is not ready for Week 1, its entirely possible LeRibeus will get the nod.And if that call comes, hell be ready.Its night and day, LeRibeus said of his comfort level. I remember that first time I went out there, I was all over the place. Its gotten a lot better.
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)
—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197
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.
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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