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Mark Sanchez—Breaking it down

Mark Sanchez—Breaking it down

Join me here for an NFL Draft live blog on Saturday and Sunday. We'll get started right around 4:00 on Saturday and again when the proceedings reconvene at 10:00 on Sunday.

Quarterbacks get Redskins fans buzzing. I write a post that is mostly about tackles and linebackers but most of the comments and emails I got were due to one paragraph about the possibility of the Redskins doing some wheeling and dealing to get in position to draft USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

There is a lot about this that we don't know. In fact, there is a lot here the Redskins don't know. For that matter, the subject of all of this, Sanchez, doesn't know a heck of a lot more about this than we do. From SI.com:

"I think it's going to be an interesting week," Sanchez said."I have no idea what's going to happen. I really don't. In other drafts, the top seemed pretty clear a few days before the draft. Not this year."

It does seem obvious that the Redskins like Sanchez. That means that they're not thrilled with Jason Campbell, a conclusion we could draw from watching how frantically the Skins tried to get Jay Cutler.

I like Campbell, not just as a good guy but as a quarterback. I think that if he gets another year in Jim Zorn's system that he can be a very good QB. He will never be Payton Manning, maybe not even Eli, but he should be able to win on a team with a solid defense and a good running game.

However, you'll note that nothing above is stated with any degree of certainty. That's because there is no certainty about Campbell. He may be the solid signal caller he was during the 6-2 start or the real Campbell might be the one that led an impotent offense during the 2-6 season-ending skid. If he's something in between, that's not very good.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding Campbell, concern about the Redskins quarterback spot is very much a defensible position. Campbell's contract expires at the end of the year. If the labor issue is settled and the status quo remains he will be an unrestricted free agent. Should the cap go away he will be restricted. In either case, if he has a good year the Redskins may lose him. If he has a bad year they can just let him go and start from scratch at the most critical position on the field. (Let's not get into Colt Brennan. He's not the answer—too short and he has a funny delivery. And, at absolute best, Todd Collins would be a one-year stopgap.)

So, if you're concerned about the most important position on the field, what do you do? Do you let things play out and worry about it next year? Or do you go out and do something about it now?

The Cutler pursuit gave us evidence that the Skins would rather do something about it now. There is every reason to think that they are serious about trying to do something to get Sanchez.

And, usually, when the Redskins want something they find a way to make it happen.

But, in this case, they may not be able to. Sanchez is climbing up the boards and it may take a move into the top five in order for the Redskins to get him. And, looking at the draft point value chart, they can't do that without surrendering next year's number one pick and the word is that Daniel Snyder is drawing the line at giving up that pick.

So, is that the end of it? Probably, unless they can concoct this scenario devised by Peter King of SI.com. First he goes through a deal for the third overall pick, which belongs to the Chiefs, that is balanced in terms of the draft pick value chart. That would involve the Redskins giving up their first, third, and fifth picks this year and next year's number one.

But that formula doesn't take into account $34.8 million in guarantees and $12-million-a-year averages. What I think is fair for Washington, and for the team selling off Sanchez, is this: first- and third-round picks this year, and a second-rounder next year. Forget the points. It's just fair value.

I certainly respect King, but we've been hearing for years about how teams should take less to trade out of high picks in order to get out from under the huge contracts that you have to give unproven players there, but it never has happened. This scenario isn't something that King based on any information from inside sources; he just made it up. I'd have to rate the possibility of it happening as very slim.

As Sanchez said, however, the top of the draft remains very fluid. If Sanchez were to slip back to the eighth slot then all bets are off. The Redskins would have to give up just their pick at No. 13 and their third-round pick (or next year's second). I don't think there's any question that the Redskins would pull the trigger to make that happen if Sanchez still is on the board.

Would that be a good thing? Like any other deal there are pros and cons. The biggest factor against considering such a deal would be the opportunity cost. The Redskins would lose the chance to get a starting-quality player at one of their positions of need and other possible starters or quality depth with the lesser picks they would have to give up.

But if—and there's that uncertainty again—Sanchez turns out to be a stud NFL quarterback then whatever price the Redskins will have paid to get him will be utterly irrelevant. It will have been worth it.

My new book The Redskins Chronicle will be coming out soon. This book takes a unique and thorough look at Redskins history from when they moved to Washington in 1937 right through the 2008 season. Take a look at an excerpt and sign up to get notified when the book come out at RedskinsChronicle.com.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

In case you missed it

  

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

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