Chris Cooley and Santana Moss both had a seasons to forget in 2011 and both hope to be with the Redskins in 2012 to turn things around.Cooley had issues with his knee swelling all the way through training camp, problems caused in part by the tight end trying to guide his own way through rehab during the NFL lockout.He was off to a slow start with just eight catches for 65 yards when he suffered a broken index finger in the fifth game of the season. After a few weeks, he wound up on injured reserve.A week after Cooley broke his finger, Moss suffered a broken hand against the Panthers, an injury that cost him four games. He had his worst season statistically since he was a Jet in 2002.Both Moss and Cooley have had younger players added to their respective positions over the offseason. Joshua Morgan and Pierre Garon were added as free agents and their contracts indicate that they will be in line for a significant number of snaps.This comes on the heels of the Redskins adding three wide receivers in the draft last year. Mike Shanahan indicated that Leonard Hankerson, one of last years rookies, will be one of the top receivers along with Morgan and Garon.Shanahan mentioned Moss almost as an afterthought. He did say that Moss has lost 15 pounds since the end of last year and that he is in the best shape he has been in for the last few years.One of the wide receivers drafted in 2011 is changing positions to challenge Cooley. Niles Paul has added some weight and will move to tight end.Cooley, the longest-tenured Redskin, already was looking up at Fred Davis on the depth chart and now he must stave off Paul. Logan Paulsen is in the picture, too. That is four players vying for what is likely to be three roster spots.Shanahan said that health will not be an issue for Cooley.Cooley is looking really good in rehab, Shanahan said. Theres been no setback with him working out, him being able to run his routes, no swelling in the knee area.Financial considerations could come into play. The Redskins are pushed up against the salary cap due to the 18 million penalty the league imposed on them. Cooley counts 6.2 million against the cap while Moss cap hit is 4.8 million. If the team releases Cooley after June 1 they will create 3.9 million in cap space while Moss being released in June would save 3.15 million against the cap.The futures of Moss and Cooley might not be entirely decided by Shanahan. Law professor Stephen Burbank, who is the arbitrator who will decide if the salary cap penalty will stand, could have a big role in deciding if the Redskins can afford to keep him around.Days until: OTAs start 13; minicamp 34; preseason opener 93; Redskins at Saints 124Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
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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