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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Panthers—Last win over Carolina a while ago

Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Panthers—Last win over Carolina a while ago

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 14, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.


Today's schedule: Kirk Cousins news conference 4:05

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 10; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 18

Injuries of note:
LB Compton (PCL sprain), LB Cravens (muscle flexor), RB Brown (concussion)
Latest injury report

First look at Redskins vs Panthers

A 10-year skid: The Redskins beat the Panthers the first six times they played but now Carolina has won five of the last six including the last four straight. The last Redskins coach to have a win over the Panthers was Joe Gibbs in Week 12 of the 2004 season.

Tough going: The Panthers have a tough rushing defense. They rank sixth in the league, giving up just 3.7 yards per carry. Other than the train wreck of a game they had against the Seahawks on Sunday night a couple of weeks ago, when they allowed Seattle 240 yards rushing, they have been strong against the run lately. Outside of that Seahawks debacle, since Week 6 only the Saints have over 100 yards on the ground in a game against them. The Redskins are 2-4 when they fail to rush for over 100 yards.

Cam rocks vs. the Redskins: Yes, Cam Newton has played well in his three career games against the Redskins, completing 65 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 122.0. He could have a tough time getting it done on Sunday. Newton has had a passer rating of over 100 once this year and that was in Week 2 against the 49ers. He has completed less than half of his passes in each of the last four weeks. Newton can be dangerous running the ball but he is on pace to rush for 390 yards this year, which would by far be the lowest for his career.

Norman vs. his old team: With the Panthers close to elimination from the playoffs, the only juice this game has in Carolina is Redskins cornerback Josh Norman facing off against his old team. Norman did not want to comment on it after the Eagles game and he might not have much to say this week. While he was stunned by the team’s decision to pull the franchise tag last April he landed on his feet in Washington. There’s no reason for the Panthers or their fans to be upset with Norman. In fact, if you gave Panthers GM Dave Gettleman some truth serum he’s probably admit that he blew it, consider that his team hasn’t found even an adequate replacement for Norman and is 30th in the league in passing yards allowed.

Three and out: The Panthers are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to giving the ball away; they are 27th in the league with 24 turnovers and they have multiple turnovers in eight of their 13 games. On the other side of the coin, they also have taken the ball away 22 times, making them the eighth-best team in that category . . . I wonder if Norman will be matched up against a tight end? That’s not a serious question but tight end Greg Olsen is by far the Panthers’ most productive pass catcher with 65 receptions for 907 yards . . . The Panthers can get to the quarterback; they lead the league with 39 sacks. The sacks are spread around pretty well with DE Mario Addison leading the way with 7.5 and DT Kawann Short second with five.

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022.


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before they let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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.