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Need to Know: Five who could be playing their last game with the Redskins

Need to Know: Five who could be playing their last game with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 31, one day before the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 1; Wild card playoff round starts 7; Division playoff round start 14

Injuries of note:
Injured reserve: S Whitner (quad)
Out: CB Dunbar (concussion), LB Cravens (upper arm), OL Painter (calf)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), RB Kelley (knee), DE Baker (ankle)
Final injury report

Five players who could be in their last game for  the Redskins

While there are plenty of reasons for optimism that the Redskins will win tomorrow and advance to the playoffs, the cold reality is that their season could come to an end at around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. That means that a handful of Redskins could be playing their last games in burgundy and gold.

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s unlikely but possible that Cousins will walk as a free agent this spring. He would become the first quarterback ever with back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons to depart his team the next year. But we had only seen one quarterback play out a year on the franchise tag so this situation is not normal. Chances are he will stay on the franchise tag if not on a long-term deal but until the tag is applied and signed or a deal is done anything could happen.

WR DeSean Jackson—There has been plenty of buzz about Jackson’s pending free agency. Some have him in an Eagles uniform in 2017 already. While I tend to think that is a ploy to start driving up his price before he even hits the market, it’s certainly a possibility. It’s also possible that he will be back with the Redskins. Scot McCloughan must weigh multiple factors including his unique skills, his frequent absences at offseason workouts, his contract demands, and his tendency to disappear at times (six-game stretch this year with no more than 55 yards in any game).

WR Pierre Garçon—He recently said “D.C. is where I want to be” and cited his family and business interests in the area. That doesn’t mean he automatically will be back with the Redskins. He could sign up the road with the Ravens or Eagles and still be close enough to monitor his business and spend quality time with his family. But if it comes down to a choice between Jackson and Garçon it seems likely that the Redskins would make their pitch to the latter. However, that doesn’t mean that his return is automatic.

OL Shawn Lauvao—He is going into the last year of the four-year free agent deal he signed in 2014. The contract makes him the 12th highest paid left guard in the league and his play clearly doesn’t warrant that status. Releasing him would save $4 million in cap space and the Redskins could do that and find a younger and cheaper (or at least more cost-effective) solution at left guard. Also, releasing Kory Lichtensteiger, who is likely to be inactive tomorrow, would save $3.5 million.

DE Chris Baker—The veteran lineman will be 30 by the time Week 4 comes around next year. How McCloughan handles his free agency will be interesting to observe. The defensive line needs to be rebuilt. Do they start with Baker, who will command a sizeable but affordable contract? Or do they move on and go the younger and cheaper route? Baker may give the Redskins a slight hometown discount but this will be his last shot at a multiyear deal with some guaranteed cash and if another team offers significantly more money he could be gone.

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the second episode above and more here.

Many Redskins fans are hoping the team secures a defensive back in the first round by landing a guy like Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick. But if Washington opts to address a different position in Round 1, there'll be a quality safety available in the middle rounds in Terrell Edmunds.

Terrell, the brother of top-10 prospect Tremaine, is projected to be taken in the third or fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. As of now, the Redskins don't have a selection in the former, but a trade could change that. They pick 109th in the latter.

"Terrell possesses high end speed and explosion traits that are coveted for his position," writes NFL.com. "He has man cover talent against big targets and should step right into a role on the coverage units for special teams."

With D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson, Washington's starting safety tandem is taken care of on paper. Nicholson was injured often as a rookie, though, so depth is needed behind him. And their special teams have been leaky for quite some time, providing the Virginia Tech Hokie a place to make an immediate impact while he works his way into the defensive rotation.

It's a rotation he would likely feel at home in, too. Edmunds is more than comfortable talking trash, so if he does become a Redskin, he'd fit right in alongside the likes of the fellow vocal guys like Swearinger, Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar.