Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 22, five days before the start of OTAs.
Here are the five biggest questions facing Jay Gruden as he gets ready to take his team into the meat of the offseason program with OTAs next week.
—What plays should be thrown out? There are many more plays in the playbook that he and Sean McVay have assembled than can be used. Part of OTAs will be figuring out which ones will work and which ones they should hit the delete button on. The more he can figure out in advance which plays will be most effective the more efficiently the limited practice time can be used.
—What does the depth chart on the offensive line look like? With a new coaching staff, everyone should have a fair shot at a roster spot and a starting job. But you have to line them up in some order to begin with and the initial order always has influence on the final order. The most important question is whether the draft status of Morgan Moses and Spencer long should trump the experience of players like Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis.
—How about the wide receiver depth chart? It’s not quite as muddled as the line with the top three jobs set in stone but beyond that there are three or four spots that are wide open. Who gets first shot at lining up wit the second unit to work with Kirk Cousins at quarterback?
—What is the schedule going to be? Most teams use the allotted practice time for rookie camp in one session. Gruden did it differently, splitting it into two shorter sessions with meeting in between. Will he break from the mold during OTAs? Will he give players input into the decision?
—Should it be all work and no play? Mike Shanahan would occasionally give the players a break from the grind and take the players to the movies or have a family picnic day at Redskins Park. As a veteran coach with a lot of authority, he had the pull to be able to do something like this. Does Gruden want mix in some fun activities and, if he does, will he feel comfortable in doing so?
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—It’s been 144 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 108 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.
—Days until: OTAs 5; Training camp starts 62; Redskins @ Eagles 122
In case you missed it
The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.
Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction.
What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb.
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For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined.
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The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.
Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.
Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.
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After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.
The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).
The salary cap hits per year are as follows:
2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million
The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.
Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.
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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/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.