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Need to Know: A possible drafting dilemma for the Redskins at No. 21


Need to Know: A possible drafting dilemma for the Redskins at No. 21

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 29, 30 days before the NFL Draft.


—The Redskins last played a game 79 days ago. It will be about 166 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 20; 2016 NFL draft 30; Redskins training camp starts 121

Hot topic

A mock draft done by Peter Schrager of Fox Sports highlights what could be an interesting dilemma for Scot McCloughan.

In the mock, he has the Redskins taking defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson of Alabama with their first-round pick, No. 21 overall. That’s not an issue; The Redskins want to get younger along their defensive line and he would be a good fit. But in this mock draft Robinson is the seventh defensive lineman off of the board.

With the next pick, Schrager has the Texans taking Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. He is the first receiver off of the board. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon both turning 30 this year and both in the final year of their contracts, wide receiver is very much a need in this draft.

Assuming Scot McCloughan is on the clock with Treadwell and Robinson on the board, what should he do? Should he take the best receiver in the draft? Or the seventh-best defensive lineman?

McCloughan’s short answer would be “best available player”. But at some point, you have to figure that you run out of defensive linemen who are better than the best receiver in the draft (and if you want to say that’s Josh Doctson that’s fine; Schrager has him going to the Vikings at No. 23). So McCloughan could decide to go with a wide receiver in the first and come back in Rounds 2 and/or 3 on Saturday and stock up the defensive line. The bigger names, of course, will be gone but this draft should have some quality linemen left on Saturday.

It must be noted that this is just a mock draft and that the way things actually unfold on April 28 could be quite different. But teams do go through mocks drafts just to figure out how they will handle such situations. McCloughan will undoubtedly have a plan for such a scenario. But he's not about to tell you and me what it is.

Fan question of the day

Not sure what you mean by “heavy” but the way I would use it the answer is probably no.

I think you could have a Week 1 a rookie starter on the defensive line. You’ll probably have all veterans at linebacker. In the secondary a rookie safety could emerge if they take one in the first few rounds. Same with a corner, although I think that if Chris Culliver is healthy by Week 1 he and Bashaud Breeland will be the starters. So that would be two and maybe three rookie starters out of 11 positions. By my thinking you would need to have one or two more rookie starters to call it “heavy” on first-year players.

Same thing if you’re talking about the entire depth chart. Let’s say that Scot McCloughan gets the 12 draft picks he wants and he takes seven defensive players with them. We’ll probably see five of them make the team. There will be between 24 and 26 defensive players on the 53-man roster. So, again, I wouldn’t necessarily call that “heavy”.

I think a better term to use might be youth heavy. The only likely starter over the age of 30 is safety DeAngelo Hall. Only two other defensive players, Will Blackmon and Kedric Golston, are over 30. The rest are 28 or younger.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

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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.