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Need to Know: If there is a Knighton signing it won't affect the Redskins' draft plans

Need to Know: If there is a Knighton signing it won't affect the Redskins' draft plans

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 31, 28 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 81 days ago. It will be about 164 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 18; 2016 NFL draft 28; Redskins training camp starts 119

Hot topic

Apparently Chris Baker needs to have his press credentials revoked. On 1067 The Fan on Tuesday he reported that Terrance Knighton would rejoin the Redskins by lunchtime on Wednesday. It’s now Thursday morning and still no Pot Roast under contract. Good thing Baker is a pretty good defensive end.

This doesn’t mean that a Knighton return is dead just that it isn’t going to happen right now. But whether he comes back or not will have no effect on how the Redskins conduct the draft. They are still likely to draft defensive linemen early and perhaps often.

Knighton is going to be 30 in July. If he signs it will either be a one- or two-year deal. There will be little if any guaranteed money. It’s likely that he would make the team in September but his spot would not be assured. Even if he is under contract for 2017 there is no guarantee that he will be on the roster.

Yes, they may have 25 or 30 snaps per game in the middle of the line covered if Knighton is on the 53. But it would be a short-term solution. The draft is about the long term. Even in the first round McCloughan will be looking for a player who can help in the long term and he won’t bypass the best available player because he has a short-term stopgap.

By the way, you can apply the same logic if they sign receiver Anquan Boldin (age 35) or tight end Vernon Davis (32). If they were going to draft a wide receiver or a tight end before signing one of them they will draft one after.

Fan question of the day

If the Redskins trade down from the 21st pick and gain other picks how likely would it be the skins pick Jaylon Smith #NTK

Jaylon Smith, for those who don’t know, is a linebacker who was set to be a very high pick in the NFL draft until he suffered a devastating knee injury during Notre Dame’s bowl game.

How serious was the injury? The consensus of teams who would give NFL Network’s Mike Mayock a comment on the combine medical exams on the knee was, “It’s bad,” perhaps to the point where he won’t be able to take the field in 2017.

Still, he could be quite an asset to a team when he can play again. But I don’t think that the Redskins would take him with either of their top two picks even if they did trade back.

The reason is simple. They can’t afford to have one of their top picks sitting out a season. Their defense was ranked 28th last year. They need young players who can contribute and start developing now.

The best landing spot for Smith would be someplace like Seattle or Kansas City, a team with an established defense that can afford to wait for Smith to rehab properly.

Now, if Smith is still on the board when the Redskins’ third-round pick comes up, Scot McCloughan might think about it. But that’s unlikely after the Seahawks, Chiefs, and a few others who can wait it out have had multiple chances at him.

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

Stat of the day

Since the year 2000 the Redskins have drafted seven defensive linemen. Only one, Jarvis Jenkins (second round 2012), was taken before the sixth round.

In case you missed it

 

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 25, 17 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.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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)

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197