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Need to Know: Redskins have just enough salary cap space to get through the season

Need to Know: Redskins have just enough salary cap space to get through the season

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 19, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Three and out—

1. Yesterday I tweeted out a link to my post about Jay Gruden saying that despite the team’s 3-11 record he won’t play younger players just to see what they can do. A barrage of tweets deriding Gruden’s attitude followed. The bottom line is that the man is paid to win games. Unless he has somehow been relieved of that responsibility, that’s what he needs to do. Spencer Long getting a game or a few series is going to have a very minimal effect on the 2015 Redskins. Gruden should play the best players and that’s what it looks like he is doing.

2. One young player who will get some more playing time is Phillip Thomas. Brandon Meriweather did not practice yesterday and the word is that he will be out the last two games. Both Gruden and Jim Haslett have been impressed with him. Haslett said that Thomas really cut down on the mistakes a lot last week in his second start. Certainly nobody is willing to say that he’s the 2015 starter but it seems that he’s earning himself a shot.

3. Tarik El-Bashir wrote about the contrast between the Eagles’ ability to get the ball into the end zone by means other than the run and the pass (10 return touchdowns) and Washington getting shut out in that department. The Redskins are 26th in the league in scoring with 257 points. If they had scored 70 points on returns they would be tied for 12th.

Out: The Redskins are going to make it across the finish line on fumes when it comes to salary cap space. According to the public record on the NFLPA website they are $18,631 under the cap. To compare, the team with the second-lowest amount of cap room is the Giants, who have almost $325,000 in space, about 17 times the amount the Redskins do. The team with the most space is the Jaguars, who have almost $22 million in space. The average remaining cap rom per team is $5.9 million. Teams can carry over cap room from one year to the next so the Redskins will be at something of a disadvantage in free agency. It looks like they will enter free agency with about $9 million in cap space with the ability to create as much as $20 million more by making some roster moves.


Today’s schedule: Walkthrough practice at Redskins Park; no media availability

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 9; 2015 NFL Draft 132; 2015 season opening Sunday 268

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on and

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.


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