Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 21, 38 days before the NFL Draft.
Offseason thoughts: Redskins seem confident in Matt Jones as the No. 1 back
—There seems to be a lot of confidence in Matt Jones to be the replacement for Morris as the “lead dog” running back. Scot McCloughan allowed the top backs like Matt Forte and Lamar Miller (and their high price tags) to fly off of the board early and he has yet to do any serious bargain hunting among the ones who are left. They aren’t going to hand Jones the job but Jay Gruden and McCloughan believe that he can earn. That doesn’t mean that if a running back is the best player available in the first two rounds that McCloughan won’t pull the trigger. But for right now it looks like a later-round pick and/or a veteran picked up just before or just after the draft will provide the competition.
—Something that Chris Cooley said about a departing Redskin didn’t get the attention that what he said about Robert Griffin III got. However, what he said about Alfred Morris on ESPN 980 was pretty harsh as well. “He played in 2015 so hesitant, so tentatively, and without confidence and without the burst he had in the past . . . that you had to say ‘he’s not our guy’” said the former tight end. This jibes with the observations of many, including me. Morris just didn’t have the ability to make the first tackler miss and without that he is a very ordinary running back.
—Yesterday I wrote about the key Redskins who will be free agents in 2017 and WR Pierre Garçon was one of them. It is still possible that he could sign an extension sometime before the season starts, a move that could reduce his cap number this year and keep him in the building for 2017 and possibly 2018. They could create some cap room by reducing his $10.2 million charge in the process although as noted in the same post they don’t seem very anxious. It’s really a question of if they want to ensure that he will be around and if he wants to stay.
—They could also keep DeSean Jackson, also a free agent in 2017, beyond this season but I don’t see a contract being done prior to next year. If Jackson, who turns 30 late in the season, becomes more serious about preparing for the grind of 16 games they might consider keeping him around. Receivers who remain effective into their 30’s are the ones who spend their offseasons preparing. If we see a repeat of last year, with Jackson skipping OTAs and then missing a big chunk of training camp and all of the preseason games with a mild shoulder injury, the interest in bringing him back will be low.
—The Redskins last played a game 71 days ago. It will be about 174 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 28; 2016 NFL draft 38; Redskins training camp starts 129
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.
The Redskins week that was
A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.
Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.
Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.
Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.
Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.
Tweet of the week
Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.
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.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169
In case you missed it
Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.
Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.
A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.
The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her.
The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.
2018 NFL DRAFT: MOCK DRAFT 6.0
Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.
The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.
The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.
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