Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 27, 11 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.
Here are the top five takeaways from Jay Gruden’s press availability at the NFL owners meetings:
Orakpo needs to prove it—Gruden said that he would be fine with having Brian Orakpo play out the season on the franchise tag. If you read this blog regularly you know that I’ve been saying that the team really has no interest in giving him a long-term deal for a variety of reasons, among them his need to show that he can get it done two years in a row among them.
The offensive line shuffle is official—As many expected, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger will slide into the center spot that became vacant when Will Montgomery was released and free agent signee Shawn Lauvao will be the starting left guard.
Phillip Thomas should be ready to go—He suffered a Lisfranc injury in August and Gruden thinks he’ll be ready to play. However, he wasn’t specific about whether or not Thomas will be able to be fully participant in the offseason program that starts April 7. But he did indicate that they would like to see him step up into a substantial role so he must have some confidence that he will be able to get in a lot of practice before the season starts.
He doesn’t care if RG3 wears a knee brace—“His knee is strong” said Gruden and he said that braces are so light that it really shouldn’t hinder him if the doctors do recommend that he wear one.
He likes having two good QB’s—Well, he said “great” quarterbacks but I’m not quite sure either Griffin or Kirk Cousins qualify. But he does like having Cousins around, especially since Griffin tends to put himself in harm’s way from time to time. Gruden said that the team hasn't received any trade offers for Cousins so far.
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—It’s been 88 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 164 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Offseason workouts start 11; NFL Draft 42; Training camp starts 118
In case you missed it
Gruden: Hatcher "was a priority for us" due to pass rush
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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.