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NFC East Update: Redskins in the thick of things as Giants slump, Cowboys get rolled

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NFC East Update: Redskins in the thick of things as Giants slump, Cowboys get rolled

Most experts predicted that the Cowboys or the Giants would win the NFC East in 2017.

Those experts don't look so hot right now.

The Giants offense appears incapable of doing much and the Cowboys got exposed visiting Denver.

Meawhile, after a tough opening week loss to the Eagles, the Redskins are right back in the thick of the NFC East race following a big win in LA.

Here's the NFC East update:


  • Dallas Cowboys (1-1, 1-0 NFC East) - Things looked well and good in Dallas in their season opening win over the Giants, but when the Cowboys went to Denver, they got exposed. Dallas mustered just 268 yards of total yards and their run game got nothing done. Ezekiel Elliott ran for only eight yards on nine carries, and on a few plays, his effort was questioned. The Broncos showed that perhaps the best way to play the Cowboys is to load up against the run and force Dak Prescott to pass. Plus, don't forget the fluid legal situation with Elliott. It remains possible he could be forced to serve his pending six-game suspension at some point this season. Next: @ Arizona.
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1-1, 1-0) - The Eagles logged an impressive road win to start the year in Washington, breaking a five-game losing streak to the Redskins. The road success did not continue Sunday in Kansas City, however, as former Philadelphia coach Andy Reid beat the Eagles 27-20. The Philly run game struggled, again, but second-year QB Carson Wentz built off his impressive performance against the Redskins with another 300-yard plus passing day against the Chiefs. Next: Home vs. NY Giants.
  • Washington Redskins (1-1, 0-1) - Redskins QB Kirk Cousins has not been impressive yet this season, but Jay Gruden said that his team's passing game is close to breaking out. The difference for Washington in Week 2 came from a strong run game. The Redskins piled up 229 rush yards against the Rams en route to a solid 27-20 road win. The Redskins have plenty of concerns, including injuries to RB Rob Kelley and TE Jordan Reed, but a resurgent defense has kept them in winnable situations thus far in the year. Next: Home vs Raiders.
  • New York Giants (0-2, 0-1) - By far the biggest surprise in the NFC East through two weeks would be the ineffective play from the New York offense. Poor offensive line blocking is rendering Eli Manning and the Big Blue ground game pretty useless. The Giants looked outmatched against the Cowboys in Week 1, and suffered an embarassing home loss on Monday Night Football to the Lions in Week 2. In that game, Manning threw for only 238 yards and was sacked five times. Odell Beckham missed Week 1 with an ankle injury. He returned in Week 2 but was held largely in check, making just four catches for 36 yards. Next: @ Philadelphia.


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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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