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OPEN THREAD: Unintended consequences could haunt Redskins after Cousins talks

OPEN THREAD: Unintended consequences could haunt Redskins after Cousins talks

When the Redskins reached a five-year, nearly $50 million contract extension with tight end Jordan Reed in May, it not only was great news for the organization because it locked up the best pass catching tight end south of Massachusetts, it gave Washington salary cap flexibility for next season when Reed was due to become a free agent. Getting Reed's deal done also gave the Redskins flexibility to use the franchise tag elsewhere next season, a move they may need to make if a multi-year contract can't be reached by Friday afternoon with Kirk Cousins. 

The best teams act in advance of free agency, making decisions to lock up key players or building in plans to appropriately use the franchise tag. For the Redskins, placing the franchise tag on Cousins means the team knows the quarterback will be back in 2016, and GM Scot McCloughan did not have to beat other offers for Cousins on the open market this offseason.


Most importantly, it gave McCloughan and the Redskins brass time to negotiate with Cousins, but with just over 24 hours to go before the deadline Friday afternoon, a long-term contract seems like anything but a done deal.

Some say Washington is being prudent having Cousins play on the one-year, $19.9 million franchise tag in 2016. That way, if Cousins proves that 2015 was a one-year flash in the pan, the organization won't be locked into too much money. Others argue that the price tag for Cousins will only go up next season, so get a deal done now that guarantees the Redskins have a capable QB for seasons to come. 

One thing to remember, though, every action brings with it a set of unintended consequences. 

Consider: If the Redskins fail to reach a deal with Cousins before the franchise deadline, he will be the first QB to enter into a season on a franchise tag since Drew Brees. And if Cousins succeeds on a franchise tag? The Redskins will have no choice but to franchise Cousins again in 2017 while working again trying to work out the details of a multi-year contract.

So what? 

So - if Redskins LB Junior Galette produces this fall like he has in the past, Washington will have little recourse next offseason if he reaches free agency. Galette racked up 22 sacks in 2013 and 2014 before missing 2015 with an Achilles injury. By all accounts - especially his own social media - the former New Orleans sack specialist could be a pass rushing force for the 'Skins this fall.

If Galette finishes 2016 with double digit sacks, that likely means the Redskins defense is much improved. Teamed with Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, a healthy Galette poses serious problems for opposing offensive lines. 

Galette is playing 2016 on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Look through his Twitter feed, and it's obvious Galette has plans on a much larger contract in 2017. If Galette can be the player in 2016 for the Redskins that he was in 2013 and 2014 for New Orleans, McCloughan would probably like to keep him around. And that will be much harder to do if McCloughan has to again use the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, meaning Galette will hit the open market.

Much rides on the contract talks between Washington and Cousins, but like anything, all actions carry unintended consequences. Galette may not prove to be the player for the 'Skins that he was for the Saints, but if he is, it would be in the Redskins favor to have the option of the franchise tag in 2017.

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

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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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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