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Plenty of blame to go around in Redskins-RG3 saga


Plenty of blame to go around in Redskins-RG3 saga

A few years ago, a moment like this seemed impossible.

Then, about six months ago, it became inevitable.

The Redskins have released quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The Redskins have informed Griffin that they are going to move on from him. The move means that the Redskins will not pay him the $16.15 million option salary that would have become guaranteed if had remained on the roster as of this Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The money was a big factor but it was obvious that the Redskins were going to go with Kirk Cousins as their quarterback. That left no job for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, a pick that the Redskins parted with three of their own first-rounders and a second to acquire.

The move paid off initially as Griffin dazzled the league with both his arm and his legs, earning rookie of the year honors and leading the Redskins to their first division title since 1999. Some moments from that season, such as his electrifying 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings and four touchdown passes in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, will live forever in Redskins lore.

Unfortunately so will the injuries that Griffin suffered. The first serious problem came that year in December when Griffin scrambled, cut back to the middle of the field, and after a collision with massive defensive lineman Haloti Ngata he stayed on the ground with a sprained ligament in his knee. That sidelined him for a game.

Griffin still didn’t seem to be 100 percent when the Redskins hosted the Seahawks in the NFC playoffs. Early in the game it looked like he tweaked it but Mike Shanahan kept him in the game. That turned out to be a disastrous decision as Griffin’s knee bent awkwardly as he tried to pick up a loose ball in the fourth quarter. His ACL was torn, other ligaments were damaged and the knee required reconstructive surgery a few days later.

Everyone reading this is familiar with the saga, the “All in for Week 1” mantra, the one-hour ESPN special on his recovery, the passive-aggressive public exchanges with Shanahan, the constant media reports of discord both in the locker room and between Griffin and Shanahan, the coach getting fired, Jay Gruden coming in, the dislocated ankle, Gruden’s public criticism of the quarterback, the announcement at the combine that Griffin was the starter, the post-Lions game concussion saga and, finally, Gruden proclaiming that “it’s Kirk’s team.”

That’s leaving out a lot of details in between but suffice it to say that just about every that could go wrong did go wrong from the moment Ngata whipped Griffin’s knee in the wrong direction until the end. When something goes as spectacularly bad as the Griffin saga did virtually everyone involved has to have a hand in it.

Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder should not have pushed for a deal that gave up so much for one player whose fit in an NFL offense was questionable. As the man with final say in football decisions, Mike Shanahan should not have given it his OK. Kyle Shanahan should not have designed an offense that would stunt Griffin’s development and ended up creating expectations that could not be meant. Pivot back to Allen and Snyder, who hired a coach with an offense that didn’t fit what Griffin does well. Griffin should never have taken on such a sense of entitlement after his rookie year and never really learning how to protect himself either in or out of the pocket. Gruden should not have come out and sharply criticized Griffin publically.

Again, some details being left out but if you want to point fingers at who is to blame you’d better have a lot of fingers ready. 

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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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