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Is the Redskins' future center already on the roster?


Is the Redskins' future center already on the roster?

The Redskins may be looking for a new center as they put the prospects at the NFL Combine under the microscope this week. Then again, they might have their future man in the middle on the roster already.

Last year center was not a strong point for the Redskins, to say the last. Kory Lichtensteiger, who will turn 31 next month, started the season and struggled before a neck injury sidelined him for the last 11 games of the regular season. He returned for the playoff game. Lichtensteiger is under contract for two more years with a cap charge of $4.05 million this season.

In the interim the job belonged to Josh LeRibeus, who has issues blocking and scattered his shotgun snaps back to Kirk Cousins with alarming regularity. He is a free agent and the prospects for his return are unclear.

What are the alternatives? “We have Austin Reiter on our roster right now,” said Jay Gruden when asked about the position. “We drafted him in the seventh round last year. He did some good things in practice.”

Reiter was cut before the season started and he was on the street until the Redskins brought him back, adding him to the practice squad in Week 4.

Reporters can’t watch practice during the season so nobody can verify the “good things” that Reiter did. At 6-3, 296 might be a touch undersized for the power-blocking scheme the Redskins want to emphasize. But the word around Redskins Park is that the coaches like his potential so he will get a shot at sticking around.

A player who many thought might be an in-house possibility at center is Spencer Long, who started 13 games at left guard last year. But Gruden threw some cold water on that idea.

“Spencer, we tried to do that [have him practice at center] a little bit throughout the season in practice,” he said. “But he has a ways to go. His snaps are a little bit off right now. That’s not something you want to go into a game with if you’re not sure about the snaps. We already figured that.”

One center the Redskins could take a long look at in Indianapolis is Jack Allen of Michigan State. Allen, who was selected as Sparty’s captain over quarterback Connor Cook, lacks ideal size at 6-1, 294 but the former high school wrestler is tough in the trenches and he knows how to use leverage and angles.

“I’m not as tall as any of them but I think I’m a pretty tough football player,” Allen said at the NFL Combine this week when asked what sets him apart from other O-linemen in the draft. “I’m physical on the field. I work pretty hard. I try to pride myself on being one of the hardest working guys in the room. Just toughness, really.”

Sounds a lot like what Scot McCloughan said at the Senior Bowl last month. “I don’t need the biggest, the fastest, the prettiest,” he said. “I want a football player.”

Allen, a two-time All-American, is very likely to be available when the Redskins pick in the third round and he could even last until the fourth. 

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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.