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Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

The Redskins have found their offensive and defensive coordinators and they are ready to get on with the business portion of the offseason.

The big question between now and the middle of March is how they will divvy up their $62 million in cap space.

Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options.

Up first was the offensive tackle position. Today the focus is on the interior offensive line.

Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com

The Redskins currently have five interior O-linemen under contract.

— G Brandon Scherff, 2017 cap hit $5.8 million, under contract through 2018
— G Shawn Lauvao, $5 million, through 2017
— C Kory Lichtensteiger, $4.5 million, through 2017
— C Spencer Long, $853,450, through 2017
— G Arie Kouandjio, $745,400, through 2018

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

Notes:
—Scherff is halfway through his four-year rookie contract. His cap hit goes up to $6.7 million in 2017. After that, things get sticky. The Redskins do have a fifth-year option on Scherff. As a top-10 pick Scherff would be entitled to a salary that is the average of the top 10 salaries of all offensive linemen. That will come to over $11 million. One would think that the Redskins will try to negotiate a new deal with Scherff after this season so they don’t have to face that decision. But because the Redskins will face a choice in 2019 of either paying Scherff the $11 million or letting him become a free agent, the situation could get sticky.  

—Lauvao is in the final season of the four-year free agent contract he signed in 2014. Predicting that he will be cut is an annual tradition among Redskins fans. He was the starter all year and it’s hard to see a team $62 million under the cap move on from him for cap savings. Even if Kouandjio or another player beats him out for the starting job there is a good chance he sticks around as depth.

—Talk of cutting Lichtensteiger also is an annual event. This might be the year. He lost his starting job to Long due to injury but he didn’t get it back when he was healthy. It’s pretty easy to see them moving on from him and saving $3.5 million in cap space. Another possibility would be for Lichtensteiger to agree to a cut in his base pay and to be able to make it up with incentives like per-game roster bonuses and escalators based on snaps played.

—Long has completed the third year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for an extension. It would not be surprising to see the Redskins try to lock their starting center up for the next several years.

Positional spending (full O-line)

2016: Redskins $26.2 million, 11th in NFL
2017: $34 million, 7th in NFL

RELATED: ASSESSING FIVE MOCK DRAFT SELECTIONS

Adding and subtracting:
— If they do an extension for Long the terms should be fairly easy to settle on. Travis Frederick of the Cowboys is the on top of the average annual value list at $9.4 million and the perennial Pro Bowl contenders like Alex Mack and Mike Pouncey are in the $8-$9 million range. Long clearly isn’t in that category. If he signs an extension he should settle into the $6-$7 million range over four years with around $8 million guaranteed.

— If Lichtensteiger does indeed get cut the Redskins will be looking for a backup center. John Sullivan was signed last year after Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve. Sullivan played well, starting one game and playing most of another when Long was injured. The nine-year veteran might want to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. If not the Redskins could be amenable to bringing him back.

— Kouandjio is inexpensive depth. He struggled in an early-season start when Lauvao was out but he did better in a late-season start. The Redskins may try to bring in some competition in the draft or with a minimum salary veteran signing.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year.

Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

RELATED: DEAR FANS, STOP WITH THE 'FIRE GRUDEN' TALK

"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

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USA TODAY Sports

League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

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.