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RG3 not a done deal for Week 1--yet


RG3 not a done deal for Week 1--yet

Will Robert Griffin III be the starting quarterback for the Redskins when they take on the Eagles on Sept. 9?

The short answer is that it seems very likely, perhaps inevitable. But the longer answer is that there are still one more hurdle to  clear before RG3’s status as the Week 1 starter is etched in stone.

This morning, Adam Schefter’s tweet stating that Griffin will start on Monday night against the Eagles seemed to confirm what many have thought for a long time. Griffin has seemed to be on track to be ready for the season almost from the moment Dr. James Andrews finished up the surgery. We heard he was “ahead of schedule” so often that it became a punch line. But every time he was seen in public, from the NFL awards dinner to the draft day appearance at FedEx Field to throwing during OTAs and minicamp, it seemed as though he was, yes, ahead of schedule.

But soon after Schefter reported this, word came out from sources inside the Redskins organization and from people close to Griffin that we should tap the brakes on it. He has not yet been cleared to play. That will not happen until tomorrow when Andrews is scheduled to watch Griffin work out before the Redskins’ preseason game in Tampa and then conduct an examination of his famous right knee.

Before that happens, it can’t be said that Griffin is “officially” cleared to play. But that appears to be a mere formality. Griffin said on the radio yesterday that he feels like he is no less than 100 percent.

Kyle Shanahan seems to agree. “I don’t think anybody knows if you’re 100 percent except the person who’s saying that,” said the Redskins’ offensive coordinator on Tuesday. “I mean, you only can know your own body. He’s such a good athlete, he could fool me; he looks 100 percent to me. He can fly around. He can make the throws. There’s no gimp at all – obviously he wouldn’t be out there if there was. But he looks good to me.”

Mike Shanahan also was impressed. “He had a good practice yesterday [Monday] and he had a good practice today [Tuesday],” said Shanahan. “I can see a big improvement from the start when he came out here the first day to where he is now. You can see he is in football shape and there hasn’t been a setback so everything has been very positive.”

Let’s see here, looks 100 percent, flying around, no gimp, making the throws, big improvement, in football shape, very positive—sure sounds like they’re talking about a guy who is their starter in 12 days to me.

It’s like you’re about to buy a house. The money is in the bank, everything checks out, the paperwork is ready to go. All that you need to do is hand over the check and sign the papers.

But you have that final walkthrough to do. And while it’s highly unlikely that you will find anything during that inspection that would derail the deal, it’s possible that you see cracks in the foundation, mold, or something else major that will change everything.

The chances are, however, that nothing will be found and you’ll sit down and sign the papers and the house will be yours.

The Andrews exam tomorrow is like that final inspection. It’s one more look to make sure everything is good to go. It’s a formality, but it’s there for a reason.

So we will have to wait a little bit longer to hear that Griffin is officially cleared to play. Hey, it’s been 231 days since his surgery, what difference is a few more days going to make?

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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.


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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before they let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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.