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RT's 5: Cooley sheds some pounds

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RT's 5: Cooley sheds some pounds

Rich Tandlers five things possibly related to the Washington Redskins and other matters.5. London Fletcher probably didnt mean to take a shot at Rex Grossman and John Beck at his press conference after the OTA session but he did. When asked if the trade for the draft rights to Robert Griffin III influenced his decision to re-sign with the Redskins, the 37-year old captain said that it did. Im in my 15th season, to go into another year with not having a quarterback was not very appealing to me, he said. Ill tell you that. Clearly, Beck and Grossman were not quarterbacks who inspired much confidence. It does not appear that RG3 has that problem.4. I will have a full article on Chris Cooley later today or tomorrow but I was surprised to hear him say that his weight is down to 237. Thats 18 pounds lighter than his listed weight of 255 and just a couple of pounds heavier than converted wide receiver Niles Paul. The lighter weight is great for running routes but not necessarily good when it comes to taking on 270-pound linebackers. We will see if Cooley can make up for his reduced bulk with leverage and technique when he needs to block. The answer to that will have to wait until training camp, when full-contact blocking is allowed, and the preseason games.3. Speaking of Paul, he looked very good yesterday. Every time you looked up he was catching another dart from Griffin. That doesnt mean that he is going to jump ahead of Cooley or Fred Davis on the depth chart but it cant hurt to develop a good rapport with the starting quarterback.2. It was somewhat surprising to see Tim Hightower, about seven months removed from tearing his ACL, on the field taking handoffs from Griffin. He ran straight ahead for the most part; he probably wont be able to cut until training camp. I saw him about 30 minutes after the workout, running sprints on the field turf in the bubble. He is not all the way back by any means but he is on his way.1. Griffin was as good as advertised yesterday. He threw with zip and accuracy, getting some passes into small openings. He was confident and clearly in charge as he went up to the line of scrimmage. It was time to get out of the playbook and, in his words, go out and play and he clearly enjoyed and savored the experience. The caveat is that its relatively easy to look good while wearing shorts with no contact allowed against defenders likely to be reserves when the season starts. The true test will come when the pads go on against hostile first-teamers. But were not at that point yet and based on what we have to go on its so far, so good.Days until: minicamp 21; training camp 65; preseason opener @ Bills 79; Redskins @ Saints 110; home opener vs. Bengals 124Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

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