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Shanahan won't repeat mistake


Shanahan won't repeat mistake

RICHMOND—The last time that there were questions about the health of the right knee of Robert Griffin III the quarterback told the coach that he could play on it. The coach believed him and let him play.

That was seven months ago today during the Redskins’ playoff game against the Seahawks. The result, of course, was catastrophic. The injury went from bad to worse and, finally, about as bad as it could be.

Shanahan may have made a mistake last January but at this point you have to believe that he has learned from it. As Griffin is being kept out of team work during training camp, the quarterback is saying he’s fine. Shanahan is saying, not so fast.

“I’m ready to move on,” said Griffin, saying that he has gotten has much as he can out of individual drills and seven on seven passing.

At the end of that sound bite in his Monday morning press conference, Griffin acknowledged that Shanahan has different ideas. “Coach will tell you something else,” he said.

And in the afternoon, Shanahan did say something different.

“We do have a plan for him. He may not always like that plan, but that’s my job sometimes not to be liked,” he said. “My job is to do the best thing for him. That’s what I’ll do.”

One might say that it seems like Shanahan is holding back Griffin just to show him who’s boss. And there may be an element of that here. But there are plenty of other reasons to limit Griffin’s practice activities:

—Medical: The prescribed recovery period for an injury of the type that Griffin sustained is seven to nine months. Griffin won’t hit the seven-month mark since his surgery until Friday. They don’t just make these numbers up; they are based on thousands of cases and many years of experience. While Griffin has constantly been “ahead of schedule”, it seems like keeping him out of drills involving contact at least until he hits that seven-month mark is a prudent course of action.

—Football: There is plenty of time for Griffin to get ready for the season opener. The prime time contest against the Eagles is four weeks from Monday. If Griffin gets in four good weeks of work he’ll be good to go. Even three weeks is probably enough. So a lack of preparation time is not an issue at this point and it won’t be for another two weeks or so.

—PR: Griffin said yesterday that there was a public relations element in his practice schedule. “Obviously with this situation and what we have to deal with here and the DMV and D.C., there is a lot of scrutiny, so Coach also has to account for that,” he said. Griffin’s injury is a topic that transcends the sports universe. It’s headline news. And there is going to be a public relations element in the way that it’s handled. And that’s fine as long as PR is just a factor in decisions and not driving them. Here we have a case where the football and medical considerations align perfectly with what makes for good PR.

All of this makes it easy for Shanahan to hold Griffin back and send the message that any mistakes made in the future will come from being overly cautious and not from taking Griffin’s word that he is good to go.

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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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