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Should the Redskins draft a quarterback in 2016?

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Should the Redskins draft a quarterback in 2016?

In less than a year, the Redskins completed a stunning turnaround, ascending from a laughingstock in 2014 to a division champion in 2015. But now comes the difficult part: taking that all-important next step and improving from a franchise that was fortunate to get into the playoffs to one that can do some damage once it gets there. And that work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the 25 biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

No. 6

Should the Redskins draft a quarterback?

El-Bashir: Even though the Redskins just found their quarterback of the present—Kirk Cousins—it’s not too early to start thinking a few years down the road.

Remember when Mike Shanahan and Co. drafted Cousins 100 spots behind Robert Griffin III in 2012? The decision didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense at the time, but it sure paid off in 2015. Indeed, it’s a good idea to have talent in the pipeline, particularly at the game’s most important position.

As the Redskins’ roster stands right now, they’ve got a starter that needs a new contract (Cousins), a 29-year-old backup (Colt McCoy) who needs a new contract, too, and a former first round pick (Griffin) that’s widely expected to be released next month.

The safe bet is Cousins returning as the No. 1 on a long-term contract, McCoy coming back as the No. 2 on another one-year deal and Griffin, who was inactive for all but one game last season, signing elsewhere. In that scenario, the Redskins would be in an envious spot with a reliable and improving starter in Cousins, a competent and experienced backup in McCoy and a spot available for a mid-to-late-round pick who can be groomed to potentially replace McCoy in 2017.

That, to me, would be the ideal situation. But I’d also like to be clear about this: I don’t consider drafting a developmental quarterback to be a priority, not this year, anyway. If the best player on the Redskins’ draft board from the fourth round on is a quarterback and GM Scot McCloughan sees value/potential, then go ahead. Otherwise, it can wait. 

Tandler: I’m pretty much in agreement with Tarik right up to the final paragraph. Although I’m not 100 percent sure that McCoy won’t want to head elsewhere to try to get a shot at a starting quarterback job, either he or another player like him will fill the No. 2 job. And Griffin will be gone.

But I do place a greater urgency on finding a young quarterback to develop than does Mr. El-Bashir. I don’t think it would be a good idea to wait a year to start the development process. Let’s say Scot McCloughan bypasses a late-round signal caller who is on the board. That means that the Redskins go into 2016 with Kirk Cousins, McCoy, and, well, nobody. Sure, they would sign someone off of the street as an extra arm, either an older retread like McCoy or a younger player, perhaps an undrafted free agent.

But they will need to coach up the third arm, have him ready to participate in practice, ready to play in the preseason and, most important, ready to come into a game or come into a game.

If you’re going to go to all of that effort and invest all of that time, shouldn’t it be on someone you plan to keep around for a long while? Someone in whom you invested a draft pick?

The bottom line is this—you have to draft your developmental quarterback a year before you think that McCoy is going to leave. He needs at least a year of, well, development under his belt before you can confidently put him into a game. Getting him this year would be solid succession planning for next year and beyond.

To be sure, McCloughan doesn’t need to reach for a quarterback. But if the right guy is there in the right round he shouldn’t hesitate to grab him. 

25 Questions series

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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