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Some experts predict poor finish for 2016 Redskins; what's the basement for wins?

Some experts predict poor finish for 2016 Redskins; what's the basement for wins?

The Redskins success last season surprised many around the NFL - and some in Washington - as a late-season surge resulted in an NFC East championship. Even with the division title, the Redskins 9-7 record is not all too impressive, especially considering the team struggled against top competition.

Based on that, ESPN's Todd McShay released a "Way-too-early 2017 NFL Mock Draft" last week that predicted the Redskins would hold the No. 7 pick in next year's draft. A Top 10 selection would generally mean the 'Skins win less than seven games, and to land at No. 7 likely suggests the Redskins go 5-11 next season. For context, the folks at set a win total of 7.5 for the 2016 Redskins, with no monetary advantage to bet over or under. 

McShay's mock draft prompted an interesting debate from ESPN 980's Kevin Sheehan and Chris Cooley on Monday that asked what should be the basement of expectations for the 2016 Redskins. Though neither predicted Washington to drop to 5-11 from last season's 9-7, Cooley said he could see the Redskins falling backwards to a six-win season. Sheehan voiced a more bullish opinion, suggesting Jay Gruden's squad should lose no more than eight games.

"This team is going to be better offensively than it was a year ago," Sheehan said.

While last year's team did provide some offensive fireworks late in the season, and the addition of Josh Norman should significantly improve the defense this fall, Washington is still a franchise with just three winning records in the last decade. Scot McCloughan has done much to overhaul the roster, but the 'Skins are still just one year removed from a disastrous 4-12 campaign.

In Vegas, gamblers like to look at the trends to come up with a bet. For the Redskins, the trends are paradoxical.

On one hand, the success of Kirk Cousins from last year, combined with a full offseason at the No. 1 QB spot with no position battle, should be a harbinger of more success. Add to that the 'Skins added talented playmakers in rookie WR Josh Doctson and veteran TE Vernon Davis, and maybe Cousins should outpace even 2016's record numbers. With that in mind, and even a marginally improved defense, it could be easy to project a seven or eight win floor for the Burgundy and Gold, with a much higher, fan-pleasing ceiling.

But, consider the team has done little to improve an anemic run game, or to bolster their run defense, and the optimism wanes. Add a first-place schedule, and remember the 2016 Skins never beat a team with a winning record, and a backslide almost seems inevitable. 

It's May so these types of hypothetical debates will rage for months until Gruden leads his team out on the field. Is the glass half full or half empty for the 2016 Redskins? Backslide or improve? 

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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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 and

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 and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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.


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