On the same day the NFL distributed a memo informing teamsthat replacement referees will work games in Week 1, a source with knowledge ofthe locked-out officials thinking said the union remains strong.The sides have not had a formal bargaining session sincelate July, according to the source, and none are currently scheduled.Wednesdays memo is another one of their tactics to try andbreak the union, the source said. When a deal was not reached last week, thesource added, the NFL Referees Associations 120 members realized the league hadno intention of using them in the opening week of the regular season, which kicksoff next Wednesday when the Cowboys visit the Giants.Replacement referees, many of whom are from second-tiercollege conferences, have officiated the preseason occasionally withembarrassing results.One of the latest slipups came Wednesday night at FedExField. After a lengthy review to determine the correct spot of the ball, thereferee returned to the review monitor for a second time, saying over the P.A.system, Were going to look at it one more time to groans and boos from the spectators.In the Redskins preseason opener in Buffalo, there also werea number of miscues, including a botched touchback ruling on a punt.Theyve been put in an unfair position, the source said.They are not professional officials and it shows. It takes three or four yearsto get comfortable officiating the game at this level. The replacements havehad one preseason as on the job training.The NFLRAs members were locked out in early June when thesides reached a stalemate on salary, pension and other issues. Another stickingpoint was the NFLs desire to add three seven-member officiating crews to therotation.They want to add officials but not add any money to thepot," added the source, who also pointed out that officials are now being asked to do more, such as identifying potentially concussed players.Despite being locked out, the referees have continued towork out, review film and conduct a weekly conference call, led by veteranreferee Ed Hochuli, to discuss rules and other matters, the source said.But with six days remaining before the season opener in NewYork, theres no end to the lockout in sight.There could be a happy medium if the NFL comes to thetable, the source said. The league wants to divide the union and its notgoing to be divided.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.
Free agency notes and nuggets
Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense
The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow
Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy
The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.
Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick
This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.
Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick
They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.
MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was
Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.
Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings
Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.
Tandler on Twitter
If you have to restructure Kerrigan to get an extension done for Preston Smith you do it. But 1st year cap hits on extensions off of rookie deal generally low. https://t.co/WIvIp5PoBw— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) March 18, 2018
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174
In case you missed it
- Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents
- The 2018 salaries of 5 Redskins become fully guaranteed today
- LB McPhee reportedly visiting with 'Skins
NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets.
While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:
Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks.