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Tale of the Tape: Pierre Garçon vs Anquan Boldin

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Tale of the Tape: Pierre Garçon vs Anquan Boldin

When news broke that the Redskins hosted free agent wideout Anquan Boldin for a visit, the next natural question popped up as to what space Washington has at the receiver position. Starting wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are slated to be back with the team this fall, and Jamison Crowder looks like a lock in the slot for years to come.

Why bring Boldin in if there isn’t a spot for him to play? Some Twitter frenzy suggested that Boldin could replace Garçon - and his $10 million 2016 cap hit.

One thing must be presented first before this discussion continues: Redskins GM Scot McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden both like Garcon. The veteran wideout is respected in the locker room.

But in the business that is pro football, Garcon’s production does not match that of a $10 million wide receiver. Last season in 16 games, Garcon brought in 72 passes for 777 yard - good for 10.8 YPC - and six touchdowns. As the chart below shows, if Washington moved on from Garçon, the team would save $8 million in cap money.

Playing in the final season of a five-year deal last fall in San Francisco, Boldin caught 69 passes for 789 yards - good for 11.4 YPC - and four TDs in 14 games. 

Prior to that, in 2014, Garcon caught 68 passes for 752 yards and three TDS. In 2014, Boldin caught 83 passes for 1,062 yards and five TDs. Garcon did outproduce Boldin in 2013 (113/1,346/5 to 85/1,179/7) but both wideouts put up strong numbers that year. 

Both players play a tough brand of football not often seen from the wideout position. Garçon will be 30 when the 2016 season starts, Boldin will be 36; a very big discrepancy for a Washington team that McCloughan says he wants to get younger. Both players are also about the same size; Boldin stands 6’1” and goes 218 lbs., Garcon weighs roughly the same but stands 6-foot. 

Considering just how quiet Washington has been throughout the free agency period, signing a guy like Boldin doesn’t make too much sense. Considering that Boldin might offer similar production to Garçon at a cost of way less than $10 million, maybe the situation looks different. Still, the scenario where McCloughan signs Boldin and releases Garçon seems far-fetched. It assumes that Boldin signs a short-term, team friendly deal, not to mention the team wanting to cut ties with Garçon - two factors that seem far from certain.

Another theory could be at work: CSN's Rich Tandler wrote about a possible extension for Garçon as a way to spread out his $10 million cap hit. Might a visit from a prominent free agent WR - with similar production at a reduced cost - encourage Garçon to consider that extension?

Regardless the intent, by hosting Boldin for a free agent visit, McCloughan and the Redskins have opened up many questions. Let us know what you think in the comments. 

 

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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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