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The Door is Still Open

The Door is Still Open

The Door is Still Open

Welcome to the eleventh hour.

The sound you distinctly didn’t hear on Wednesday was that of the door on a new CBA agreement being slammed shut. That’s because the door remains open, if only a crack.

The owners are in New York on meeting Thursday morning. Allegedly, there will be no talk of revenue sharing, although it’s difficult to imagine that the number one issue facing the league, possibly the key to a last-second deal to get a CBA extension done, would not be brought up by somebody. It would be an elephant in the room, no doubt about it.

Revenue sharing is the key to getting a deal done. Last week at the combines, some executives like Rich McKay, the Falcons’ GM, said that they could get around to doing a revenue sharing agreement after a labor deal was done. Apparently, Gene Upshaw didn’t like that concept. When he announced on Tuesday that the talks had broken off, he said:
We're too far apart on our economics and too far apart on revenue sharing -- the ball is in their court. (emphasis added)
There is no parsing of that statement necessary. What he was saying, loud and clear, is, no, there will not be a CBA deal until there is one on revenue sharing. Why not?

It’s simple. A higher salary cap is no good to the union if there are a lot of teams who don’t have the revenue to pay it. If you have a handful of teams willing to pay run a payroll at or near the cap and the majority of the teams near the lower limit you haven’t really put more money into the pockets of the players.

Upshaw will not be around for the meeting; he presumably will be in Washington. But you have to think that if his cell rings and the caller ID is from the 212 area code, he’s likely to take the call. If he likes what he hears he could be on a Gulfstream and be in Manhattan within a couple of hours. Smiles and handshakes could ensue and the dotting and crossing could commence.

There are those who point to the wave of players who were cut on Wednesday and some contract restructures that took place as evidence that there would be no agreement and that teams were breaking the glass and pulling the emergency lever to get under the cap. Those folks have short memories; there are massive cuts every year. These are moves that likely would have been made CBA or no CBA. And we know that, for example, the contract restructure that Washington’s Mark Brunell agreed to was not signed. The team will not pull the trigger on it unless the cap space is needed.

So, here’s the potential scenario for today: Upshaw, after receiving incredible pressure from players and agents who find the free agent environment in the next two years to be completely unacceptable, even with an uncapped ’07, lowers his demands to 58% if total football revenues, a number that the owners have been willing to accept all along. Paul Tagliabue, nearing retirement and not wanting to leave a legacy of labor unrest after so many years of peace, twists enough arms at Thursday’s owners meeting to get the high revenue owners to create a local revenue pool that won’t give the small market guys everything they want, but enough for them to sign off on the deal. The cap goes up to $108 million, free agency is delayed a week to give all the lawyers a chance to finalize the documents and for teams to rethink their plans.

While it all sounds logical, it is not likely to happen. Logic does not seem to the prevailing modus operandi here. It’s more likely we will see the end of the NFL world as we know it.

But deadlines like the one looming at midnight tonight have a way of scaring people smart, so the door is still open that tiny crack.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.