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Will Redskins RB Pierre Thomas have a bigger role vs. Bills?

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Will Redskins RB Pierre Thomas have a bigger role vs. Bills?

When Pierre Thomas signed with the Redskins on Dec. 10, the veteran running back was afforded only one practice and a walkthrough before he made his debut in Chicago. Naturally, he didn’t play much. In fact, Thomas saw only four snaps and hauled in one pass for 12 yards against the Bears.

But Thomas’ role could grow Sunday against the Bills—if he's in the lineup. Coach Jay Gruden said the 46-man game day roster will feature, per usual, three running backs and a fullback, meaning the third running back spot will come down to Thomas or Chris Thompson, who was sidelined last week with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for the Buffalo game.

“Pierre is good [to go],” Gruden said. “He’s picked it up fast. He could play the whole game if he wants to. He’s good.”

If Thomas is active, he’ll be eager to show what he can do.

“I’m very comfortable now,” said Thomas, a dual-threat back who had a combined 1,600 yards from scrimmage as a member of the Saints in 2013 and 2014. “I picked up the offensive scheme very, very quickly. Hopefully I showed them...I’m good with the protections, the run scheme and the passing game, too. I’m ready to go out there and do my thing, and show everybody what I can do.”

Kirk Cousins noted that Thomas has already made an impact off the field in Ashburn.

“You’re always trying to gain knowledge from experienced players like Pierre, especially when they come in from other teams,” Cousins said. “He’s had a lot of success with the Saints playing in one of the best offenses in football for almost a decade.”

The quarterback added: “I feel like he’s got a lot to share and I just try to be a good question-asker, and pick his brain. …It’s great to have guys like him and the other vets that we’ve picked up as the year has gone on, who have that experience and know what it’s like to win, and win consistently.”

On Friday, Thomas was the last player to leave the practice field. He stayed out long after practice ended so that he could get some extra work with third string quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“I wanted to work on a couple of routes,” Thomas said. “Make sure I’ve got it down pat, with my steps and getting out of my breaks. I feel comfortable.”

Like Gruden, offensive coordinator Sean McVay also hinted that Thomas could see a bigger role Sunday.

“He’s done a really good job picking up the system,” McVay said. “Like we mentioned, there are some similarities in the way that we’ll use him to what he’s done over the course of his career in New Orleans. He is a guy that you can expect to see more of this week because of that.”

[RELATED: Five Redskins who will have to step up to beat the Bills]

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

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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