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Creating a 2018 offseason blueprint for the Redskins

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Creating a 2018 offseason blueprint for the Redskins

There is no shortage of advice heading the Redskins’ way as the start of the league year approaches. One list of five suggested offseason moves came from Bill Barnwell of ESPN. Here is a look at his proposals and my take on them.

Don’t try to tag and trade Kirk Cousins—If you’ve read what I’ve written here or if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I think that this would be a bad and futile move. Cousins would have to sign the tag in order for him to be traded for compensation. “Why would Cousins want Washington to narrow his options, and why would he want his new team to give up valuable draft picks as a thank-you to the franchise that is moving on from him?” wrote Barnwell. Exactly.

Re-sign Zach Brown and Spencer Long—Bringing back Brown certainly should be a top priority. He brought an element to the defense that has been missing for years. The question is, how much will he cost? Barnwell said that he won’t break the bank but that he should get more than the four-year, $24 million deal that A.J. Klein got from the Saints last year. In fact, Brown’s expectations are far north of that. Klein got $9.7 million in guarantees with $5.7 million fully guaranteed at signing. Colleague JP Finlay has reported that Brown’s camp wants closer to $20 million guaranteed.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Long may be able to take advantage of a weak market for the interior offensive line; Barnwell suggests that his ceiling may be a deal with an average annual value of $8 million. A lot will depend on his health after he missed nine games with a quad injury that required surgery and knee problems. I have heard that the Redskins are leaning towards moving on from Spencer, but it remains to be seen if the thin supply of possible replacements in free agency will change their minds.

The pending free agency of Bashaud Breeland also is discussed here. He likely will be out of the Redskins’ price range as he is looking at a potential contract with an AAV of $10 million. The loss of Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade may give the Redskins pause but that price tag is probably too high.

Pick up Brandon Scherff’s fifth-year option—This is an easy call, although the better move would be to get him an extension before the option decision is due in early May. The salary for that 2019 option year will be in the vicinity of $14 million, which is left tackle money. That number could be used as a floor for negotiations just like Kirk Cousins’ agent used the tag salary as a basis for his anticipated salaries.

Work on extending Preston Smith—His inconsistency in sack numbers causes some fans to severely underrate his importance to the defense but he is a vital part of the unit. Barnwell suggests that even though it may cost over $10 million per year to lock him up, they should do it in order to avoid the franchise tag game that they played with Cousins. Pass rushers are rare and Smith is a very good one. They should do everything they can to keep him in the fold.

RELATED: COUSINS AND SMITH BY THE NUMBERS

Barnwell does not mention Jamison Crowder, who also is eligible for an extension, but I think he needs to be a priority along with Smith and Scherff.

Be selective in free agency—This always is good advice for the Redskins but perhaps more important this year. If the Redskins spend too much they will negate the third-round compensatory pick the would get for Cousins and a potential lower pick for Breeland. One way to avoid that would be to target players cut by other teams. Among the free agents that Barnwell thinks would be good fits are WR’s Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson.

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.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler