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Explaining the best move the Redskins can make before free agency opens

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Explaining the best move the Redskins can make before free agency opens

The Redskins hold the opportunity to help their team and potentially help their salary cap, but the clock is ticking.

While the focus will remain on what happens next at quarterback, the Redskins need to do everything possible to solidify their right guard situation before free agency opens on March 13th. 

Currently, Brandon Scherff is slated to play on a one-year, $12.5 million guaranteed contract. It’s the standard fifth-year option that comes with all first-round pick contracts, which the Redskins exercised last June.

All of that money counts towards the Redskins 2019 salary cap total too, and the team is hard-pressed for available space. Of the projected $190 million salary cap, the Redskins already have more than $170 million on the books. 

Keeping Scherff on the option is good for now, but the Redskins need to work out a long-term deal as soon as they can with the Pro Bowl right guard. 

There’s the obvious: He's a very good player and he’s homegrown, a 2015 first-round pick. Washington needs Scherff to get the best of their offensive line, particularly in the run game. 

Then there’s the less obvious: Getting a multi-year deal done with Scherff could actually help the Redskins navigate the salary cap this year. 

Last June, the Cowboys worked out a contract extension with their Pro Bowl guard Zach Martin rather than let him play out his rookie option. Dallas and Martin agreed to a six-year, $84 million deal with $40 million in guarantees. Of that guaranteed money, $20 million was in signing bonus money, and his largest cap hit won't come until 2022.

Scherff will land a mega-deal similar to Martin's, but the deal can look different. Washington could move more cash to a signing bonus, which would be spread out throughout the contract term.

Why does that matter?

The Redskins find themselves in a tough situation with the cap due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding QB Alex Smith. For 2019, the quarterback will count $20 million against the books even though it seems highly unlikely Smith will play after breaking his leg last fall. Even if the Redskins can lower Scherff's 2019 cap total by a few million dollars, that could be a big boost in getting additional help at wide receiver or safety. 

If Bruce Allen can get a new contract worked out with Scherff that delivers plenty of guaranteed cash via signing bonus, the team can keep a star offensive linemen and possibly create some cap room for 2019 that the team desperately needs. 

Right now, there are 10 NFL teams with more than $50 million in salary cap space. The Colts and the Jets have more than $100 million in cap space. 

Right now, the Redskins have $17 million in cap space. 

That’s a significant disadvantage. Significant. 

That’s a big hole to try and dig out from, and it’s probably not something that can be completely fixed. There are players the team can release for cap relief - Zach Brown and Stacy McGee come to mind. Other players could possibly restructure, but that’s never a sure thing either. 

What few Redskins fans would want to consider is what happens if the team doesn't get a deal done with Scherff. Should negotiations drag on throughout the summer, at some point, it becomes possible Scherff will opt to not look for an extension, play on the one-year deal and instead hit free agency in 2020. 

At that point, it could get ugly. 

In 2020, the Redskins still have more than $20 million of their salary cap locked in on Alex Smith. Should Scherff get offers from other teams, they could front-load a deal in a manner that would be very hard for the Redskins to match. 

Yes, the franchise tag is an option, but it will carry a significant price tag. In 2019, tagging an offensive linemen costs more than $15 million. By 2020, that figure will only be higher. And after the Kirk Cousins saga, Redskins fan surely have franchise tag fatigue. 

Getting a deal done with Scherff is one of the few options Washington has that benefit both the team and the player. 

Scherff gets more guaranteed money and gets it without having to play on a one-year deal, particularly coming off surgery last season. The 'Skins get a potential All Pro guard locked up long-term, and maybe give themselves a bit more cap space for 2019. 

That’s why they should get it done. ASAP.


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Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

There is a one-in-eight chance the Redskins will play against the Arizona Cardinals next season in Mexico City.

The Cardinals are hosting the Super Bowl in 2023, so as a tradeoff, one of their games next season will be played south of the border at Estadio Azteca, the NFL announced Friday.

Arizona has home games against the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2020, so one of those eight squads will head to Mexico City rather than the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. AZ.

"We are thrilled to learn that this game will take place at Estadio Azteca where we received such an enthusiastic reception in 2005," Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill said in a release. "We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from fans in Mexico and look forward to an incredible experience."

The Redskins have only played in one game outside the United States as part of the International Series. In Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season, the Redskins and the Bengals finished in a 27-27 tie at Wembley Stadium in London.

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Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

What should the Redskins do with the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? 

Some believe Washington has an easy choice and should take Chase Young. Some think they should consider taking Tua Tagovailoa despite drafting Dwayne Haskins a year ago. ESPN's Mel Kiper is a proponent of both.

"You can have all the Chase Young's you want," Kiper said Thursday. "This is a quarterback league all the way.

"If the medical staff clears [Tagovailoa], and the medical staff is going to be key to this," he continued. "If they sign off, you take Tua at No. 2. You don't trade the pick, you don't take Chase Young. And if Haskins turns out to better, than great then we can trade Tua."

This goes against what Kiper said just a month ago. In a mock draft from January 24, Kiper wrote, "If you scanned Washington's depth chart, you probably wouldn't pick out an edge rusher as its top need. It might not even be in the top three. And yet, the Redskins absolutely can't pass on Young -- unless they get bowled over with an offer from a team trading up."

Anyway, The Sports Junkies took time to react to Kiper's comments on their Friday show. Eric Bickel, J.P. Flaim and Jason Bishop had particularly interesting takes on whether the Redskins should consider drafting a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back years.

That's preposterous," Bickel said. "That's the part where it falls apart."

"You can't draft quarterbacks back to back in the first round and have them battle it out," Bishop said. 

"It would be just like what happened in Arizona," Bickel said in response. "They'd have to unload Haskins and get what they could."

The Cardinals did exactly what Kiper is proposing for the Redskins last season when they took Kyler Murray with the first pick despite drafting Josh Rosen in the top-10 the year prior. Arizona, similar to the Redskins this year, hired a new head coach after taking Rosen. 

The Cardinals then traded Rosen to the Dolphins on Day 2 of the draft last year in exchange for a second-round pick (Andy Isabella) and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Murray went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rosen only made three starts for the Dolphins in 2019. 

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if the Redskins believe Tagovailoa gives them a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl than Dwayne Haskins, then they shouldn't worry about taking a quarterback in back-to-back drafts. It's certainly worked out for the Cardinals so far. But there are no certainties in the draft, as Flaim points out. 

"I think [Kiper's] just saying that," Flaim said. "The reality is if you really believe Tua is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Like, if you're evaluation is Tua's going to be a Russell Wilson, he's going to be an Aaron Rodgers, he's going to be an elite quarterback in the league, and Haskins is just going to be a guy, he could be a starter, then you take Tua. But it's so inexact you have no idea."

Washington's interest in Tagovailoa is unknown at this point, though they will be meeting with him and Joe Burrow prior to the draft. Head coach Ron Rivera did say however, the Redskins are, 'just doing our due diligence,' in meeting with the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft. 

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