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As June 1 cuts loom on the NFL calendar, where are Redskins with Josh Norman?

As June 1 cuts loom on the NFL calendar, where are Redskins with Josh Norman?

As the NFL lexicon slowly morphs into everyday language, more and more Redskins fans want to know if the team will do anything before June 1. 

Why?

The NFL allows for some salary cap relief if a team releases a player from his contract after June 1. In fact, the league allows teams to designate two players as "post June 1" cuts even before free agency opens. That designation lets a team split the dead money remaining on a released player's contract over two years rather than taking the immediate dead money hit on that year's salary cap, freeing up money in March for free agency. 

Hope that makes sense. For more, click here.

On a local level, despite some ballooning contracts for veterans, the Redskins did not release any players with a post-June 1 designation prior to free agency. And now, as the calendar turns to June, there appear to be no cuts on the horizon. 

There has been some speculation that veteran cornerback Josh Norman could be a June cap casualty. Checking in with one team official, the word was there had not been discussions about releasing Norman. 

The 31-year-old corner is slated to count $14.5 million against the cap this season, and none of it is guaranteed. If the Redskins released Norman in June, they would save $11.5 million against the cap and eat $3 million in dead money this season and next. Had they released him before June, or without the June 1 designation, those numbers would have been less advantageous for the club, including the full $6 million dead cap hit this year. 

But, for all the fans that question if Norman has lived up to his Redskins contract, ask this question instead: 

What do the Redskins look like at cornerback without Norman?

He might not be the best corner in the NFL, but Norman has been good in Washington. He accounted for seven turnovers last season and has missed just two games in three years with the 'Skins. 

After Norman, the Redskins have Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Adonis Alexander, Greg Stroman, Danny Johnson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jimmy Moreland. All have promise, some much more than others, but also have questions. 

  • Dunbar - Looked great early in 2018 before a mysterious nerve injury ended his season. Has not been seen running full speed since though Redskins officials say he's in good shape for Richmond. 
  • Moreau - Played well at times in 2018, but doesn't look like a natural slot CB. Could 2019 be a breakthrough year?
  • Alexander - Showed little in 2018, but has every measurable for a star CB. Lottery ticket. 
  • Stroman - Good games and bad last season as a rookie, smart player. 
  • Johnson - Started strong, ended poor. Hardly a roster lock. 
  • DRC - Last seen retiring from football in Oakland. If he's all the way in, versatile veteran presence the 'Skins could use. If he's not, probably doesn't last through Richmond. 
  • Moreland - 7th-round pick out of JMU. Has shown nose for football in OTAs. Also a 7th-round rookie out of JMU. Small, needs to show the same ability in full contact as he does in non-contact drills in May. Real chance for roster spot and maybe more if his level of play doesn't drop with pads on. 

After reading that, it's easy to understand why team officials in Ashburn aren't talking about cutting Norman. Put simply, if the Redskins were going to cut Norman, they would have months ago and already reaped the post-June 1 cap advantage. They didn't. 

That doesn't mean the situation won't change. Things change in the NFL. 

After losing Reuben Foster to injury, the 'Skins might look for help at inside linebacker. Should a quality veteran come available, maybe Bruce Allen does look to create salary cap space. 

If that happens, a veteran like Norman or tight end Vernon Davis could be in a different situation.  Davis is set to count $6.3 million against the Redskins salary cap in 2019, and if the team cuts him in June, they would free up nearly $5 million in cap space. 

Inside linebacker isn't the only spot Washington could look for a new player or an upgrade. If a veteran pass rusher or free safety popped up, that could be intriguing. There are also the unforeseen situations that pop up from time to time.

Nobody saw the Redskins landing DeSean Jackson in 2014, but they did. And nobody saw the Redskins landing Josh Norman in 2016, but they did. 

That brings things full circle to Norman, and to the June 1 cuts. 

If Washington wanted to cut Norman and get the salary cap advantage of a post June 1 designation, the organization could have done that already. 

They didn't.

Sources say it's not happening now either. 

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10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

When Reuben Foster collapsed to the Ashburn turf in May, time stopped for a second. Signing Foster brought such outrage towards the Washington team, and after being cleared by the NFL for the 2019 season, it seemed like the worst was behind Foster and the Redskins.

Then, in a blur, he was lost for the season with an ACL tear. 

The 2019 rebuilt Redskins defense lost a key cog before he ever even played a game, and suddenly a mediocre linebacking group from 2018 was largely back in the fold. Foster represented a potential game-breaking talent, a former first-round pick with elite pedigree in college. Add in the fact that the Redskins released Zach Brown before free agency, and the group looked humble. 

So going into training camp, one of the most intriguing position groups on the team now looks similar to 2018.

Mason Foster will start at one inside linebacker spot. Write that in Sharpie. And despite some public dustups with fans via social media, Foster is a team leader and a sure tackler. He's lost weight to help in coverage this year, and twice in the last three years has totaled more than 120 tackles. Of all the worries on the Redskins roster, Mason Foster isn't one of them.

After Reuben Foster went down, the team signed former second-round pick Jon Bostic. He's bounced around in his NFL career, as the Redskins will mark his fifth team in six years, but since he's landed in a 3-4 scheme, he's found his game. In the past two seasons with the Steelers and the Colts, Bostic proved highly capable as a run defender. On pass downs, he probably needs to come off the field. 

That's where things get interesting. 

Reuben Foster was the one player that coaches expected to be able to stay on the field for all three downs. Mason Foster might be able to, and it's too early to really determine what best suits Shaun Dion Hamilton.

In just his second year out of Alabama, and a year removed from a major knee injury, Hamilton could emerge as the starter next to Foster. He could emerge as a capable cover linebacker. But he didn't quite show enough last season to be confident in that assessment. 

Josh Harvey-Clemons will be the nickel linebacker, and watching him in minicamp, he finally looks like an NFL linebacker. Harvey-Clemons played safety in college at Louisville, and his first two seasons in Washington seemed like he didn't have the bulk to play in the front seven. If he's really added muscle, it will show up in Richmond. 

Then there's rookie Cole Holcomb. A speed 'backer that should make the team, Holcomb needs to learn to play instinctually. It won't be easy, but if it comes quick, his speed could make plays. 

Add it all up and the Redskins linebacker looks solid, but not spectacular. Reuben Foster was supposed to be that special piece, but he definitely won't play this season. 

If the defensive front plays as well as many think they're capable of, that could change things for the linebackers. And of course, players get better every year. Maybe Hamilton or Harvey-Clemons is on the verge of a breakout. 

That's why they practice and train all offseason, and that's what the fans will be watching for in Richmond. 

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

Perhaps no position group on the Redskins has more questions or uncertainty than the wide receivers.

Josh Doctson enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has yet to record over 550 yards in any of his three professional seasons. Washington signed Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in 2018, but he just played in just seven games for the Burgundy and Gold in 2018 before having season-ending shoulder surgery. Second-year receiver Trey Quinn is expected to fill the role in the slot after Jamison Crowder departed for the New York Jets this offseason but has yet to prove anything on the NFL level. 

The Redskins addressed the position during the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Terry McLaurin in the third round and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. But it's unclear how much either one will contribute to the Washington offense in 2019.

So, it's likely the Redskins will need to address the position during the 2020 NFL Draft, and probably very early on it. Well, this works in Washington's favor, because the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded. 

On a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, J.P. Finlay and Pete Hailey spoke with NFL Draft expert Jordan Reid (no, not the Redskins' tight end) about the top wide receiver prospects heading into next year's draft, and which players the Redskins could potentially target.

Before diving into the top 2020 prospects, Reid gave an initial assessment of the current Redskins' receivers.

"The Redskins just don't have that headliner, top go-to guy," Reid said. "They were expecting Josh Doctson to be that when they did draft him in the first round of 2016. But he's had some injuries, and he's already come out and said he's looking forward to free agency. That just not something you want to hear."

Reid was high on McLaurin, though, the first receiver the Redskins selected in 2019.

"They drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, I liked him a lot even going back to the Senior Bowl," he said. "I think he's going to have a really good year, not just as a receiver but the special teams phase as well. He's going to flash in a lot of ways."

As far as the 2020 draft wide receiver class, one school stands on top, and it's a school the Redskins are very familiar with: Alabama. The Redskins used their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on 'Bama guys and signed another Crimson Tide alumni this offseason in safety Landon Collins.

"We know the Redskins love Alabama guys, and there's a lot of [wide receivers] coming out this year," Reid said. "It's not just Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs is another guy that's getting a lot of steam. They're going to have the chance to get the receiver they want. This is a very special wide receiver class."

Crimson Tide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the consensus top receiver in next year's class, but Reid believes his speedy teammate could challenge him for that spot by season's end.

"With Ruggs, I think he's a bit more as far as polished a route runner [than Jeudy]," he said. "I think his hands are a bit better, and I wouldn't be shocked if he runs below a 4.3 at the combine. He can absolutely fly."

If the pair of Alabama receivers currently hold the top two spots for best wide receiver prospect, there's another guy who's right on their heels: Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb.

"He reminds me a lot of DeAndre Hopkins coming out," Reid said on Lamb. "He's not a thick guy, but he plays much stronger than what he indicates. Very reliable hands, and his body control is out of this world. He had a one-handed catch against UCLA, it didn't count, but it's truly amazing."

As a true sophomore, Lamb totaled 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. Sure, it may have helped to have Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray under center, but Lamb has proven he's an elite talent.

Two other prospects Reid is keeping an eye on are Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas' Collin Johnson.

"He's not as polished as some of these other guys, but he's more of a do-it-all type of receiver," Reid said on Shenault Jr. 

Where Shenault may be a do-it-all receiver, Johnson plays to his 6'6 size.

"He's a really good route runner," Reid said on Johnson. "It's just a matter of how consistently can he separate, and how fast he is. If he goes to the Senior Bowl, I think he can light it up."

While many of these guys seem like sure-fire guys, there's still a full season of football to be played before the draft. Players will rise, but just as many, if not more, will fall off.

"You just have to let this play out, that's what happens with the draft process," Reid said. "Guys fall off, and then you have guys that come out of nowhere. Quinton Williams from last year is a prime example. He was a 270-pound defensive end at this time last year; we had no idea who he was and he ends up being the No. 3 overall selection."

But if everything plays out close to how it's expected to, this wide receiver draft class will be one to remember. 

"This class is special man," Reid said. "I think it's going to rival 2014, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and all those guys, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams too. It's going to be very similar to that. It's very special."

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