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Morgan Moses: Benching Adrian Peterson is a 'slap in the face'

Morgan Moses: Benching Adrian Peterson is a 'slap in the face'

For the first time in his NFL career on Sunday, Adrian Peterson missed a game despite being healthy and on the 53-man roster. 

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden explained that he made the decision to bench Peterson against the Eagles based on special teams play. A 13-year veteran with his name all over the NFL record books, Peterson doesn’t play special teams, and Gruden wanted somebody that could. 

“That was a tough deal for him I’m sure, and for me as well, and for this football team. He’s a good football player still without a doubt,” Gruden said of the decision to bench Peterson. “But on game day, we’re punting to Darren Sproles about five or six times. We need as many guys in cover.”

To Peterson’s teammates, the decision didn’t make sense. 

“Any time you've got a Hall of Fame guy that doesn't dress, it's a slap in the face," Redskins tackle Morgan Moses said Monday morning on The Sports Junkies.

“You don't put a Hall of Fame guy like that on the sideline.”

For most of the NFL world, Gruden’s decision to bench Peterson came as a shock. It didn’t help that the Redskins run game against the Eagles was almost nonexistent. 

Running backs Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson combined for 13 carries and less than 30 yards in the ground. After a 1,000-yard season in 2018 for the Burgundy and Gold, Peterson might have helped get the ground game going in Philadelphia. 

“[Peterson] brings a lot to the game, I think he brings a lot to our team, but to have that guy to just stand on the sidelines it doesn’t sit well with guys on the team or the NFL,” Moses said. “I think that’s saying something that we need to correct them because he’s a hell of a football player.”

What happens next in this situation will be interesting to watch. Moses told The Junkies he intends to speak with the coaching staff about getting Peterson back on the field and that he “would be very surprised” if the running back remains inactive next week against Dallas. 

Asked pregame about Peterson being inactive on Sunday, one veteran Redskins player simply said: “I don’t get it.”

If Gruden wants a running back that can play special teams, and Guice and Thompson stay healthy, it’s entirely possible that Peterson continues to be inactive on game day. 

If that keeps happening, trouble could be on the horizon. Players didn’t like it in Week 1, and that seems unlikely to change. 

Peterson could ask for a trade to a team that needs a running back, and frankly, it would be a reasonable request. 

Going one step further - how much must holdout left tackle Trent Williams like the Redskins behavior towards Peterson? The two are friends and train together in the offseason. 

Gruden’s decision to bench Peterson might have been about special teams, but the ramifications of that decision will loom much larger. 

This is just the beginning. 

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After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

The Redskins signed Paul Richardson in 2018 to be the deep threat the team lost when DeSean Jackson left via free agency after the 2016 season. It didn't work. 

In two years with the Redskins, Richardson has 48 catches for 507 catches and four touchdowns, and both seasons finished with trips to the injured reserve. Washington, however, paid Richardson handsomely for his work.

He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Redskins that guaranteed $12.5 million at signing. To date, he's made nearly $20 million despite never being the team's leading receiver. 

Next year, Richardson will carry an $8.5 million salary cap number, but the team could get $2.5 million in cap relief if he's cut while taking a $6 million cap hit. The final two seasons of his contract have no guarantees and no cap number unless he plays.

If the Redskins wait until after June 1st, 2020, to cut Richardson then the numbers flip. The team would save $6.5 million against the cap and Richardson's contract would only count $2 million against the cap. In fact, the team doesn't need to wait until summer to make the move, but rather can use the Post-June 1 designation that the NFL allows organizations to use to better their cap. This should be the obvious move. 

Considering Washington has made a youth movement at receiver, with rookies Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims looking like the future, Richardson looks quite expendable. Especially considering the emergence of McLaurin as a potential elite wideout, both with deep speed and route running ability. 

Redskins team president Bruce Allen signed Richardson, but it's hard to know who will be making calls for the organization in 2020. There is much speculation that Allen could be on the way out, and the team already fired head coach Jay Gruden in October. Interim head coach Bill Callahan is not expected to remain in that position next season. 

If Richardson is cut, it's hard to look at the signing as anything but a disappointment. Big money for little production. That's not winning football. 

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Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

The Redskins are unlikely to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there is certainly a scenario where the teams that finish ahead of them would be in need of quarterbacks. If that’s the case, then Washington could be in line to select Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who’s widely considered to be the highest-graded player in the draft.

But in an interview with TMZ, Young said his “plan” is to return to Ohio State for his senior year. Young set a school record with 16.5 sacks and counting this season despite missing two games due to suspension.

The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, slated to face No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 for the right to play in the national championship. Ohio State hasn’t won the title since 2014, when Young was still in high school.

It’s unknown whether he’d enter the draft if OSU wins it all. For now, Young’s draft status will be something for the Redskins—who will enter the offseason with a plethora of roster needs—to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

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