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Need to Know: Examining Redskins with uncertain futures on the offensive line

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Need to Know: Examining Redskins with uncertain futures on the offensive line

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 26, 16 days before NFL free agency starts.

Up in the air—Offensive line

As free agency approaches, some players are locked in for 2018. We’re going to look at some others who have little certainty about where they will be playing when the coming season starts.

Ty Nsekhe

The swing tackle is slated to be a restricted free agent and his status has flown under the radar. If he doesn’t agree to an extension before free agency, the team will have to tender him at a level that would get them draft pick compensation if he leaves. That’s simple enough. The tough decision would be what level tender to extend to their backup tackle.

The low-level tender will come in at around $1.9 million. That would give the Redskins the right to match an offer sheet for Nsekhe. The money sounds about right for a backup tackle. But suppose a team sees Nsekhe as their starter at right tackle and offers him, say, two years at $5 million per with a good chunk guaranteed? Could the Redskins afford to match that for their backup?

Maybe they could try to get a draft pick if they choose not to match whatever Nsekhe might get offered. The lowest level to get draft-pick compensation is the second-round tender, which will cost about $2.9 million. That likely would make potential suitors steer clear but it’s pretty expensive for a reserve.

The best move for the Redskins would be to sign Nsekhe to an extension before they need to put a tag on him. A deal with some guaranteed money—the RFA tenders are not guaranteed—might get it done. But if Nsekhe, who turns 33 in October and may want to squeeze out some more money and a chance to start before he’s done, could look elsewhere.  

Spencer Long

This organization has been trending towards trying to keep its own draft picks in recent years. A big exception, of course, is the QB they drafted in 2012. Another exception appears to be Long, their third-round pick in 2014.

The word is that they will let Long, who started 13 games at left guard in 2015 and 18 games at center in 2016-2017, find a new home in free agency. There didn’t seem to be much dissatisfaction with his performance. Long wasn’t a candidate for the Pro Bowl or anything but his level of play was adequate.

It should be noted, however, that the only year that Long went into a season as the starter was last year. In 2015 he replaced the injured Shawn Lauvao and he again started the next year on the bench before center Kory Lichtensteiger was injured. He was the starting center throughout the 2017 offseason program and into the regular season until knee and quad injuries sent him to injured reserve.

The main concern might be how much it will cost to keep Long in Washington. They already are paying premium salaries to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. Brandon Scherff will soon be one of the top-paid guards in the league. The hot interior linemen on the free agency market will make in excess of $10 million per year. Long won’t be as coveted as Andrew Norwell and Josh Kline but his market may be strong enough to warrant something approaching $8 million per year. That’s enough to leave the Redskins in something of a cap bind along the O-line (especially if they have to pay Nsekhe more than they'd like to) and perhaps that is why they may look to the draft or a cheaper free agent to fill the left guard spot.

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) 3
—NFL Draft (4/26) 59
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 195

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>>

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>> 

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