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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 25, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule:

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 11
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 18
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 29

First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

Keeping Zeke average—It looks like Ezekiel Elliott will play on Sunday, barring yet another twist in the machinations of the legal process. In two games against the Redskins as a rookie last year Elliott averaged 90 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. Actually, the Redskins would be pretty happy to hold him to that average rather than see him explode for a big day.

Keeping Dak in the pocket—Among the common threads in the Redskins’ three losses in 2017 has been a mobile quarterback playing for the other side. Carson Wentz is second on his team with 196 yards rushing on the season and Alex Smith has 121. Dak Prescott has 152. It’s not just the rushing yards that give the Redskins consistent headaches, it’s the ability to elude pass pressure and get off an accurate pass. Prescott is as slippery as any quarterback out there and he has the ability to get rid of the ball just before going to the ground. The Redskins will need to wrap him up and get him down on the ground. That’s easier said than done as they found out against Wentz (twice) and Smith.

Sacks in bunches—The Cowboys are on pace to get 56 sacks this year. That may be a bit misleading because over half of their 21 sacks came in two games (6 vs. AZ, 5 vs. SF). Still, the total is what it is and the Redskins are going to have to do what they have to do to protect Kirk Cousins. That will be difficult to do with their offensive line as banged up as it is. Demarcus Lawrence has 9.5 sacks already and David Irving and Tyrone Crawford have three each.

Norman following Dez? Jay Gruden said that Josh Norman should return to practice this week so he is on track to start on Sunday after missing two games with a broken rib. Last year the big question was if Norman would shadow Dallas receiver Dez Bryant from side to side; that was something that former defensive coordinator Joe Barry was reluctant to do. Greg Manusky is willing to do what it takes but is it really necessary? Bryant is still an effective receiver but he isn’t the All-Pro that he was a few years ago. He’s on pace to gain about 875 yards. That’s not a receiver you fear. I think they’ll start out going straight up in coverage and only shift to having Norman follow Bryant if things go south.

Potpourri: In their three losses, the Cowboys have given up 42, 35, and 35 points. In their wins, the opposition scored 3, 17, and 10 . . . The combined record of the three teams the Cowboys have beaten is 4-17 . . . WR Cole Beasley is much less of a thorn in the side of opponents. After posting 833 yards receiving last year, he’s on pace for about 350 this year . . . The Cowboys have just two interceptions on the year. They have recovered five fumbles.

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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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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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