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Need to Know: Redskins 2018 season preparation gets underway today

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Need to Know: Redskins 2018 season preparation gets underway today

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 16, 10 days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Redskins start 2018 preparations

It won’t look much like football, but the Redskins will formally gather at Redskins Park for the first time today as they start voluntary offseason workouts. 

The CBA outlines what can and can’t be done during each part of the program. During Phase One, which starts today, most of the activity is conditioning. Only strength and conditioning coaches can supervise the players on the field or even observe the activities. Per the CBA “no footballs are allowed to be used” and the players can’t wear helmets, just so you don’t think that this phase is getting back to football in any meaningful way. The one exception is that quarterbacks can throw to receivers, but the receivers can’t be covered. 

The coaches can meet with the players for a limited period of time each day during each phase, so they can start to roll out the playbook to Alex Smith and company. 

The first phase lasts two weeks. Then they move on to Phase Two, which starts to look more like football. Coaches can be on the field, supervising drills and individual instruction. They break out the footballs and the offense and defense can line up, but not against each other. They also can’t do any individual drills like one-on-one pass protection or coverage. 

The helmets are left in the lockers for Phase Two. They are broken out in Phase Three, better known as OTAs. There are 10 sessions held between May 22 and June 7. Offense vs. defense drills are permitted, although no “live contact” is permitted. Some teams will push the limits of that loose definition of permissible contract; my observation has been that the Redskins play it safe with minimal contact. 

The first three phases of offseason workouts are voluntary. The CBA goes to great lengths to emphasize that players cannot be penalized in any way for choosing not to attend. Teams can use a carrot to encourage their players to participate via incentive bonuses for attendance at a specified percentage of the sessions. The Redskins have moved away from using those recently and this year none of their players has a workout attendance bonus clause. 

We know that a few Redskins will not be participating in OTAs or any other part of the offseason programs due to injuries. Trent Williams (knee), Morgan Moses (ankles), and Jordan Reed (toe) are out for the offseason program. It would be surprising to see Chris Thompson on the field; expect the team to be cautious with him even though the fractured fibula he suffered in Week 11 likely will be in good enough shape for him to work with the team. 

The one part of the offseason that is mandatory is minicamp. The Redskins will hold that from June 12-14, although it should be noted that Jay Gruden has canceled the final day of minicamp ever since he has been the head coach in Washington. On the field, the rules for minicamp are the same as they are for OTAs. 

After that, the team goes on break until training camp starts. The players will be expected to stay in shape over the six-week vacation. Many will continue to use the facilities at Redskins Park to remain in camp condition, but many others will do it from their home bases and/or vacation spots. 

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  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 36
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 101
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 146

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With franchise tag period open, will Redskins consider option with Preston Smith, Jamison Crowder or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?

With franchise tag period open, will Redskins consider option with Preston Smith, Jamison Crowder or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?

For too many years, the opening of the franchise tag period marked the true beginning of the NFL offseason in Washington. 

As the Redskins and Kirk Cousins awkwardly danced around a long-term contract for two straight years, the team deployed the franchise tag and paid their former quarterback a total of $44 million in 2016 and 2017. 

Those days are over, even if the quarterback situation remains unsettled. Things looked solid when Washington traded for Alex Smith last year, but a horrific leg injury leaves nothing but questions for the fall. 

It won't be used at quarterback, but still, the franchise tag looms. Tuesday marks the first day NFL teams can apply the tag, and the Redskins have some valuable players possibly headed for free agency. 

Preston Smith and Jamison Crowder headline the potential free agent losses for Washington. Both drafted in 2014, their rookie deals are set to expire, and the marketplace should be welcoming to both players. 

Smith had a down year statistically in 2018, registering only four sacks. In four years in the Burgundy and Gold, however, Smith has totaled 24.5 sacks along with four forced fumbles and four interceptions. He's never missed a game in four seasons either, and has the length, frame and athleticism few outside linebackers can boast. 

It will be interesting to see how many teams are in the market for Smith. This is a particularly deep class of edge rushers heading to free agency, and Rotoworld's Evan Silva ranked Smith the fifth best option with an expiring contract. The players ahead of him, however, could all get tagged by their teams, and that means Smith could become more desirable if he hits the market. 

Will Washington tag Smith? Probably not. 

Franchising Smith would mean paying him the average of the Top 5 paid players at his position in the NFL. That means more than $17 million for the 2019 season. 

The Redskins can't offer that, because Smith would sign it in a second. His market will likely pay him at least $8 million per season, and perhaps $10 million per year or more, but $17 million is way too much. Smith is good, but that's Von Miller money.

Well, what about Crowder?

Again, the money will be too much. A wide receiver, the franchise tag for Crowder would be averaged out using the salaries of players like Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.

When healthy, Crowder is a nice player. He has quick feet and can gain separation on the inside of offensive schemes. That won't land him $16 million per season though like a tag would require. It's just not going to happen. 

Two other Redskins starters are slated for free agency: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Adrian Peterson. 

The franchise tag for safeties carries a price tag of $12 million for 2019. Washington will not consider that for Clinton-Dix. 

The franchise tag for running backs carries a price tag of $12 million for 2019. Washington will not consider that for Peterson. 

Redskins fans, remember how much you hated the franchise tag? Well this year you won't need to worry about it.  

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Joe Gibbs celebrated his Daytona 500 win at Steak 'n Shake and it was awesome

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Joe Gibbs celebrated his Daytona 500 win at Steak 'n Shake and it was awesome

Joe Gibbs and his team celebrated their Sunday Daytona 500 win in the coolest (and most delicious) way possible: bringing their silver-plated, 54-pound trophy into a Steak 'n Shake.

No, we're not kidding.

As if three Super Bowls with the 'Skins wasn't enough, it looks like this man just can't stop winning.

The fast food tradition started back in 1993, after Joe Gibbs Racing won that edition of the Daytona 500. But this victory was extra special. 

JGR's victory and 1-2-3 sweep at the podium honored Gibbs' son, J.D., who died just last month of a degenerative neurological disease. It was Joe's first win since the passing of his son. 

J.D. had been involved with Joe Gibbs Racing since its start in 1991, participating as both a crew member and driver. Team members held up a banner throughout lap 11, commemorating his jersey number when he played for the William & Mary football team. 

And before heading off to Steak 'n Shake to party, Gibbs gave an emotional post-race interview that is absolutely worth your time: 

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