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The Redskins should have no interest in trading for Kyle Rudolph - and here's why

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USA Today Sports

The Redskins should have no interest in trading for Kyle Rudolph - and here's why

The Redskins are on the hook to spend nearly $18 million at the tight end position. That's the highest spending in the NFL at the position group, and the money allocated to tight end will account for nearly 10 percent of the Redskins' salary cap. 

Jordan Reed is slated for almost $10 million and Vernon Davis will make more than $6 million. That's two very high priced players at the tight end position. Of the top 20 salaries for tight ends, two of them are on the Redskins. 

So as news that Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph might like a trade, and Redskins fans wonder if he could land in Washington, just follow the money. 

Rudolph is owed $7.5 million after June 1, and the Redskins only have about $10 million left in cap space. The team will need some money during the season to sign players as injuries inevitably pop up, and Washington still has to agree to terms with first-round pick Montez Sweat and third-rounder Terry McLaurin. 

Put simply: The Redskins cannot afford Rudolph. 

Not to mention, why would Washington move an asset to acquire Rudolph when the Vikings will probably have to release him next month? That's the reality of the situation.

Looking at Minnesota's 2019 salary cap, held hostage by a $29 million salary for QB Kirk Cousins, the Vikings seem highly unlikely to keep Rudolph at $7.5 million. None of that money is guaranteed, and the team can release him after June 1 with no cap penalty. Why send the Vikes a draft pick now? Wait a few weeks and Rudolph will likely be available. 

Rudolph has been very clear that he is unwilling to take a pay cut, rightfully, and that will probably lead to his release. The player won't mind as it means another crack at free agency.

Could Washington make a run at Rudolph as a free agent? Maybe, but the 'Skins would have to shed salary to do it. Perhaps the 29-year-old Rudolph makes more sense than 35-year-old Vernon Davis, but that would also come down to money. Washington could release Davis post June 1 too. 

Rudolph is a very good player, a more capable blocker than Reed or Davis, but that's not saying an awful lot. Rudolph's not a mauler. Pro Football Focus graded him as more than -10 as a run blocker averaged out over the last two seasons. And while he has been very durable and productive on the field, Rudolph hasn't missed a game since 2014, does Washington really need to add a tight end that will turn 30 this fall?

Could Rudolph help the Redskins? Certainly. Over the last three seasons, he's had at least 57 catches and totaled 19 touchdowns. 

Does Washington need to trade for Rudolph? Probably not.

And given their current spending at tight end, can Washington afford Rudolph's current contract? Definitely not. 

Minnesota is barely squeezing in under the 2019 salary cap, with just about $1 million left in space. The Vikings will need more than that to get through the season. 

If Washington really wants Rudolph, they can probably sign him next month without giving up a draft pick. Remember, the team already lost its second-round pick in 2020 to acquire Sweat, and after signing Landon Collins as a free agent, the NFL's compensatory formula won't heavily tilt in the Skins favor next offseason. 

There is an argument that trading for Rudolph could be cheaper than going after him in free agency, where other teams would surely be interested. Keep in mind too, however, that Bruce Allen likes to shop in the latter stages of free agency, and generally is able to make the money work. He did with Josh Norman and DeSean Jackson. 

Patience is a virtue. It worked in the draft when the Redskins waited until the 15th pick and still got QB Dwayne Haskins. It could work again with Rudolph, if the 'Skins even want the tight end. 

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.

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One analyst sees Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice having to split carries as a 'potential problem'

One analyst sees Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice having to split carries as a 'potential problem'

In theory, Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice working out of the same backfield should be an enormous boost for the Redskins this season.

In theory, Peterson's presence should allow Guice to slowly ease his way into the NFL during Washington's early contests, and in theory, Guice's availability should help Peterson stay fresher for 16 games since he won't have to be the one handling every carry.

But NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio doesn't exactly see the Redkins' running back situation playing out so peacefully. The NFL isn't a third-grade classroom; sharing isn't always caring.

"This is going to be a potential problem for the team because Adrian Peterson is not accustomed to giving up touches," Florio recently told NBC Sports Washington.

"When he was in New Orleans for not very long in 2017, he realized he wasn't getting the ball the way that he did in Minnesota," he continued. "He wanted the ball, he ended up being traded to Arizona where they had an injury need that made him the guy. Last year an injury need in Washington made him the guy."

Of the team's 339 rushing attempts by non-quarterbacks in 2018, Peterson was responsible for 251 of them. That means he was shouldered with 74-percent of the overall workload. 

During mandatory minicamp in early June, position coach Randy Jordan laid out his preferred ratio for Peterson and Guice now that they're together. What he wants sounds a lot more even than how last season's breakdown ended up looking.

“They are both different, but they are both explosive,” he said. “The thing is ideally you would like to see a 50/50, 60/40 [split]." 

Florio, however, is wary of how that could upset the future Hall of Famer.

"He wants to be the guy," Florio said. "Derrius Guice is going to — if he plays like he did before we saw that ACL tear last year — he's going to potentially eat into those touches and Adrian Peterson will not be happy about it and he will not be bashful about saying so."

While at the Ashburn podium following an offseason practice, Jay Gruden admitted that Peterson seems like a player who improves as his usage increases, but he ultimately explained he doesn't believe fewer carries will hurt Peterson. And you'd love to believe him.

Many offenses have thrived using multiple options on the ground, and it's an approach you're seeing more and more in pro football. Peterson and Guice can attack defenses in different ways, they have different strengths and they could each ease the burden on one another along with Chris Thompson, who you can't forget about.

Yet these are also two threats who are used to being the primary piece of their units. They're used to 20-plus touches and finding their rhythm at their own pace. So while Gruden, his staff and Redskins fans are focusing on the positive possibilities of a Peterson-Guice duo, Florio is less bullish.

"The more touches Guice gets, the more frustrated Peterson will be, because he knows he's only got so many years left to play football," Florio said. "He wants to get as many carries, as many yards as possible as he climbs higher and higher up the all-time rushing list. That's going to be a challenge for the team in 2019."

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