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The Redskins will face tough contract decisions on these five upcoming free agents

The Redskins will face tough contract decisions on these five upcoming free agents

The Redskins will face some tough decisions during the next 10 months as two key contributors enter the final year of their rookie contracts. Other players will be in the last year of their deal as well, but nobody that will command the attention, and potentially the free agent dollars, of Preston Smith and Jamison Crowder. 

Both drafted in 2015, Smith and Crowder will be looking for the lucrative, and for many players elusive, second contract. Smith will drive a much higher price than Crowder, as pass rushers command more cash than slot receivers. 

So, the Redskins will have decisions to make. Let's break those decisions down and look at other members of the team, too.

Preston Smith

In three seasons with the Redskins, Smith has 20.5 sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles. Though he hasn't posted a double digit sack season yet, Smith also hasn't missed a single game in three years. That durability, and flashes of explosive atheltic ability, will land Smith an average salary in the eight figures range. Here's Rich Tandler's salary estimate.

Jamison Crowder

In three seasons with the Redskins, Crowder has more than 2,200 receiving yards and 12 TDs. While he led Washington with nearly 800 receiving yards last season, it was actually a slight step backward from a stellar 2016 campaign where Crowder had about 850 yards and seven TDs.

Crowder has value for Washington; he knows the system well and head coach Jay Gruden trusts him. Crowder also has strong footwork and route-running skills, a must to play in the slot. How much does a slot WR cost, though? Well, prior to this offseason the answer wasn't all that much, but then Cleveland signed Jarvis Landry to a $75 million contract. Crowder won't command that, but he's going to get paid. Just not like Smith, his draft classmate. 

Anthony Lanier

Lanier will be a restricted free agent in 2019 and Washington would be crazy not to tender him. He notched five sacks in 2017 and should continue to emerge as an interior pass rush threat. The Redskins will have a decision to make with Lanier, but the contract structure likely means it will come in 2020.

Colt McCoy

The backup quarterback that everyone on the team likes, it would not be a surprise if McCoy heads elsewhere in 2019.

Certainly, McCoy wants an opportunity to play and if that doesn't emerge, he might prefer to find a new situation with more competition. After the 'Skins traded for Alex Smith and signed the QB to a contract extension, there won't be competition in D.C. anytime soon. Yet Jay Gruden truly appreciates having McCoy on his team, and that could maybe be enough to keep the former Texas star around in 2019 and beyond. 

Ty Nsekhe

This is an interesting one. Nsekhe proved quite capable as a swing tackle, backing up Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. But now he's coming off surgery and there is some talk about converting the 6-foot-8 32-year-old inside to left guard. If that happens and it goes well, Washington might try to keep Nsekhe in 2019 and beyond. If not, the team likely drafted his replacement with third-round pick Geron Christian.

The bottom line

The Redskins have proven during the last five years that when the team wants to keep a player, it generally happens before free agency. Consider contract extensions for Morgan Moses, Chris Thompson and Quinton Dunbar as the latest examples, but Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan fit the same mold. Even the trade that acquired Alex Smith came with a contract extension for the QB.

Knowing that tendency, it will be interesting if any talks between the Redskins and either Crowder or Smith emerge this summer and into the fall. For Smith, pursuing free agency will carry a huge payday, particularly if he can break through into the double digit sack club this year. Crowder, meanwhile, would be open to talking with the team about an extension, a source told NBC Sports Washington back in December. 

Other players face expiring contracts — guys like Ziggy Hood, Martrell Spaight and Rob Kelley, who'll be a restricted free agent. It's tough to know their market now, at least until seeing more from the Redskins in camp. 

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Former Redskins QB Josh Johnson destroys Defenders in Week 3

Former Redskins QB Josh Johnson destroys Defenders in Week 3

Former Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson carved up the visiting DC Defenders for 278 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night in the Los Angeles Wildcats' commanding 39-9 victory.

The Wildcats obliterated Cardale Jones (13-of-26, 4 INT) and the Defenders, who fall to 2-1 on the season.

Johnson completed passes to eight different receivers, including William and Mary standout Tre McBride, who was traded from the Defenders to the Wildcats in the preseason.

McBride finished the night with five catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson played for the Redskins during the 2018 NFL season, suiting up for the final four games after the team lost both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to season-ending injuries. Johnson led the Redskins to a 16-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars during Week 15, throwing for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson was selected by the Wildcats in the XFL Supplemental Draft in Nov. 2019. 

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Former Redskins RB Matt Jones powers St. Louis BattleHawks past the New York Guardians

Former Redskins RB Matt Jones powers St. Louis BattleHawks past the New York Guardians

Former Redskins running back Matt Jones was a force on the ground Sunday afternoon for the BattleHawks in the team's 29-9 win against the Guardians.

Jones paved the way for the St. Louis win, rushing for 95 yards and a score on 15 carries.

Jones was drafted by the Redskins in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida.

He impressed the coaching staff during his first year in D.C. (794 all-purpose yards, 4 total TDs) but struggled to hold on to the ball, fumbling five times. 

Jones was named the starting running back in 2016 after the Redskins decided to let Alfred Morris leave in free agency.

In his second season, Jones missed nine games with a rash of injuries and eventually lost his starting spot to Rob Kelley. 

He was waived shortly before the start of the 2017 NFL season by the Redskins, and he has been on the move ever since.

Jones and the BattleHawks head to Audi Field for a matchup with the DC Defenders on Sunday, March 8.

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