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Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

There are a lot of questions stemming from Reuben Foster's injury at Redskins OTAs, which looks to be a season-ending one.

Where does Foster, whose career has really yet to take off due to other injuries as well as numerous off-field troubles, go from here? What are Washington's options at inside linebacker now, since they were counting on him to produce?

And then there's this: How does Foster missing this year affect his contract with the 'Skins?

The answer, according to salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, is not much.

"When a contract tolls, that means basically the pause button is pushed and whatever you were supposed to make in 2019 carries over to 2020. That's not the case for Reuben Foster," Halsell said Tuesday while on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"Reuben Foster will earn his $1.29 million salary regardless of if he plays this season or not. While he'll probably spend his entire season on injured reserve, he'll make his $1.29 million in 2019."

Essentially, everything proceeds as normal. And that in and of itself is a decent setback for the organization.

One of the reasons the Redskins dealt with the controversy and backlash when they claimed Foster last November was because they were adding a first-round talent on his rookie contract. The team was hoping they could secure two years of elite play out of him at a bargain price, and then potentially exercise the fifth-year option on him to keep him in D.C. through 2021.

Now, however, they're losing one of those precious seasons and will have to make that decision on his fifth-year option next offseason without any tape or experience to really base that decision on. That's an important choice, and one that will carry significant financial implications as well.

"The fifth-year option for the 2021 season will be pretty expensive," Halsell said. "The long and short of it is it's going to be a lucrative dollar amount and given his injury history, his current injury, you would think that when they have to make that decision by the 2020 Draft, they will decline that option."

Haslell's right. The likelihood of the Burgundy and Gold committing big money to a guy with literally one rep in their uniform — and it's not like he was proven for the 49ers, as a linebacker or as a person, either — feels unbelievably slim. 

Yet — and now we're looking pretty far down the line — if he is able to return from this injury and contribute in 2020, the franchise could still look to keep him beyond that. There's a ton of time between now and then, but it's certainly possible.

"Theoretically, even though you don't have the fifth-year option for 2021, you can work on a contract extension for Reuben Foster assuming he comes back to full health," Haslell explained.

Still, not only does the injury hurt the player as well as the unit the player was going to start on, but it limits the team's potential payoff from claiming the player. The situation, from every angle, is an unfortunate one. 

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The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick back in April with one very clear goal in mind: new franchise quarterback. 

What isn't clear, however, is that timeline. 

Eventually, Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback. That could happen Week 1 2019, or it could be a year away.

Haskins wasn't particularly impressive during the team's minicamp, and veteran signal caller Case Keenum looked like the better option. Remember, though, real football is more than two months away. The mental aspects of NFL life that Haskins struggled with during the spring sessions, like calling plays and getting to the line of scrimmage in correct formations, are quite fixable. Haskins is smart and has talked about his commitment to learning the playbook. 

If that happens by the time Haskins gets to Richmond, then the quarterback competition will look much different than it did in Ashburn. And the 'Skins don't report to Richmond for another month. 

Here's the reality: Haskins should absolutely compete for the starting quarterback job. That's the minimum expectation for first-round picks. 

The important news: Haskins will compete for the starting job in Richmond. Jay Gruden has been clear about that.

Now, if Haskins doesn't win the job, he can't start. Politics or expectations can't push him into the top spot, no matter what pressure might be applied. 

Football players improve, often dramatically, over the summer. Haskins has all the physical talent needed to take the QB1 spot. He just needs to learn the speed of the NFL, which is challenging, and the depth of the offensive system, which is daunting. 

It's entirely possible Haskins does not win the Redskins starting quarterback job. In fact, it's probable he doesn't, by Week 1 anyway. 

But the notion that he can't start because of a difficult early portion of the schedule is crazy. If Haskins is the best option to win games, Gruden is obligated to give his team the best chance to win a game, regardless of an opponent. 

In a lot of ways, the Redskins decision with Dwayne Haskins is really up to Haskins. Compete and win the job? The decision will be easy. 

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Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

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Don't believe dumb Twitter rumors about the Redskins started by fake accounts

Don’t believe dumb internet rumors. Start there. 

Sunday night some fake Twitter accounts tweeted that a trade between the Redskins and Lions was very close, a deal that would ship productive WR Marvin Jones from Detroit to Washington in exchange for unproductive former first-round pick WR Josh Doctson.

What is to believe here? Next to nothing.

Jones is under Lions control for two more seasons and makes about $7 million a year. That’s tremendous value for somebody that posted 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns two seasons ago. Doctson has exactly 1,100 yards in his three-year NFL career. 

There is some speculation that Jones could be on the outs in Detroit, mostly because of the hard charging style of head coach Matt Patricia. Jones also missed half of last season with a knee injury and is still working his way back, missing all of Detroit's offseason work.

Even if Jones is on the outs with Patricia, and there are worries about the knee, he would command more in a trade than Doctson, who only has one year left on his contract. 

This is from Detroit Free Press Lions reporter Dave Birkett's mailbag last week: "Jones has two years left on his contract at very reasonable salaries of $6.5 million per season. The Lions would be foolish to move on from him right now. He provides more than most players at his salary, and it’s not like there are suitable replacements out there. Jones spent all spring working with the rehab group and I expect him to have a strong season this fall. I can’t imagine the Lions moving on from him at this point, unless we hit October and they’re struggling to keep their head above water. If that happens, all bets are off."

This also seems like a pertinent time to mention that Washington team president Bruce Allen spent last week in France. 

Allen makes the trades for the Redskins. Allen is the boss. He was out of the country last week, and probably not fielding trade phone calls from Cannes. 

To be fair, there have been conversations inside Redskins Park about moving Doctson for more than a year, including in the weeks leading up to the trading deadline last season. He hasn't been moved, however, and his trade value is probably at an all-time low after Washington decided not to exercise a fifth-year team option on his contract earlier this offseason. 

Could Marvin Jones help the Redskins' receiving group? Absolutely. 

But a trade requires much more than that.