Redskins

Redskins

The Redskins’ contract extension with Chris Thompson came together quickly. The running back said that talks gained momentum in just the last five days or so. The deal was finalized on Monday and he signed it when he went in to work at Redskins Park on Tuesday.

Thompson was one of 15 players currently on the 53-man roster who are set to be unrestricted free agents in 2018. Could an extension be in the works for any of the remaining 14?

They can’t talk to Kirk Cousins about a new deal now or any time before the Redskins’ season ends. That is a rule under the franchise tag. So that leaves 13 players with possibilities.

The prime candidates for extensions are the players the Redskins drafted in 2014. They now have completed three seasons of their rookie deals, making them eligible for new contracts. The Redskins already have done a deal with one such player, right tackle Morgan Moses. The other members of that draft class who are still on the roster are C Spencer Long, CB Bashaud Breeland, and WR Ryan Grant. In addition, OLB Trent Murphy, the team’s top draft pick in 2014, is on injured reserve.

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Of those players, the most likely to sign a new deal is Long. He is going into the year as the starting center. Long has started 25 games at center and guard in the last two years but this is the first time he is the Week 1 starter.

 

There is incentive on both sides to get a deal done. Long could take the risk that he may get injured this year and have problems finding work in 2018 off the table. The Redskins could lock in a solid player at a key position and guard against the recent explosion in prices paid for interior linemen. There are 13 guards and centers who currently have contracts with an average of over $9 million per year.

On the other hand, Long might look at those numbers and bet on himself. Even a very good season wouldn’t catapult Long into that $9 million-plus club. But if he has a good year he could make himself some more money.

A new deal for Breeland is very unlikely. The organization drafted cornerbacks in the third round in each of the past two years. That is a clear signal that they don’t plan to pay Breeland the $8 million-$10 million per year it likely will take to keep him in Washington.

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Anything is possible with Grant, although I see him signing a one-year deal next fall. There is no reason to commit any significant money to him at this point.

The plan with Murphy probably will be to see how his rehab is going in the spring and base a short-term offer on that. There were no reports of extension talks going on before he got injured in the first preseason game. The injury certainly cost him millions of dollars, given that he was coming off a nine-sack season. As valued as pass rushing ability is in today’s NFL, even a good 2017 performance would have set him up for a deal in the $6 million per year range.

The possible free agents that fans would most like to see locked up for the long term are the two big-name free agents who got one-year deals last spring, WR Terrelle Pryor and ILB Zach Brown. However, the fans should not hold their collective breaths waiting for this to happen. Both signed one-year deals in hopes of having big years and getting lucrative, multiyear deals in the 2018 free agent market. Right now, the Redskins aren’t going to offer much more than the value that the track record of each player would command in the market. Both players want more and would rather go out on the field and try to earn it than settle for a market-value offer right now.

Maybe if one or both get off to good starts there could be extensions for one or both during the season. But the likely scenario is that Brown and Pryor play out the season on their current contracts and possibly start negotiations after that. It’s possible that if there is a good vibe in midseason something could get done. But that’s unlikely.

 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.