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Camp preview: Who will RG3's targets be?

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Camp preview: Who will RG3's targets be?

The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. Were going around the team to let you know what were looking for when practice gets underway. Earlier today we looked at the offensive line, now the offensive backs and receivers are up.Anticipated starters:QB Robert Griffin III
RB Tim Hightower
FB Darrel Young
WR Pierre Garon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson
TE Fred DavisIn the span of a few hours, one of the Redskins soft spots wide receiver became one of their strengths. The team acted swiftly on the opening day of free agency, nabbing Garon and Morgan, who received a combined 28 million in guaranteed money. Although critics will point out that the team still lacks a true No. 1, the Redskins seem to be hoping that a pair of No. 2s will suffice. Griffins third option figures to be Hankerson, a promising second-year receiver who says hes fully recovered from offseason hip surgery, while Santana Moss should add depth and veteran leadership.Key reserves:RB Roy Helu Jr.
WR Santana Moss
TE Chris CooleyWhile Garon, Morgan and Hankerson may appear set to start, it would be premature to count out Moss, who is coming off his worst season (46 receptions and 584 yards in 12 games) since 2002. During the offseason, the 33 year old showed the coaching staff he still is hungry for more by shedding 15 pounds and standing out in OTAs and minicamp as Morgan and Hankerson nursed injuries.On the bubble:WR Brandon Banks
WR Anthony ArmstrongNo position figures to be as competitive in camp as wide receiver, where 12 players are battling for six spots. Banks has been told by Coach Mike Shanahan that he must contribute at wide receiver and kick and punt returner, while Armstrong must rebound from a lost year. A deep threat with speed to spare, Armstrongs inability to beat bump-and-run coverage led to a dramatic reduction in his role last season (7 catches for 103 yards), down from 44 receptions for 871 yards in 2010.Three things to watch:All RG3, all the timeGriffin has navigated the first few months of his newfound fame and fortune flawlessly. But how will RG3 cope when each pass is dissected on sports talk radio, each comment parsed in the newspapers? With all apologies to the President, playing quarterback for the Redskins might be the toughest job in Washington.Captain Chaos set for a comeback?Chris Cooley says the problematic left knee that cut short his season a year ago is completely healthy. But the 30-year-old fan favorite costs 6.23 million against the salary cap and will face stiff competition from converted wide receiver Niles Paul for playing time behind starter Fred Davis. To beat out Paul, Cooley must prove that hes regained his (modest) speed and is the better blocker.Who will emerge from the trio of running backs?Tim Hightower, a Shanahan favorite, enters training camp atop the depth chart. But the versatile 26-year-old is coming off major knee surgery, raising questions about his ability to elude defenders. If Hightower falters, look Shanahan to give Helu (three consecutive 100-plus yard performances last season) andor Royster (two 100-yard efforts) the opportunity to step forward.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler