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Draft review: Shanahan says he couldn't pass up Cousins

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Draft review: Shanahan says he couldn't pass up Cousins

The Redskins finished the NFL draft on Saturday by making seven picks in the final four rounds. Mike Shanahan said that he was pleased with the draft, which yielded the team a total of six offensive players and four on the defensive side of the ball.The pick that raised the most eyebrows on Saturday was that of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was taken in the fourth round with the Redskins first pick of the day. With Griffin already on board, the selection of another quarterback was seen as odd, especially for a team with many areas in need of shoring up.Cousins was viewed by many as someone who could eventually compete for a starting job if he was drafted into the right situation. That clearly is not the case in Washington after the team drafted Griffin, who Shanahan has repeatedly referred to as the teams franchise quarterback.Shanahan said that he told Cousins, I couldnt pass you up.Sure he knows hes going to be a backup, Shanahan said. But hes only one play away or two plays away from being the starter.Soon after the selection of Cousins, the Redskins released John Beck, who started three games at quarterback last year. Shanahan explained that the wanted to give Beck as much time as possible to find a new team.With the selections of Griffin and Cousins, the Redskins became the first team since 1988 to draft two quarterbacks in the first four rounds of the draft. Quarterback has been a problem area for the team for years and it is not surprising that multiple players would be picked there.While the quarterbacks got most of the attention, the Redskins also invested heavily in the offensive line in the draft. After taking SMU guard Josh LeRibeus in the third round on Friday night, they followed up with Iowa guard Adam Gettis in the fifth round and South Dakota tackle Tom Compton in the sixth. This is the second time since the draft went to seven rounds that the Redskins have taken three offensive linemen. Shanahan and the Redskins took three two years ago.The rash of injuries in the offensive line last year made adding depth to the unit a priority, said Shanahan. It also appeared that flexibility was important at the position. Shanahan said that both Gettis and LeRibeus could play either guard or center and that Compton could play either tackle spotThe Redskins brought in several veteran defensive backs in free agency to try to shore up that area and now two rookies will be in the mix. Their two seventh-round picks were defensive backs as they selected Richard Crawford of SMU 213th overall and then tabbed Jordan Bernstine of Iowa with their last pick, 219th overall.Shanahan said that Crawford will play cornerback and Bernstine will play safety.Besides the quarterbacks, the only offensive skill player taken was running back Alfred Morris of Florida Atlantic.He can cut on a dime and he has the ability to make people miss, said Shanahan.The coach said that Morris will play tailback, although he has the size to be able to play fullback as well.Linebacker Keenan Robinson played on the outside at Texas but he said that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gold him that he will play inside backer for the Redskins.We liked his speed, said Shanahan.

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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