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Examining the ripple effects of Trent Murphy's possible suspension

Examining the ripple effects of Trent Murphy's possible suspension

There never is a good time to have the possibility of getting slapped with a four-game suspension looming over your head.

This is a particularly bad time for Trent Murphy to be in that situation.

The 2014 second-round pick of the Redskins is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. His value looked shaky during his first two years. Murphy played in 31 games with 23 starts and he totaled 6.5 sacks. He appeared to be headed to a career as a role player.

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Then last year he started getting to the quarterback and making plays. He registered nine sacks and forced three fumbles.

In a year when everyone expected Preston Smith to break out in his second season, it was Murphy who became the team’s second pass rushing threat along with Ryan Kerrigan.

Under the CBA, Murphy is now eligible for a contract extension. While there have been no reports of any talks between the Redskins and Murphy’s representation, he would have been negotiating from a position of strength. He had the options either signing based on a string season that indicated that his career is on the upswing or waiting for free agency a year from now after possibly posting double-digit sacks and have an opportunity to cash in big.

Those options are not gone if Murphy does indeed serve the four-game suspension but his leverage will be diminished, especially if he waits a year until free agency. The PED suspension will turn off some teams but that’s not that big an issue. However, Murphy missing a quarter of the season will make it hard for him to put up the impressive numbers to attract a rush of teams in the free agent market.

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Perhaps his absence will be a break for the Redskins, assuming they want to retain him.

Although it is just speculation, it seems logical that the PED issues stem from last year when the team first asked him to gain weight to convert to defensive end and then, after Junior Galette was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, wanted him to lose the added weight to go back to outside linebacker. The Redskins may be inclined to overlook the suspension and reduced statistical production because he took one for the team.

In the meantime, the Redskins may be in good shape to get through his absence and they may not. It depends on Galette. If he can stay on the field the Redskins should be fine with him, Smith and Kerrigan. But if Galette again has trouble staying healthy, they could be scrambling for someone to rotate in when Smith or Kerrigan needs a break.

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.

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Report: Trent Williams wants a new deal or a trade from Redskins

Report: Trent Williams wants a new deal or a trade from Redskins

INDIANAPOLIS -- While recent meetings between Redskins head coach Ron Rivera and disgruntled left tackle Trent Williams helped repair the relationship between star player and team, the situation isn't resolved.

In fact, Williams still wants to be traded if he can't get a new contract, according to a new report from NFL Network.

Williams did not play a single snap for Washington in 2019. Not one. That came as the result of a cancer scare that he didn't believe was adequately handled by the Redskins medical staff. He also lost trust in former team president Bruce Allen. Importantly too, Williams wanted a new contract with lots of guaranteed money. 

Rivera has overhauled the Redskins medical staff and Allen is obviously gone from the team, but the contract hurdles remain. 

For the Redskins a new deal for Williams might not make a lot of sense. He will turn 32 in July and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2013. He's also a great player, so perhaps an extension could make sense. 

The best read on the situation is Williams likely won't play on his current contract, which has one-year remaining and a salary-cap charge of $14.5 million. None of that money is guaranteed. 

Right now, it seems like both sides are playing nice. The Redskins don't want to come out and say they're not going to pay Trent. And Trent's side doesn't want to come out and demand a trade. The meetings with Rivera and Williams mattered in that a resolution that pleases both sides is possible. 

What seems impossible, or at least unlikely at this point, is that Williams wears the Burgundy and Gold this fall unless a new contract emerges.

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Redskins are working with Brandon Scherff and view him as 'big part' of their O-line, Ron Rivera explains

Redskins are working with Brandon Scherff and view him as 'big part' of their O-line, Ron Rivera explains

The franchise tag window in the NFL officially opened on Thursday, and the Chiefs have already placed the label on defensive lineman Chris Jones. The deadline for clubs to follow suit comes in mid-March.

So, could the Redskins do the same with Brandon Scherff? That's a question the Redskins Talk podcast asked Ron Rivera directly on Thursday, when the head coach sat down for an interview.

"Well the plan is to continue to work with his agent and see what we can get worked out, more so than anything else," Rivera said. "But Brandon, most certainly, is somebody that we really believe is a big part of our offensive line and we'll see how things work out."

The first half of that answer is fairly general; trying to get things "worked out" is something teams and agents are doing all the time. However, Rivera labeling Scherff as a "big part" of the Redskins' O-line certainly appears to be a clue that, at the very least, they don't intend to let the multi-time Pro Bowler leave.

"I don't want to deal in what-ifs and all that kind of stuff, but again, I know [Redskins Senior VP of Football Administration] Rob Rogers will be working with [Scherff's] folks trying to get something worked out," the coach said.

Scherff's recent injury history, plus issues with penalties in 2019, appear to have caused some fans to shift how they look at him. The 28-year-old is still an absolute force, though, and while Rivera also has to figure out Ereck Flowers' future and consider how Wes Martin fits into this guard equation as well, keeping Scherff in Washington has to be a top priority.

In fact, outside of reaching a solution to the Trent Williams dilemma, retaining Scherff might be the top priority as things currently stand.

Therefore, expect both sides to continue their dialogue, and if the organization senses that more time may be needed, they could use the franchise tag on Scherff to keep him where he is. Then, they can try to finish up negotiations on a long-term agreement, or play him on the tag in 2020, which would be quite expensive but still better than losing him altogether.

The last time the Redskins were involved in a franchise tag conundrum, it was messy and felt endless. If they turn to it again, however, expect the new leadership to handle it in a more professional manner.

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