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Need to Know: Five Redskins offseason predictions

Need to Know: Five Redskins offseason predictions

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 10, 27 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 19
Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 66
—NFL Draft (4/27) 76
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 212

Five Redskins offseason predictions

The Redskins have not played in 40 days but with the Super Bowl now done the offseason is truly heating up. Here are five predictions, some bold, some not-so bold, about what will happen between now and the start of training camp in late July.

Kirk Cousins signs a long-term deal with the Redskins—I’m going to take this a step further and say that the deal will be done prior to the March 1 franchise tag deadline. I think that Bruce Allen has a lot of credibility on the line since he has made no secret of the team’s desire to get a deal done. The deal won’t match Andrew Luck’s average of $24.3 million per year but it will be in the same (very exclusive) neighborhood at around $22-$23 million per year.

Spencer Long and Morgan Moses will sign contract extensions—The Redskins will continue their practice of locking up key players before they become free agents. As they did with Ryan Kerrigan and Jordan Reed, they will ensure that Long and Moses will play their prime seasons in Redskins uniforms. The two players have completed the third seasons of their rookie contracts making them eligible for new deals.

Bashaud Breeland and Trent Murphy won’t—The two defenders from the draft class of 2014 also can get new contracts but I don’t see it happening for either one. Breeland had his struggles in 2016 and I think he will want to wait to see if he can increase his value this season. Murphy is coming off an eight-sack season and he also wants to see if he can improve on that. A double-digit sack season in 2017 would set him up for a very nice free agency tour a year from now.

The Redskins’ free agency activity won’t be as high as many expect—I’ll go into some detail on this in the next couple of days but the bottom line is that a lot teams with a lot of cap room will be chasing after a very small pool of quality free agents. Bruce Allen, Scot McCloughan and Eric Schaffer will adjust their valuations accordingly but they aren’t going to get into any big-time bidding wars. Maybe they land Bennie Logan and one other upper-tier player but other than that look for late-March bargains.

Their top draft pick won’t be a defensive lineman—Although I’ve written that it looks like the Redskins’ biggest need could match up with the best available player when they are on the clock at 17. But the more I think about it, the more I think that we’ll have another McCloughan curve ball. I do think that a D-lineman will become a Redskin at some point before the third round ends but a player at another position will be out there getting the bro hug from Roger Goodell and holding up the Redskins jersey with No. 1 on it.

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Redskins players concerned over COVID but focused on playing football

Redskins players concerned over COVID but focused on playing football

Redskins rookie wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden tested positive for the Coronavirus back in March. He fully recovered and the virus is not expected to impact his 2020 season whatsoever.

That might be the only thing Coronavirus won’t impact though.

NFL fans, and Redskins fans particularly, need to prepare for a weird, if not tumultuous, 2020 season. The NFL is admirably pushing forward with their 2020 season but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more players, coaches and staffers that test positive for COVID-19.

"We fully well expect that we will have positive cases that arise," NFL chief doctor Allen Sills said earlier this month.

"We think that this disease will remain endemic in society," Sills continued, "it shouldn't be a surprise that new positive cases arise."

Inevitability.

That’s the world the NFL will enter, eventually, when players, coaches and full staffs start to reconvene, none of which is unique to the NFL.

Coronavirus is everywhere. That’s the world. The NFL exists in that world.

Fans got to enjoy free agency and the NFL Draft, but those events largely took place in a virtual world. Little human interaction required.

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Actual football, however, requires significant human interaction.

The truth of inevitability is that eventually there will be more positive tests. For some players, that’s not particularly troubling.

“I really don’t have any concerns. I just want to get back to playing,” Redskins safety Landon Collins said last week.

Still, the focus remains on health and safety, for football players and for the country at large.

"First things first, you definitely want to be safe. But as far as moving forward, I mean I have full faith in our medical staff, so I mean, it’s really what they determine and what the NFL determines is safe for us to move forward," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said.

"That’s really all I can think about, it’s just so much for one person to even try to comprehend that it’s not even worth it, you know?"

Allen is right. 

This virus and the international chaos it has created really are incomprehensible. It seems like there are few facts out there but plenty of rumors and noise.

In the football world, however, one thing seems clear. Players want to play.

"I’m definitely hoping to play the season which I think we will," Allen said, "I couldn’t imagine us not playing a season."

In the NFL it seems almost a certainty there will be a season. But with the inevitability of more positive COVID-19 tests, how that season will play out remains a mystery. 

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The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL admits that it failed last year with a botched implementation of its pass interference replay reviews. That will have an impact on any new rules going forward. 

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, told NBC’s Peter King on Friday that the league has learned its lesson: Rules will not be rushed. The NFL will do its best to figure out the real-world consequences before pushing changes that do more harm than good. 

That was clearly the case with the pass interference rule, which was applied so inconsistently last season that the Competition Committee didn’t even forward it for a vote to extend it at an owners’ meeting last month. Upcoming proposed rule changes on onsides kicks and the use of a sky judge – a member of the officiating crew who would be in the press box at a video monitor – are on the table during an NFL owners’ video conference meeting on May 28. 

“We cannot fail this year,” Vincent told King. “We saw, a year ago, when [the pass-interference rule] played out, starting with myself, what we put in place last year . . . Those outcomes were not good for professional football. Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly. The last thing people should be talking about is the way the game is officiated. They [officials] should be faceless objects, managing and facilitating game flow.

“We failed. I’m first in line. I shared that [with league officials]. I failed, as the leader of that department. I failed. We cannot allow that to happen again. What did we learn from that? We’ve got to do our due diligence. You can’t rush and just shove something in there without knowing all the consequences. And we found that out last year, live and in action, publicly.”

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