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Need to Know: Five who could be playing their last game with the Redskins

Need to Know: Five who could be playing their last game with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 31, one day before the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 1; Wild card playoff round starts 7; Division playoff round start 14

Injuries of note:
Injured reserve: S Whitner (quad)
Out: CB Dunbar (concussion), LB Cravens (upper arm), OL Painter (calf)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), RB Kelley (knee), DE Baker (ankle)
Final injury report

Five players who could be in their last game for  the Redskins

While there are plenty of reasons for optimism that the Redskins will win tomorrow and advance to the playoffs, the cold reality is that their season could come to an end at around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. That means that a handful of Redskins could be playing their last games in burgundy and gold.

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s unlikely but possible that Cousins will walk as a free agent this spring. He would become the first quarterback ever with back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons to depart his team the next year. But we had only seen one quarterback play out a year on the franchise tag so this situation is not normal. Chances are he will stay on the franchise tag if not on a long-term deal but until the tag is applied and signed or a deal is done anything could happen.

WR DeSean Jackson—There has been plenty of buzz about Jackson’s pending free agency. Some have him in an Eagles uniform in 2017 already. While I tend to think that is a ploy to start driving up his price before he even hits the market, it’s certainly a possibility. It’s also possible that he will be back with the Redskins. Scot McCloughan must weigh multiple factors including his unique skills, his frequent absences at offseason workouts, his contract demands, and his tendency to disappear at times (six-game stretch this year with no more than 55 yards in any game).

WR Pierre Garçon—He recently said “D.C. is where I want to be” and cited his family and business interests in the area. That doesn’t mean he automatically will be back with the Redskins. He could sign up the road with the Ravens or Eagles and still be close enough to monitor his business and spend quality time with his family. But if it comes down to a choice between Jackson and Garçon it seems likely that the Redskins would make their pitch to the latter. However, that doesn’t mean that his return is automatic.

OL Shawn Lauvao—He is going into the last year of the four-year free agent deal he signed in 2014. The contract makes him the 12th highest paid left guard in the league and his play clearly doesn’t warrant that status. Releasing him would save $4 million in cap space and the Redskins could do that and find a younger and cheaper (or at least more cost-effective) solution at left guard. Also, releasing Kory Lichtensteiger, who is likely to be inactive tomorrow, would save $3.5 million.

DE Chris Baker—The veteran lineman will be 30 by the time Week 4 comes around next year. How McCloughan handles his free agency will be interesting to observe. The defensive line needs to be rebuilt. Do they start with Baker, who will command a sizeable but affordable contract? Or do they move on and go the younger and cheaper route? Baker may give the Redskins a slight hometown discount but this will be his last shot at a multiyear deal with some guaranteed cash and if another team offers significantly more money he could be gone.

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.

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Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

There's a reason the Redskins invested their No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in quarterback Dwayne Haskins: They expect him to be their franchise quarterback of the future.

His former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also believes Haskins has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.

Appearing on the Bow Tie Chronicles Podcast, Meyer praised Haskins, calling him the "most accurate passer I've ever had."

Haskins' numbers from his lone season as the starter at Ohio State support Meyer's claim. He completed 70.0 percent of his passes, which was best in the Big Ten this past season. He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for 4,831 yards, more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. Additionally, Haskins broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, as Haskins tossed 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

Although he only had one season as the Buckeyes starter, it is not unreasonable to say that Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history.  

So, it makes sense that Meyer had only positive things to say about Haskins.

"He's going to be great," Meyer said on the podcast. "He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it."

The Redskins begin training camp on July 25th, and Haskins will be in an open competition with Case Keenum for the starting quarterback position.

NBC Sports Washington's J.P. Finlay noted that during minicamp, Keenum did look like the better option at times. But that does not necessarily mean that Keenum will be the Week 1 starter. Head coach Jay Gruden already announced that Haskins will have the chance to win the job.

There's no secret that Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback very soon. It's a matter of when he becomes the starting QB, not if. How quickly that happens is up to Haskins and his progression.

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