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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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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera did plenty of research before accepting the job earlier this month.

Rivera spent 30-35 hours with Redskins owner Dan Snyder before agreeing to be the ninth head coach of the owner's tenure. Additionally, he reached out to legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and ended up spending several hours talking with him prior to accepting the job. The two originally spoke on the phone, before the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera over to his home in Charlotte last month to discuss even further.

On Tuesday, Gibbs spoke on the Carol Maloney show, where he revealed some of the topics he spoke with Rivera about. One of those included the involvement of Snyder, who Gibbs spoke glowingly about.

"Where I felt like I could help the most was telling [Rivera] what it was like working with Dan," Gibbs said. "When I was there, Dan did every single thing he could do to help us win and was never, in any way, an interference. He was always trying to help in every single way he could."

Additionally, Gibbs raved about the Redskins fanbase. He explained to Rivera that fans in D.C. understand football, have been following the team forever, and are some of the most passionate in the sport.

"The other thing I could do, I felt like, was tell him about what it's like coaching in the greatest city in the world with the greatest fans in the world," Gibbs said. "I did tell him I thought it was the greatest job in the NFL."

Gibbs told Maloney that he hates making predictions, but had a strong one about the future of the Redskins fanbase.

"I think our fan base will come roaring back," Gibbs said. "I think [FedEx Field] will be full of Burgundy and Gold. They're going to be cheering their guts out."

When asked if he believed Rivera was the right man to lead the Redskins, Gibbs explained he was thrilled by the hire.

"He was certainly a great choice," Gibbs said. "[He was] Coach of the Year twice, put a team into the Super Bowl. And I think he's kind of a man's man. I think he can talk to the players. And I think he's proven that he can get the job done."

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