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Need to Know: Gruden's extension further increases his power in Redskins organization

Need to Know: Gruden's extension further increases his power in Redskins organization

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 7, two days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 41
—NFL Draft (4/27) 51
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 130
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 187

Gruden’s influence is growing

When Jay Gruden signed as the Redskins’ head coach, his authority did not extend much beyond the white lines. His power in the draft room and in determining the 90 players on the offseason roster was only in an advisory capacity. That power belonged to Bruce Allen and Scot McCloughan.

It’s not unusual for a first-time head coach to have 90-man roster control. However, many coaches are given power to form the 53-man roster out of those 90 players. Gruden did not have that authority either. Again, he could make his recommendations and fight for what he wanted but if there was a disagreement it was Allen or McCloughan who won.

A year after he came on board his chances of gaining any more power seemed to be greatly diminished on the heels of tumultuous 4-12 season that saw him shuffle Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Colt McCoy due to injuries and ineffectiveness. There was talk that he could be one and done in Washington.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

That never really was an option as Gruden was only one year into a five-year contract. But a weak showing in 2015 might have led to an early exit.

But Gruden survived because he grabbed control. He benched Griffin, the favorite of upper management, who saw both marketing opportunities and the massive investment of draft capital they had put into Griffin, and made Cousins the starter.

It’s one thing to make a risky move, it’s another if it has good results. The QB change came up aces. The Redskins went 9-7 with Cousins throwing for over 4,000 yards and getting particularly hot down the stretch as the Redskins recovered from a bumpy start to finish hot and take the NFC East title.

Such a decision can go a long way towards establishing yourself as someone in the organization who should be listened to. The move didn’t do anything to Gruden’s contracted power, or lack thereof. But you must believe that his “suggestions” for who should stay and who should go get taken a lot more seriously. If he wants the team to keep a particular free agent or let him go, his word carries more weight than his contract says it does. His voice carries more weight in late April in the draft war room.

More Redskins: Ross' fast 40 may put him out of Redskins' reach

Now with the backdrop of his contract extension through 2020 and the vacuum created by apparent shrinking of Scot McCloughan’s role, it looks like he could gather even more authority, formally or otherwise. Other than Dan Snyder and possibly Allen (nobody really seems to know the length the team president’s contract), only Jordan Reed is tied to the Redskins for longer than Gruden.

But for someone in Gruden’s position, power lasts only as long as the results are good. If the quality of his “recommendations” starts to go south, so will his power. And if bad decisions are being made that is usually reflected on the field, something that would put his employment in jeopardy regardless of how long he has to go on his contract.  

Tandler on Twitter

On a report that DeSean Jackson will be looking for $10-$12 million in free agency:

In case you missed it

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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Redskins Talk live from Miami for Super Bowl week: How to watch, live stream, listen

Redskins Talk live from Miami for Super Bowl week: How to watch, live stream, listen

Before the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers play for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, the Redskins Talk crew will break down the Redskins and happenings around the NFL.

JP Finlay and Mitch Tischler will welcome special guests everyday from Tuesday to Friday, live from Radio Row in Miami.

The Redskins are in the midst of a busy time, ushering in a new era under the direction of newly minted head coach Ron Rivera. With the NFL Combine, free agency and the draft right around the corner, Redskins Talk has your fix with analysis, discussion and high-profile guests. 

Here's everything you need to know.

Redskins Talk: End of Season Special

When: Every day from Tuesday, January 28, through Friday, January 31, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Radio Row in Miami

Live Stream: Click here to watch the live stream on NBCSportsWashington.com or stream in the MyTeams App (click here to download)

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

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Redskins' wide receiver Terry McLaurin planned NFL future in 2005 letter

Redskins' wide receiver Terry McLaurin planned NFL future in 2005 letter

Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin just finished his rookie season in the NFL and ranked among the best first-year pass catchers across the league in 2019. Among rookies, the Ohio State product ranked second in receptions with 59, second in receiving yards with 919 and tied for third in touchdowns with seven — all in 14 games.

That kind of production from a third-round pick may have surprised some. But for McLaurin, this was always the plan.

On Friday, McLaurin took to his Instagram story to post a letter he wrote in 2005 — when he was 10 years old — where he proclaimed his aspirations to be an NFL wide receiver.

“I really want to be a wide [receiver] and a starter,” McLaurin wrote in the letter titled ‘My Future.’ “I will play hard every game.”

McLaurin officially achieved his goal of becoming a professional wide receiver when the Redskins made him their third-round pick last April. He didn’t waste any time accomplishing the second part of his dream, cracking the starting lineup in the first game of the season against the Eagles.

In his letter, McLaurin also discussed the possibility of playing running back in the NFL. In his senior year of high school, the 2013 Indiana Mr. Football was an all-around weapon. He posted 14 total touchdowns, recorded 58 catches for 953 yards receiving and rushed for an additional 744 yards.

Ultimately, McLaurin settled into the receiver position in college when he joined the Buckeyes program. His best season came in his senior year, when he was paired with Dwayne Haskins, and caught 35 passes for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Low productivity in college — just 75 career receptions — may have caused McLaurin’s fall to the third round. But now, he’s making up for it and was one of the steals of the draft.

If McLaurin’s standout numbers continue, he should have no problem accomplishing a couple other goals he laid out in the letter.

“Make lots of money and live in a big house,” a young McLaurin wrote.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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