Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 15, 22 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 14
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 61
—NFL Draft (4/27) 71
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 207
Wednesday quick hitters
Defining “heat”: It appears that I upset some people yesterday with my tweet promoting the Need to Know post. I said that “The heat is on Scot McCloughan.” Some were wondering (rather angrily I might add) why a GM who helped the team get to consecutive winning seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years would have the heat on him. And the answer is that the heat always is on an NFL GM. If the franchise hasn’t even been to an NFC championship game in about 25 years there is heat on the GM to get the team there. If they just won a Super Bowl, there is heat on the general manager to do it again.
Important work: Having the heat put on him and being under pressure does not mean that McCloughan is on the verge of behind fired. It means just what it says. Aren’t you under pressure in your job from time to time? Does it always mean that you are about to be fired? In most cases, it means that you have very important work to get done and you are on a deadline. That applies to McCloughan regarding free agency and the draft.
Baker’s return a coin toss: It appears that Chris Baker’s status is truly a 50-50 proposition. On the pro side of keeping him, he is a very solid defensive end on a team that desperately needs defensive linemen. Why let him go and have one more hole you need to fill? Also, he is settled in the area and he wants to stay. The other side of the coin is that he will command a three- or four-year deal worth $7-$8 million per year. They may be hesitant to offer that to a player who will be 30 a few games into the season. I’ll say he ends up staying but I say it with no confidence.
Pay the big man: After the Redskins sort out their free agents they need to get down to business with some contract extensions for eligible players. Morgan Moses should be first in line. He has done a solid job since taking over the right tackle spot, the second most important position on the O-line, during training camp in 2015. Last year he would have missed a game or two with a badly sprained ankle he suffered in London but since Trent Williams had gone out on a drug suspension right after he got injured, Moses pushed through it. He should get five years for between $6 and $7 million per year.
More Redskins: Dysfunction at Redskins Park?
Quality QB’s on tap in ’17: There is a lot of talk about a shortage of quarterbacks in the NFL but don't tell the Redskins that. Of the 13 teams on their 2017 schedule only one, the 49ers, have genuine questions at the position for the coming season. The Broncos also are unsure who will start but they are not in full-scale blowup mode at the most important position on the field with Trevor Simeon and Paxton Lynch in the house. The rest of the QB’s on the slate range from competent (Alex Smith) to rising stars (Derek Carr, Dak Prescott twice, Carson Wentz twice) to established stars (Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers) to sure first-ballot Hall of Famers (Drew Brees). Injuries could change this situation but right now even though the Redskins need to upgrade their rushing defense it looks like they will have to bolster their pass defense as well.
Tandler on Twitter
The 2017 NFL franchise tag salary for QB’s will be over $21 million, up from $19.9 mil in 2016. Means both QB salaries and cap are going up.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 15, 2017
This doesn’t affect Cousins. His second tag salary will be 120% of his 2016 salary since that will be higher than the tag amount.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 15, 2017
In case you missed it
- Reed wants Redskins to re-sign Jackson, Garçon
- Five Redskins who can boost Scot McCloughan's approval rating
- Position Outlook: Talent at CB, but can be better in 2017
- Offseason questions: Should the Redskins draft another QB?