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Need to now: The Redskins week that was—Cousins contract holdup, how much better on D

Need to now: The Redskins week that was—Cousins contract holdup, how much better on D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 13, 11 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.


Today at Redskins Park: Rookie camp practice 12:45; players available coming off the field and Jay Gruden press conference after practice.

It’s been 132 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 120 days.

Days until:

—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 11
—Training camp starts (7/27) 75
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 89

The Redskins week that was

Here’s my weekly look at some of the most popular posts from the week on and

McCloughan mentions possible hold up in Kirk Cousins contract—The former GM seems to lament the fact that an agent had to get in the way of the way of contract negotiations. My guess is that McCloughan doesn’t like the necessity of negotiating with the franchise tags as a base minimum for getting a deal done instead of market value. I also have a feeling that Bruce Allen looks at it the same way. It will be interesting to see what happens next year when that artificial minimum is gone.

Five young veterans who could step up for the Redskins—Improvement as a team doesn’t just come from free agents and the draft. A team also gets better when some of the players the organization has been developing start to make real contributions. Here is a quintet that could help improve the Redskins in 2017.

How will the Redskins handle the logjam at outside LB?—Speaking of quintets, the Redskins have five outside linebackers who could, if healthy, start for many NFL teams. Can they keep them active on game day?

How much better will the Redskins defense perform?—So, they have bolstered the line and edge rusher in the draft, they signed a Pro Bowl inside linebacker and a starting safety who could be around for a few years. How much better will the defense be?

Redskins roster battles: Who starts at left guard?—I know that fans want to run Shawn Lauvao out of town. But the reality is that the Redskins didn’t sign a replacement in free agency and didn’t draft anyone who might be an 2017 starter at left guard. Unless Arie Kouandjio suddenly takes a few big steps forward, which is possible, it looks like Lauvao will be the starter.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins Now: Tandler takes your questions about the team as rookie camp is underway

Posted by Rich Tandler on Friday, May 12, 2017

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Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

USA Today Sports

Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

Bruce Allen identified getting a contract extension done for Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff as one of the Redskins biggest priorities of the 2019 offseason. To this point, however, nothing has happened. 

That doesn't seem to have Scherff concerned. 

"We've been talking, but I'm not really worried about that," he said after OTAs on Monday. "I'm here for another year, so that's all I'm worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself."

Scherff, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has played at an elite level since his rookie season. He's made two Pro Bowl teams in four years, and until last year, had been remarkably durable. 

In 2018, Scherff's season started very strong. 'Skins coach Jay Gruden described the former Iowa Hawkeye as the best pulling guard in the NFL and it was well-earned praise. Then, in a Week 8 loss, Scherff went down with a torn pectoral muscle. His season was over. 

At OTAs, however, Scherff was a full participant with no brace or apparent encumbrances from the injury. 

"I'm feeling really good, just taking it slow and making sure I'm 100 percent," he said. 

Expect the free agent market to be quite bullish. Once a lesser-paid position than tackle, guards have recently started pulling in significant cash. Zach Martin's recent contract extension in Dallas pays him more than $14 million per season, and Jacksonville is paying Andrew Norwell more than $13 million this year. 

For Scherff, expect top of the market money. He has the talent, pedigree and ability that if Washington won't pay in the neighborhood of Martin and Norwell, he can wait for free agency. 


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Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

There are a lot of questions stemming from Reuben Foster's injury at Redskins OTAs, which looks to be a season-ending one.

Where does Foster, whose career has really yet to take off due to other injuries as well as numerous off-field troubles, go from here? What are Washington's options at inside linebacker now, since they were counting on him to produce?

And then there's this: How does Foster missing this year affect his contract with the 'Skins?

The answer, according to salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, is not much.

"When a contract tolls, that means basically the pause button is pushed and whatever you were supposed to make in 2019 carries over to 2020. That's not the case for Reuben Foster," Halsell said Tuesday while on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"Reuben Foster will earn his $1.29 million salary regardless of if he plays this season or not. While he'll probably spend his entire season on injured reserve, he'll make his $1.29 million in 2019."

Essentially, everything proceeds as normal. And that in and of itself is a decent setback for the organization.

One of the reasons the Redskins dealt with the controversy and backlash when they claimed Foster last November was because they were adding a first-round talent on his rookie contract. The team was hoping they could secure two years of elite play out of him at a bargain price, and then potentially exercise the fifth-year option on him to keep him in D.C. through 2021.

Now, however, they're losing one of those precious seasons and will have to make that decision on his fifth-year option next offseason without any tape or experience to really base that decision on. That's an important choice, and one that will carry significant financial implications as well.

"The fifth-year option for the 2021 season will be pretty expensive," Halsell said. "The long and short of it is it's going to be a lucrative dollar amount and given his injury history, his current injury, you would think that when they have to make that decision by the 2020 Draft, they will decline that option."

Haslell's right. The likelihood of the Burgundy and Gold committing big money to a guy with literally one rep in their uniform — and it's not like he was proven for the 49ers, as a linebacker or as a person, either — feels unbelievably slim. 

Yet — and now we're looking pretty far down the line — if he is able to return from this injury and contribute in 2020, the franchise could still look to keep him beyond that. There's a ton of time between now and then, but it's certainly possible.

"Theoretically, even though you don't have the fifth-year option for 2021, you can work on a contract extension for Reuben Foster assuming he comes back to full health," Haslell explained.

Still, not only does the injury hurt the player as well as the unit the player was going to start on, but it limits the team's potential payoff from claiming the player. The situation, from every angle, is an unfortunate one.