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A pair of 1,000-yard rushers for the Redskins?


A pair of 1,000-yard rushers for the Redskins?

The Redskins are on pace to run the ball 500 times this year, a substantial increase from their 401 rushing attempts last year. This is a very early projection at this point in the season but the fact that they have run the ball 94 times in three games is not a fluke; it has been part of the plan all offseason.

A 500-attempt season would not be anywhere close to a team record. That came in the 1983 season when John Riggins, Joe Washington, and a few assorted others carried 629 times. More recently, Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III led a rushing attack that carried 519 times.

But one thing that the Redskins have a chance to do that they never have done before is have two 1,000-yard rushers in a season. Through three games, Morris has 199 yards rushing and Jones has 189. Over a 16-game season those totals project to 1,061 yards for Morris and 1,008 for Jones.

Having a pair of backs go over the thousand-yard mark is unusual in the NFL but not unheard of. The last time it happened was in 2009 when Panthers running backs Jonathan Stewart (1,133) and DeAngelo Williams (1,117) did it. It’s happened two other times in the last 10 years with the 2008 Giants getting Brandon Jacobs (1,089) and Derrick Ward (1,025) there and the 2006 Falcons doing it with running back Warrick Dunn (1,140) and quarterback Michael Vick (1,039).

Since 1970 the Redskins twice have had players rush for over 750 yards in a season. In 1983 it was Riggins (1,347) and Washington (773) and in 2012 it was Morris (1,613) and Griffin (815).

A thousand-yard season is a nice milestone but it’s not really special in the era of 16-game seasons. Since 2010 between 13 and 17 players rushed for over 1,000 yards each season. A player only has to average 62.5 yards per game to get there.

But getting two players over a thousand would be a solid accomplishment for a team. And such an accomplishment generally indicates team success. The six teams that have done it averaged 10 wins during those seasons.

There is a long way to go and a lot has to happen for Morris and Jones both to get over 1,000 yards rushing. Primary among those factors are health and the team staying competitive in enough games to be able to keep the running game in play. But it is something to keep an eye on as the season moves along. 

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

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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.