With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.
Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind?
Which 10 players would your team protect in an NFL expansion draft?— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) June 20, 2017
(1st & 2nd year players are excluded)
Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.
Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.
- Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
- Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want.
- Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain.
- Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL.
- Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too.
- Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap.
- Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy.
- Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
- Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
- D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019.
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