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The Redskins' defensive line has a new nickname


The Redskins' defensive line has a new nickname

The Redskins’ defensive line has a number of new faces. The unit also has a new nickname: Capital Punishment.

“We came together as a group,” Terrance Knighton said Thursday on NFL Network, explaining the name’s origins. “The D-line is a special group. I think we’re probably the tightest-knit group on the team and I think that’s probably for any team.”

The revamped line features Jason Hatcher, the lone returning starter, as well as newcomers Knighton, Stephen Paea and Ricky Jean-Francois. Gone are Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield, who were released by new GM Scot McCloughan, and Jarvis Jenkins, who was not re-signed.

With so many changes, the new group, spurred on by Hatcher, figured the time was right for a new identity.    

“We just wanted to come up with something that makes us stand out and give us a name and something to have fun with,” Knighton continued, speaking to host Dan Hellie. “Hatcher came up with the name and said that’s what we’re going to start calling ourselves. We just wanted to create an identity for ourselves and just have something fun to play with. We’re excited about the guys that we have in the room and we’re just looking forward to changing this thing around.”

Knighton also said he’s optimistic that fourth-year quarterback Robert Griffin III will rebound from a couple of difficult seasons.

“He has all the tools to be a great quarterback,” Knighton said. “I think his main thing is just confidence, just going out there every day and just proving that he’s the leader. Just doing things right all of the time. He probably gets a lot of criticism from everyone…He had a great rookie year so he put a lot of pressure on himself. But I think he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. We have a lot of good leaders on the team. They bring somebody like me in who I’m going to share my knowledge of what I learned from Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware and guys like that in Denver, and just share with him. Right now it’s just about building confidence for the quarterback.”

Knighton and Griffin, however, weren’t always on the best of terms. In Week 8 of the 2013 season, in fact, Knighton knocked RG3 out of the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. As it turned out, though, the injury was not serious.

“Yeah I definitely do,” Knighton said, asked if he remembered the hit. “A lot of my buddies are from the DMV area and they were like, ‘You just ruined our season and you just knocked out our franchise quarterback.’ My brothers loved it. My family loved it. It’s definitely one of those hits I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life.”

RELATED: Redskins offseason Q&A: What will the O-line depth chart like?

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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.