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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

It's easy to knock the Redskins - particularly for the way the team has handled the Kirk Cousins contract situation - but if you look at the core of the team, many of the best players have long-term contracts in place.

The organization has clearly established a system where they identify their best talent and work to get multiyear deals before those players hit free agency. Look at the team's best homegrown players while tabling the Cousins conversation for a moment: Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Jordan Reed all have signed contract extensions before their value would've skyrocketed in free agency.

Considering that, what player might join those ranks soon? A few candidates are emerging:

  • Chris Thompson - Playing on a one-year, $2.7 million deal after his restricted free agency in 2017, it would not be a shock if the team tries to get a deal done with Thompson before the end of the season. Thompson has a ton of value and the trust of coach Jay Gruden. This will be tricky, though, as the free agent market for running backs is not what it used to be. 
  • Bashaud Breeland - Coming off a disappointing 2016 season, Breeland knows he needs to play better to attract the big-money contracts next season in free agency. With a heavy investment in the draft, including back-to-back third-round corners in Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau, it seems unlikely the team will get a deal done with Breeland this season. Don't count it out, however, as Breeland was part of Bruce Allen's 2014 class that has produced well for the Redskins. 
  • Spencer Long - The Redskins staff really likes the continuity being developed along the offensive line. Long is a big part of that at center. The team also drafted Chase Roullier this year, and he could eventually push Long at the center spot. This one will be worth keeping an eye on in Richmond with Long a free agent after the season. Long's development at center has been a positive trend for the Redskins, and for the right price, keeping him in 2018 and beyond seems like something the organization would like to do. 
  • Trent Murphy - This is a tricky one. Murphy had by far his best season in 2016, getting nine sacks and showing he can be a disruptive pass rusher. Then, he was hit with a four-game suspension for PEDs. The Redskins have also invested at outside linebacker in the years since taking Murphy: Preston Smith and rookie Ryan Anderson play the same position. If Murphy can show the same burst once he returns from suspension, the Redskins might be forced to make a decision. No team can have enough pass rushers.

This is just a snapshot of players with expiring contracts. Plenty of others on the roster will be free agents after this season, though the above list is all guys drafted by the organization. Asked about any contract extensions in the works, Redskins SVP of Football Operations and contract guru Eric Schaffer declined much comment. 

No comment doesn't mean that new deals aren't in the works. Don't be surprised if a name from the above list becomes the next homegrown Redskins player with a new deal before free agency hits. 


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Five takeaways from Redskins-Falcons, including notes on Landon Collins and the receivers

Five takeaways from Redskins-Falcons, including notes on Landon Collins and the receivers

The Redskins won't go winless in the 2019 preseason. On Thursday night, the team took down the Falcons 19-7 in their third exhibition contest of the year.

The biggest news of the night, unfortunately, is the concussion Jordan Reed sustained in the first half. The star tight end has had numerous head injuries in his career and as of now, it's unknown if he'll be ready to play Week 1 against the Eagles.

Aside from that tough blow, though, Jay Gruden learned plenty of important things about his roster. Here are five of the biggest takeaways.

1) Derrius Guice should help this offense right away

After his promising performance, the running back tweeted out a handful of happy emojis — and for good reason. He got the chance to play for the first time in more than a year, but he sure didn't run like someone who's been out of football for that long.

In Atlanta, Guice broke plenty of tackles, showed a sweet combination of patience and burst and found a way to pick up yardage when there wasn't much to pick up. In all, his 11-carry, 44-yard evening indicated that he has the potential to really elevate Jay Gruden's offense. 

2) This team has to be especially careful with its turnovers

Case Keenum's first half fumble put the defense in a difficult spot and led to the Falcons' lone touchdown of the game. Those are the kind of mistakes he and the Burgundy and Gold can't afford much of this year.

In 2018, Alex Smith may not have lit it up with his right arm, but he did a fantastic job at limiting his turnovers. Between Keenum, Dwayne Haskins and maybe Colt McCoy, there probably will be a spike in giveaways in 2019. 

Now, if those signal callers can keep that spike to a minimum, maybe the Redskins can put together a playoff-caliber campaign. If not, things will be ugly, because they simply don't have the firepower to make up for lost possessions.

3) Landon Collins looks like a force on the back end

The expensive safety popped with some run stops as well as a terrific read and near-interception of Matt Ryan on Thursday. Afterward, he gushed about how well he and Montae Nicholson are meshing on the defense's last line.

If you like picture-perfect form tackling, then you're going to like watching Collins go to work all season long. He and Nicholson could become one hell of a duo for Greg Manusky.

4) Cassanova McKinzy may be a sneaky good pass rusher

Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat are the headliners at outside linebacker, but don't overlook McKinzy. The 26-year-old posted two sacks and also jarred the ball loose on one of those takedowns.

Much like what they'll need to do on the interior defensive line, it'll be necessary for the Redskins to rotate Kerrigan and Sweat so they aren't worn out by November. Maybe McKinzy can be that third threat and a specialist on third downs for the unit.

5) There are a lot of useful receivers, but no true No. 1

Cam Sims put together his best stat line of the preseason and Kelvin Harmon showed up as well. Then you have Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn and Terry McLaurin who figure to see tons of snaps on the outside, plus Robert Davis, who's had the best August of all the wideouts.

As mentioned earlier, there isn't an abundance of big-time playmakers on offense and that includes the receivers, where no true No. 1 exists. Maybe, just maybe, there are enough good targets, though, to keep defenses off balance and provide the QB multiple places to go in passing situations.


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Jay Gruden confirms Jordan Reed is in concussion protocol after scary hit vs. Falcons

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Jay Gruden confirms Jordan Reed is in concussion protocol after scary hit vs. Falcons

After suffering a brutal helmet-on-helmet collision from Falcons safety Keanu Neal, Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was forced to leave Thursday's preseason matchup with concussion-like symptoms.

The Redskins announced in the fourth quarter that Reed would be out for the remainder of the game, being evaluated for a possible concussion. Head coach Jay Gruden confirmed that Reed was in the concussion protocol during his post-game press conference.

"He developed concussion symptoms, and they went in the normal protocol," Gruden said. "He was symptomatic. We followed the protocol, and here we are."

When Neal delivered the hit on Reed, No. 86's helmet flew off. Initially, Reed seemed to be okay. He spun the ball after the play, celebrating the first down, and continued to play in the game.

It wasn't until several minutes later that the tight end started to feel the concussion-resembling symptoms.

"Right after halftime a little bit," Gruden said on when the tight end first started noticing them. 

Should Reed have a concussion, it would be the seventh confirmed concussion of his career, matching the amount of NFL seasons he's played. 

Gruden was later asked whether the hit should have warranted more than just a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. 

"They got the 15-yard penalty and no ejection, I didn't notice it being that bad," he said. "I'll have to go back and watch it. We got the flag."