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Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

The Redskins have found their offensive and defensive coordinators and they are ready to get on with the business portion of the offseason.

The big question between now and the middle of March is how they will divvy up their $62 million in cap space.

Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options.

Up first was the offensive tackle position. Today the focus is on the interior offensive line.

Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com

The Redskins currently have five interior O-linemen under contract.

— G Brandon Scherff, 2017 cap hit $5.8 million, under contract through 2018
— G Shawn Lauvao, $5 million, through 2017
— C Kory Lichtensteiger, $4.5 million, through 2017
— C Spencer Long, $853,450, through 2017
— G Arie Kouandjio, $745,400, through 2018

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

Notes:
—Scherff is halfway through his four-year rookie contract. His cap hit goes up to $6.7 million in 2017. After that, things get sticky. The Redskins do have a fifth-year option on Scherff. As a top-10 pick Scherff would be entitled to a salary that is the average of the top 10 salaries of all offensive linemen. That will come to over $11 million. One would think that the Redskins will try to negotiate a new deal with Scherff after this season so they don’t have to face that decision. But because the Redskins will face a choice in 2019 of either paying Scherff the $11 million or letting him become a free agent, the situation could get sticky.  

—Lauvao is in the final season of the four-year free agent contract he signed in 2014. Predicting that he will be cut is an annual tradition among Redskins fans. He was the starter all year and it’s hard to see a team $62 million under the cap move on from him for cap savings. Even if Kouandjio or another player beats him out for the starting job there is a good chance he sticks around as depth.

—Talk of cutting Lichtensteiger also is an annual event. This might be the year. He lost his starting job to Long due to injury but he didn’t get it back when he was healthy. It’s pretty easy to see them moving on from him and saving $3.5 million in cap space. Another possibility would be for Lichtensteiger to agree to a cut in his base pay and to be able to make it up with incentives like per-game roster bonuses and escalators based on snaps played.

—Long has completed the third year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for an extension. It would not be surprising to see the Redskins try to lock their starting center up for the next several years.

Positional spending (full O-line)

2016: Redskins $26.2 million, 11th in NFL
2017: $34 million, 7th in NFL

RELATED: ASSESSING FIVE MOCK DRAFT SELECTIONS

Adding and subtracting:
— If they do an extension for Long the terms should be fairly easy to settle on. Travis Frederick of the Cowboys is the on top of the average annual value list at $9.4 million and the perennial Pro Bowl contenders like Alex Mack and Mike Pouncey are in the $8-$9 million range. Long clearly isn’t in that category. If he signs an extension he should settle into the $6-$7 million range over four years with around $8 million guaranteed.

— If Lichtensteiger does indeed get cut the Redskins will be looking for a backup center. John Sullivan was signed last year after Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve. Sullivan played well, starting one game and playing most of another when Long was injured. The nine-year veteran might want to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. If not the Redskins could be amenable to bringing him back.

— Kouandjio is inexpensive depth. He struggled in an early-season start when Lauvao was out but he did better in a late-season start. The Redskins may try to bring in some competition in the draft or with a minimum salary veteran signing.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year.

Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

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Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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RB roster battle is fun to watch, but injuries will force tough decisions

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USA Today Sports

RB roster battle is fun to watch, but injuries will force tough decisions

Too much attention gets paid to roster construction during training camp. Projecting the 53-man roster has become its own August cottage industry, much like Bracketology flourishes in March.

The truth of the matter is regardless of projections, more than anything else, injuries dictate what players ultimately land on the Week 1 roster. 

Right now, that is apparent with the Redskins' running back position. Derrius Guice headlined the group after Washington grabbed him in the second round of April's NFL Draft. After injuring his knee in the first preseason game, however, Guice won't play in 2018. 

That means the other five guys battling for a spot now move up in the pecking order. Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson will make the team, even though Thompson is yet to play in the preseason and is still battling back from a broken leg last November. 

Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall, and Kapri Bibbs played with the 'Skins last season and were locked in a tense battle for spots. Then, Perine and Marshall got hurt Thursday night. Perine is expected to miss a week, while Marshall could miss up to four weeks. 

Can both Perine and Marshall still make the Redskins 53-man roster? 

Of course. 

Is that a certainty? Definitely not. 

Bibbs gets a major opportunity now, and he has looked good so far in camp and preseason games. Additionally, for Bibbs, it often gets lost that he actually played well in Washington last season. In three games he had more than 200 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. 

If Marshall truly needs a month to get his lower leg injury settled, that won't be until after the deadline to trim rosters. The Redskins could move him to the injured reserve list before then, but that would mean Marshall would not be eligible to play for the Burgundy and Gold until Week 7. Also, the team only gets two moves off of IR for the season. Would they want to use one on their fourth running back?

Perine's injury situation seems less severe, and barring a setback or further injury, he will be on the roster. 

That means Thompson, Kelley, Perine, and Bibbs. Maybe Marshall too, but that will be determined by his rehab schedule. 

Martez Carter made impressive runs against the Jets, and while it seems easy to dismiss his roster candidacy, remember Rob Kelley was an undrafted free agent out of a small Louisiana school just a few years ago.

Complicating matters is the reality that Washington's front office is absolutely going to be watching what other NFL teams do at roster cut time. Other running backs could emerge, especially from teams like Detroit that already have a crowded running back room and added more players via the draft. 

Coaches like to say competition on the field is what makes roster decisions. And yes, that's a big part of it. The violent nature of the NFL, the ultimate Next Man Up league, plays a huge factor as well. 

Trimming a roster because of injuries doesn't mean there aren't mistakes made. It sure looks like Washington screwed up last year by cutting QB Nate Sudfeld, even though the team felt compelled to keep extra offensive linemen. 

It might be trite, but the NFL is a long, grueling season. The Redskins know that. The team lost more players to injury than any other NFL squad last season. 

So when looking at 53-man roster projections, know there are two more preseason games left, and sad but likely, more injuries to come. 

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