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RG3 a $100 million QB for Redskins? Experts disagree

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RG3 a $100 million QB for Redskins? Experts disagree

While just about every preseason QB list projects Redskins starter Robert Griffin III to be at or near the bottom of the NFL, one former Washington star thinks RG3 will perform well this fall, and in turn, get paid.

"If he has a really solid, good year, he's looking at a $100 million plus. It's an economic situation as well as a playing situation," Joe Theismann said last week on a radio interview with 106.7 the Fan.

Why does money come up now? Griffin is in his fourth season, and the team has already exercised Griffin's fifth-year option for 2016, so any mega-deal for Griffin would be at least two years away. But, according to one expert, Theismann's assertion is pretty unlikely.

"If he does well, they will probably make him do it again," former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry said. "I don't think there's a deal the Redskins would do long-term right now."

MORE 'SKINS: WHO'S THE WRONG SIDE OF THE 53 MAN ROSTER BUBBLE?

It's worth noting that NFL contracts are not fully guaranteed, but looking around the NFL, $100 million is not unusual. Arguably the game's best quarterback - Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay - has a contract with a total value of $110 million. Baltimore's Joe Flacco has a deal with a total value of $120 million. Jay Cutler is signed for $126 million, and most Bears fans view him as a malcontent at best.

Plus, remember the guy picked ahead of Griffin in the 2012 Draft, Andrew Luck? Luck is on a similar rookie deal as Griffin, and his contract will expire at the same time. Whatever money Luck gets will likely become the richest contract in NFL history.

To Theismann's point though, the market is obviously high for QBs. One interesting comparison is Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, a player with unreal athleticism but not the best pocket passer. Last summer, the Niners signed Kaepernick to a seven-year, $127 million deal. 

While he did lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2012 season, Kaepernick is a career 60 percent passer in 39 games started. Griffin has started 35 games, and completed 64 percent of his passes. Despite any similarities, Corry does not see Kaepernick and Griffin on level footing.

"Most people progress, he's regressed," Corry said of Griffin. "Kaepernick didn't look nearly as bad as RG3. It's been a couple years for RG3."

The advantage the Redskins have now is that Griffin's option only comes in play if he plays well, or a serious injury occurs. 

"The only reason they exercised the option is to hedge their bets," Corry explained. "It doesn't really cost anything to exercise it. You can get out of it. It's a free look."

Corry believes that should Griffin play well this season, the Redskins would simply go into 2016 with Griffin on his fifth-year option. 

"Since RG3 hasn't shown them anything since his rookie year, if he did play well enough to warrant keeping the option year, they would probably make him get off to a good start in 2016 and prove he's on an upward trajectory before they make a long-term commitment to him," Corry said. 

While it's obvious the market for quarterbacks is sky-high, a new deal will require Griffin getting his game back. And Theismann thinks RG3 will do it. 

"I believe he will be able to get it done," Theismann said. "I really do."

It's also worth remembering Theismann is a self-described eternal optimist about the Redskins. Yet, he brings a great point. This year is huge for Griffin, and if he does perform, a big contract could be in play.

In three seasons, the RG3 experience has obviously been a roller coaster. 2012 was the peak, but it's been downhill since. But at times in 2013 and 2014, signs emerged Griffin could still make electric plays. Since that rookie year, however, Griffin's body has taken a beating.

Jay Gruden was brought on as coach of the 'Skins with the specific task of helping Griffin as a pocket passer; understanding defenses, making the right reads. The work has been ugly at times, as Griffin is slow to release the ball and takes too many hits and sacks. 

"I don't have any confidence that he's going to really progress in Gruden's West Coast offense," Corry said.

Theismann, however, is again optimistic about improvement.

"I think Robert will have had a full season now to understand Jay's offense," he said. Theismann added that RG3 has "made really good strides working out of the pocket."

The keys for Griffin are "being able to drop back, get the ball out of his hands and make quick decisions," Theismann said. "That's what this offense is all about."

Quick, correct decisions for Griffin could lead to a very big payday. The pressure is on. 

"Money dictates whether you stay or go," Theismann said. 

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 23, 65 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What to look for at OTAs

Redskins OTAs started yesterday. The no-contact drills are the first time during the offseason program that the offense and defense are permitted to line up against each other. The-no pads aspect of it does take off a lot of the edge but the reality is that this will be the closest thing to football we will see until training camp starts in late July. 

Here are some things that I will be looking for during today’s practice.

Who’s in? Jay Gruden told us earlier that we should not expect to see some injured key players not participating as they continue to recover from 2017 injuries. Specifically, OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Morgan Moses (ankles), and TE Jordan Reed (hamstring/toe) will only be spectators if they are at Redskins Park at all. Other players who may sit out or participate only in light drills are RB Chris Thompson (leg), and ILB Mason Foster (shoulder). The Redskins have been relatively healthy the past few offseasons so we will see how they deal with the aftermath of the injury scourge that his the team last year. 

Seven-on-seven—Sure, it’s fun to watch the full team drills with 11 on each side. But since blocking and tackling is limited by the rules about contact there isn’t much to be gleaned from watching an off-tackle run. But when they eliminate the guards, tackles, and interior defensive linemen it’s all passing and then we can watch how well Alex Smith and his receivers are connecting. One thing I’ll keep in mind is that Smith decided not to get the receivers together for a “passing camp” before the offseason activities started. He said that he wanted to get to know the playbook first. Because of that they can be forgiven if they are not quite as sharp as they might be. Also, how natural does Derrius Guice look coming out of the backfield to catch passes? His primary job will be to carry the ball but if he is a legitimate pass-catching threat the whole offense will be harder to defend

Rookies vs. pros—In rookie camp two weeks ago we saw Trey Quinn putting defensive backs on the ground with some moves and Troy Apke showing great makeup speed on some long passes. But those tryout defensive backs and quarterbacks are no longer around. How will Quinn look against veteran Orlando Scandrick or second-year corner Josh Holsey? Will Smith’s ball placement negate Apke’s speed? In the one-on-one pass blocking drills, which emphasize technique over power, can Daron Payne get past Brandon Scherff?

The big guys—With Williams and Moses out, who will line up along the offensive line? Does Payne line up at nose tackle or is he used more as an end with Tim Settle in the middle? Is Ziggy Hood in the middle or will he work outside? How is Phil Taylor looking after a quad injury ended his season in training camp? As noted, the rules make it hard to tell much about linemen before Richmond but we try to glean what we can. 

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

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My reaction to this tweet from the NFL illustrating the changes to the kickoff rules:

Timeline  

Today’s schedule:Redskins OTA practice 11:30; Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, players available coming off the field, after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 20
—Training camp starts (7/26) 65
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 79

The Redskins last played a game 143 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 109 days. 

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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