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Should Josh Norman be on the Redskins' free agent shopping list?

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Should Josh Norman be on the Redskins' free agent shopping list?

When the Panthers meet the Broncos later Sunday in Super Bowl 50, there will be a handful of free agents on both teams that could be of interest to the Redskins. Earlier, Rich Tandler tackled some potential targets on the Broncos. Below, I’ll be taking a look at a few Carolina free agents that could be a fit in Washington.

  • Player: CB Josh Norman

Age: 28

2015 cap hit: $1.6 million

Stats: 18 passes defended, 4 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 3 forced fumbles

Comment: Ranked the sixth best corner in football this season by ProFootballFocus.com, Norman has put himself in position to snag a contract that could rival those signed by Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson, which could mean as much as $40 million in guarantees. It’s also possible the Panthers won't let Norman hit the open market. It should also be noted that Redskins GM Scot McCloughan has said he doesn’t expect the Redskins to be “big players” in free agency. But … if there was ever a time to make an exception, the chance to land this self-confident shutdown corner could be that time. After all, cornerback easily ranks as Washington’s biggest area of need.

 

  • Player: SS Roman Harper

Age: 33

2015 cap hit: $1.8 million

Stats: Started all 16 regular season games, Panthers’ 4th leading tackler, 5 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries

Comment: Harper, whose contract is set to void, has been a solid starter in the NFL for nearly a decade. Which is good and bad. The two-time Pro Bowler is seasoned, reliable and has a Super Bowl ring that he won with the Saints, but it’s also fair to wonder how much football he’s got left. He did, however, rank fourth on the Panthers’ defense in snaps played during the regular season. McCloughan is not big on signing free agents who are on the wrong side of 30, but Harper’s experience could be a good short-term fix at a position of need.

 

  • Player: DL Kyle Love

Age: 29

2015 cap hit: $745,000

Stats: 19 tackles, 3 sacks, fumble recovery

Comment: Listed a 6 foot 1, 315 pounds, Love produced three sacks and seven quarterback pressures in 370 snaps. Love started 24 games for New England in 2011 and 2012 but was cut in 2013 after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After bouncing around for a couple of years, he ended up in Carolina and appeared in 15 regular season games. He’s solid a backup who could be counted upon to start in a pinch.  

  • Player: FB Mike Tolbert

Age: 30

2015 cap hit: $3.425 million

Stats: 256 yards rushing and a touchdown, 18 receptions (on 22 targets) for 154 yards, 4 total TDs  

Comment: Tolbert is one of the game’s best fullbacks and a solid special teamer, but the two time Pro Bowler (2013 and 2015)  would likely cost Washington significantly more than re-signing Darrel Young, who is also a pending unrestricted free agent and well-respected at Redskins Park. And given that Young saw only seven snaps per game in ’15, the team might not see much return on their investment if they were to sign Tolbert.  

Overthecap.com has the full list of Carolina’s pending free agents.

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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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Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

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USA TODAY Sports

Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

More than 100 days remain before the Redskins take the field in meaningful NFL action.

Any and all excitement needs to be tempered, significantly, because what happens on a practice field in May without pads does not represent what will happen in September, October and beyond. 

Still, the Redskins group that took the field this week for OTAs showed promise. 

New quarterback Alex Smith looked crisp, connecting with a variety of wideouts and commanding the huddle. New wideout Paul Richardson made the best play of the session when he streaked down the field past rookie cornerback Greg Stroman and hauled in a deep pass from Smith. The play showed Smith's ability to identify open receivers downfield, as well as Richardson's ability to go up and grab a contested catch. Even Stroman, the seventh-round rookie, positioned himself well, he just fell victim to a perfect pass and tremendous athleticism.

That was only one play in a two-hour session. Again, don't take too much from May, when players don't wear pads or engage in any of the violence that the NFL is predicated upon. But the OTAs do serve a purpose, both for players and coaches, and there were nuggets to absorb and try to project for the fall. Here they are:

  • Jay Gruden made clear he's not concerned about the health of his offensive line. Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are recuperating from offseason surgery, but Gruden believes both are on track for when things start to matter. It's a good thing the coach isn't concerned because this was the 'Skins line in OTAs (left to right): Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, John Kling. Should that lineup take the field this fall, there will be trouble. 
     
  • The Redskins lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, and the secondary depth will be something to watch throughout training camp. At OTAs, newly signed veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick lined up opposite Josh Norman in the team's base 3-4 defense. In nickel and dime coverage, Quinton Dunbar lined up opposite Norman and Scandrick moved to the slot. As things progress, it will be interesting to see if Dunbar surpasses Scandrick in base coverage, and what becomes of 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau. Stay tuned.  
     
  • Rookie running back Derrius Guice looked every part of the first-round talent many judged him to be before draft season rumors caused him to slide to the late second round. Guice cuts with authority and is able to see holes before they form and patiently wait to hit the open space. Guice also looked fine in pass-catching drills, one area that was a question coming out of LSU (but that says more about LSU's prehistoric offense). Watching the Redskins offense work, it seems clear Guice will be the heaviest used runner this fall.
     
  • That said, don't count out Robert Kelley. He looks leaner and plenty quick, showing a few impressive runs during the session. Byron Marshall also looked good, and Gruden pointed out his success in his post-OTA press conference. The running back group will have plenty of competition all the way through Richmond. 
     
  • Jonathan Allen has switched jersey numbers from 95 to 93. Rookie Daron Payne is now wearing 95. Payne and Allen both went to Alabama, both are huge, and both play defensive line. The number switch will take some getting used to. 
     
  • Zach Brown missed the OTA session as he was moving, and interestingly in his spot with the starting defense was Josh Harvey-Clemons. The second-year pro out of Louisville showed impressive speed in coverage, and remember he played safety in college and performed quite well. He has ball skills and great size to be a coverage linebacker. Some were surprised when the Redskins kept JHC last season at the cut to 53, but his development appears to be paying off for the organization. 
     
  • Another linebacker that made a play was Zach Vigil. He impressed for the Redskins late last season and was running the Washington second-team defensive huddle. At one point, Vigil broke through the line of scrimmage and blew up a run play. That prompted D.J. Swearinger to yell from the sideline, "OK Zach. OK ZACH!"
     
  • Speaking of Swearinger, the Redskins defensive captain seemed in midseason form when it comes to yelling encouragement on the field. Nobody hypes up the defense like Swearinger, particularly when the secondary makes a big play. On one pass Dunbar made a nice diving play to break up a pass, and Swearinger and Josh Norman got very fired up, shouting and jumping around. The entire defense responded. Little stuff like that helps disrupt the monotony of offseason work. 
     
  • Jamison Crowder looks jacked and quick. The end. 

 

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