Redskins

Quick Links

With six takeaways in the last two games, Redskins surpass last year's total

goldson-int-return-vs-saints.png

With six takeaways in the last two games, Redskins surpass last year's total

One area where the Redskins’ defense has shown improvement this season is in the takeaway dept. In fact, with four games remaining in the season the unit has 20—one more than it amassed in 16 games a year ago.

Washington’s takeaway total—nine interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries—was tied for the 10th most entering Thursday’s Arizona-Minnesota game.

“I feel good about it,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ve got to just keep flying to the football, keep ripping it out when we have an opportunity. And when the ball’s in the air, we’ve got to make sure we do the best we can to get it.”

“That,” Gruden added, “is what it’s all about. Definitely, it’s all about getting the ball back and that’s what we preach.”

The takeaways have come in droves the past couple of weeks. Against the Giants, Joe Barry's unit intercepted Eli Manning three times. Against the Cowboys, it recovered a pair of Darren McFadden fumbles and one ball was ripped from the hands of Devin Street.

The recent uptick has more than made up for a slow start that saw the Redskins record only one takeaway through the season’s first three games.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland has been the most productive individual, recording two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two recoveries.

But what’s been more impressive is the fact that so many defenders have gotten involved. Consider: the nine interceptions are shared by seven different players, 11 players have forced fumbles, while the recoveries have been made by nine different players.

Gruden said the fumble-causing strips are contagious. 

“Well, I think once you pull a couple out of there you start to get more confident and it starts to be contagious for defensive players and everybody wants a piece of one,” Gruden said. “Everybody is working hard to get the strips. It’s been a focal point of our defense since day one of OTAs, and it’s something we continue to work on.” 

Quick Links

Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

scherffvideo102918.jpg
USA Today Sports

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. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

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. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS