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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

Mike Shanahan'sdeclaration on Sunday that rookie Robert Griffin III was indeed the Redskins starting quarterback surprised nobody. The timing of said announcement, thats another story.After a single three-day rookie camp and before veterans report, the coach made it clear who would be the passer taking snaps with the first team. Not the veteran Rex Grossman, but the electric Heisman Trophy winner the team paid a hefty price to acquire.Any time you pick a player with the second pick of the draft and you give up two No. 1s and a No. 2 to move up four spots youve got a game plan in mind, Shanahan said.Whetheranyone previouslybelieved RG3 would start from day one of camp, the regular season opener against the Saints ortake over afew games into the campaign, there was no doubt who was truly atop the depth chart. With everyone in on the secret, there did not appear a reason to formally anoint Griffin the starter.That's why Shanahan's decision to make it official so soon in the off-season process was a bit of a head scratcher, at least to one former NFL quarterback.I wish they would have waited a little bit longer," Kurt Warner said Monday on the NFL Network. "We all understand the pressure that this young man is feeling already with all they gave up to get him, the excitement that he brings to Washington, D.C. But I would have loved for them to hold off on putting more pressure on him. The starter pressure, having to answer those questions, having to go into the second camp, third camp knowing that hes in that position and whats all on his shoulders."The Super Bowl-winning passer starred for the Rams and Cardinals. Warner was also the veteran in camp when the Giantsbrokein the 2004 number one overall pick, Eli Mannning. Warner started early that season before giving way to the rookie. In the Redskins case, add him to the list of those who simply assumed RG3 would get the Week 1 call."But we have to be honest: I dont think anybody expected Rex Grossman to be the starter opening day. We knew Griffin was going to be that guy; they assembled a team around him that they feel can win right now, and so why hesitate? Why hold off for any amount of time? Lets throw him in there, lets let his teammates know that hes going to be the guy and lets rally around him.Warner added that Shanahan's announcement could be curious if RG3 struggles early. However, by backing the new guy now,the coach hasalso made it clear to the team who is the starter should those struggles exist.This leaves little wiggle room at this point," Warner said. "You have franchised everything to get this guy, you have made the moves in the off-season, you have a tough schedule. Everyone believes that even if hes not the best snap-in, snap-out on day one that he gives them the best opportunity to win because of the way that he plays the game. "Thats why coach Mike Shanahan made this decision: He knew regardless of how it played out that he wanted this guy in there Day 1 building, learning, growing together with his teammates in the hopes that even if it isnt Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3, by the time they get to midseason they can be competitive with everybody else in the league.No mention of the Kirk Cousins brouhaha by Warner, which by my ears was the catalyst for the May 6 depth chart reveal. Not that it mattered. Whether it was May 6, July 6 or Sept. 6, we all knewRG3 the starter was going to happen anyway.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 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. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

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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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