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Will the Redskins bring back WR Pierre Garçon in '16?

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Will the Redskins bring back WR Pierre Garçon in '16?

In less than a year, the Redskins completed a stunning turnaround, ascending from a laughingstock in 2014 to a division champion in 2015. But now comes the difficult part: taking that all-important next step and improving from a franchise that was fortunate to get into the playoffs to one that can do some damage once it gets there. And that work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the 25 biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

No. 9

Will the Redskins bring back Pierre Garçon?

Tandler: In a world where personnel decisions were made based solely on football criteria there would be no question that Pierre Garçon would return to the Redskins in 2016. He was second on the team with 72 receptions for 777 yards and six touchdowns. He made some clutch plays including a tough catch in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown against the Eagles. Garçon sets a great example for younger players in terms preparation and competitiveness.

But we don’t live in that on-field only world. It’s a salary capped world and money matters. Garçon’s 2016 cap number is $10.2 million. Only 12 wide receivers have a higher cap number this year and given that he represents a questionable value. His 72 receptions tied for 33rd in the NFL and the 777 receiving yards were 45th.

Will the Redskins get enough production out of Garçon in 2016 to justify the $10.2 million cap number or are they better off adding the $8 million savings from releasing him to their available cap space? The easy thing to say is save the $8 million, that’s a good chunk of cash. But it’s not that easy.

Who will replace those 777 receiving yards and six touchdowns? Ryan Grant or Rashad Ross? Certainly not this year, if ever. A draft pick? The draft is short on receiver prospects who can be productive as rookies and there is unlikely to be one available when the Redskins are on the clock with the 21st pick. The free agent class is thin and a receiver who can be as productive as Garçon will cost you at least a much as Garçon.

Sometimes you have to overpay to get what you need. I see Garçon playing out the last year of his contract while McCloughan drafts a mid round prospect or two for the coaches to groom as his successor.

El-Bashir: Let’s start with a little math. Garcon’s cap hit for 2016 is $10.2 million—or the 13th highest cap charge among all NFL wide receivers, according to spotrac.com. Last season, meanwhile, Garcon was tied for 29th in receiving touchdowns (6), tied for 33rd in receptions (72) and was 45th in yards (777).

So let’s see…13th highest cap charge next season in exchange for 33rd in receptions (and second on his own team to Jordan Reed’s 87). Something’s out of whack, right?

Based on the numbers above, it appears that the Redskins aren’t getting their money’s worth. Buuuuut ....different players have different values for different teams. And that's the situation the Redskins are confronted with when it comes to Garcon, I think. 

He’s a productive player and, at 29 years old, he's got another good year (or three) left in the tank if he stays healthy. He’s also exactly what GM scot McCloughan says he wants for the Redskins—a tough player who is passionate about the game and can be counted on in the clutch.

I don’t suspect Garcon would accept a pay cut because he knows that he'd easily get another big payday elsewhere. I also don’t think the Redskins would be able to get similar production from a reserve currently on the roster, a draft pick or a lower priced free agent. In fact, if McCloughan went into the market to sign a player comparable to Garcon, he’d probably end up spending a similar amount of money, while taking on a lot of uncertainties with regard to injury history, scheme/locker room fit, etc.

That’s a long-winded way of saying I agree with Tandler on this one. Garcon, indeed, comes with a hefty price tag. But his value to the Redskins—not to mention his importance to an emerging quarterback who needs weapons around him to succeed—I see Garcon playing at least one more season in Washington. 

25 Questions series

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Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

You're going to feel absurd for reading the following sentence, but probably not as absurd as it felt to type the following sentence.

The Redskins, who are on their fourth option at QB, who made the '18 Giants look like the '72 Dolphins and who are large underdogs this weekend to the 4-9 Jaguars, actually still have a straightforward path to the playoffs.

Now, the word "straightforward" only applies to the path on paper, because realistically, there's nothing straightforward about fixing the litany of issues that are plaguing Washington at the moment.

Regardless, by losing on Monday night to the Seahawks, the Vikings blew a chance to separate themselves from a pack of NFC teams chasing(?) them and their final wild card spot. The Redskins are one of those teams, and here's how they could pass Minnesota to qualify for the postseason:

With the way the season is unfolding, you'd expect the Burgundy and Gold's playoff scenario to involve a bunch of teams losing a bunch of times in these final three weeks. The tweet above illustrates that's clearly not the case. They only need Minnesota to drop one more to go along with the Redskins winning out.

Of course, the Redskins stringing three straight plays together without committing a holding penalty feels like too much to ask for, so anyone expecting a three-game winning streak is either a bit crazy or a relative of Josh Johnson. But still, they're not out of the hunt quite yet. Somehow.

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Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

The Redskins gave up 40 points and more than 400 yards in a loss to the Giants last Sunday, and that was without Odell Beckham suited up for New York. 

The Redskins have lost four straight games, and five of six, while giving up more than 30 points three times. 

The Redskins surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Giants, and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in their last six games. 

You get the idea. 

After the Washington defense got out to an impressive start to the season, things have fallen apart down the stretch.

Despite the struggles, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has no intention of shaking up his coaching staff.

"No. Not really," Gruden said on the Redskins Talk podcast when asked about any coaching changes. 

As the Redskins struggle and lose their grip on a playoff spot, it's not unheard of to think some staff changes might be coming. The Panthers fired two defensive assistants last weekend, and as the NFL season approaches the finish line, more coaches will lose their jobs. 

In Washington though, it seems the staff is safe. Still, the Giants loss stings. 

The Redskins' offense has been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and along the offensive line. There was some leeway for a loss to New York, but not when the home team got down 40-0 to a 4-8 Giants team. 

That type of deficit brings questions. Questions about the coaches, questions about effort.

On Sunday, Gruden made clear he understands his future is week to week.

"We have a game to win next week in Jacksonville," the coach said. "We have to go about trying to find a way to do it."

On Monday, he made clear his assistants are safe. As far as he is concerned anyway. 

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