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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Tight end

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Tight end

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here.  Today the focus turns to the offense starting with the tight ends.

2016 final game starter: Jordan Reed

Reed was on his way to a monster season before suffering a shoulder injury on Thanksgiving in Dallas. He was on pace to catch over 100 passes for 1,100 yards but he played in only three of the remaining six games and caught seven more passes for 56 yards. There are many reasons cited for the Redskins’ stumble down the stretch that cost them the playoffs but the absence of Reed’s production in December certainly is high on the list.

Departures: None

Projected 2017 starter: Reed

Reed’s five-year, $46.5 million extension signed a year ago kicks in this year. Even if he has an average Jordan Reed year he will be a relative salary cap bargain with a cap hit of $5.7 million.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 8.0

2017 reserves: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

There was plenty of eyebrows raised when Scot McCloughan signed the 32-year-old Davis, who appeared to be at the end of the line after a lost 2015 season with the 49ers and Broncos. But he turned out to be a very valuable addition, playing well both when Reed was sidelined and when the two were on the field at the same time.

MORE REDSKINS: Team announces preseason opponents

Carrier and Paul split the season as the third tight end. Paul played the first eight games while Carrier was on the PUP list while recovering from a serious knee injury he sustained late in the 2015 season. Then Paul suffered a shoulder injury against the Bengals in London and Carrier came off PUP to replace him.

Where can the tight ends find improvement?

Reed staying healthy for 16 games has the most potential to help but that is not something the team can count on. In his four years in the league he has played in 9, 11, 14, and 12 games. It’s not a coincidence that the team’s best year in that stretch, 2015, was the year that Reed played in 14 games.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins take a tight end in the draft. Jay Gruden has mentioned that the team could use a blocking tight end so he can line up a third tight end who, unlike Ty Nsekhe, is a threat to catch a pass. There were six tight ends at the combine who weighed in at 255 or more pounds and they could have their eyes on one of those in what is, for a change, a deep class at the position.

Locks and bubble players

Reed and Davis are set. Carrier may be on the outside looking in. The bubble player is Paul. If they draft a tight end he could have trouble making the 53-man roster.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money. 

If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.

It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.

The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million. 

Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media. 

The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins. 

MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins

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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick

Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long

As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.

RELATED: 3 Redskins who are up, 3 down

The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.

Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).

Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.

On the bubble: Roullier

In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick

You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.  

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.