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Any which way

Any which way

The Redskins' trade proposal for Chad Johnson may have been dead on arrival in Cincinnati, but it did serve a purpose. It added another layer of mystery surrounding what Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder are going to do with the team's first-round selection on Saturday.

Cerrato has been letting everyone who will listen know for weeks that the Redskins want to hear offers to trade down. There was some word going around that they would be looking to deal to move up if someone they liked was still available around pick 15. Now the world knows that the Skins would deal their first pick and more for a veteran wide receiver.

If putting up a smokescreen and obscuring their intentions are the goals, the Redskins have succeeded. I make that statement knowing full well that this could all be random, Keystone Cops variety confusion rather than a carefully crafted strategy of obfuscation.

Whether it's part of the master plan or mere happenstance, what was going to be a tough pick to predict is getting darn near impossible to forecast.

So, instead of throwing out a name like I did last year with LaRon Landry, let me throw out a few scenarios here. I'll start with the least likely but still possible first and then work up to the most probable.

  • Trading up—The trade up talk centered around Virginia guard Branden Albert. The thinking was that if he slid to #15 or so the Skins might pull the trigger on a deal to move into a position to snag him. However, it now appears that Albert will be gone sometime in the first dozen picks. There may be another player that has caught their eye and by the value chart they could move up to about 16th by adding their third-rounder to #21.
  • Trading for a veteran—With the Johnson deal dead and the Cardinals having spiked what is thought to be a similar offer for receiver Anquan Boldin, the Skins are running out of offers to make. Miami is shopping defensive end Jason Taylor for a first-round pick but there is not word that Washington is interested in such a deal.
  • Trading down—While there don't seem to be any solid trade partners at this point, there seldom are. Certainly Cerrato has fielded a few calls about possible deals, but the best way to spike one of those trades before it ever happens is to talk about it. The best-case scenario here would be for two or three teams to covet Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and for a bidding war to the pick to commence.
  • Use the pick—This is what happens with most picks. Teams use all but a few seconds of their allotted time trying to swing a deal and then they end up sending a name in to the podium.

Just to put some numbers to it, I'd say that the chances that they'll use the pick are very strong, about 60%. There's about a one in three chance they'll deal down and the other 7% is split between the other two options.

So who might be the pick at #21? Look for that here on Friday.

And don't forget the live draft day blog right here at realredskins.com. I won't be here right when it starts but look for me at about 4:00 or so.

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Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

Trent Williams promises that the best has yet to come from him

If you took 100 random NFL fans and asked them to name the best player in the league, there's a very strong chance none of the 100 would say Trent Williams, the Redskins left tackle who clears paths like a snowplow. But according to an in-depth ranking system published a few weeks ago from Bleacher Report, Williams is in fact the correct answer.

The system, called NFL1000, is supposed to "bring exposure" to players who aren't as appreciated as they should be, and in the eyes of the analysts who built the rankings, no one should be appreciated more than Williams, who beat out Tyron Smith and Aaron Rodgers for the top spot. But that's still not the peak of his performance, the lineman says.

No. 71 apparently just got a hold of the NFL1000 list, and in a Wednesday Instagram post that featured it, he said his "best is yet to be seen." Sorry, opposing pass rushers.

In addition to that accolade from Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus chose Williams as their highest-rated offensive lineman, and the Professional Football Writers of America assigned him to their All-NFC team. It wasn't a perfect year for the Pro Bowler, however, as he was suspended for four games during a critical stretch in the season's second half (the Redskins were 2-2 without him).

Nevertheless, because an offensive lineman is often doing his job best when you aren't hearing his name called, it can be easy to take someone like Williams for granted. These types of awards, though, show the 28-year-old's value — value that he says will continue to climb in 2017. 

MORE REDSKINS: SETTING THE ODDS ON WHAT THE 'SKINS WILL DO WITH COUSINS

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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