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Are the Redskins saving their cap dollars for 2017?

scot-mccloughan-2015.png

Are the Redskins saving their cap dollars for 2017?

Most expected the Redskins to remain relatively inactive during free agency this year. During the Senior Bowl practices Scot McCloughan said that the Redskins wouldn’t be “big players” in free agency.

If he reversed course and had a big signing or two he would not have been the first GM to render earlier statements inoperative. But things have been quiet with the Redskins bringing in three defensive role players in S David Bruton, DE Kendall Reyes, and LB Terence Garvin.

They still have about $15 million in cap space left. They could have fit a player like nose tackle Damon Harrison, who plays a position of great need, into the budget. His contract with the Giants has a 2016 cap hit of $6.6 million and the Redskins could have probably squeezed that another million or so lower if they had wanted to.

But there were good reasons for McCloughan to show restraint. In fact, I can list six of them right here:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Pierre Garçon
  3. Chris Baker
  4. Jordan Reed
  5. Junior Galette
  6. DeSean Jackson

 

These players will be free agents in 2017. It’s safe to say that they are among the team’s most important players. Cousins’ passing accounted for 74 percent of the team’s offensive output. Garçon, Reed, and Jackson accounted for 55 percent of Cousins’ passing yardage. Baker was among the most valuable players on defense and if Galette regains his 2013-2014 form, when he posted double digit sacks with the Saints, he will provide needed pass pressure.

In addition, one key player on offense, Morgan Moses, will be eligible to get a contract extension as will cornerback Bashaud Breeland. But those six players will be key players that the team will either want to get extended or, perhaps in the cases of Jackson and Garçon, replaced in the free agent market. The two wide receivers will both be 30 years old in 2017 and the Redskins may prefer to move on. Although one could be replaced in the draft they still might have to invest in a free agent receiver in 2017.

The last thing that McCloughan wants to do is to commit a lot of money to free agents this year and find the team cap strapped when it comes to taking care of some of their own players in 2017.

The good thing is that the Redskins should have plenty of cap space to enable them to keep the players they want to keep. It’s too early to talk about 2017 cap space with any precision but after they sign their 2016 draft picks they will have about $110 million committed assuming they don’t sign any more free agents to multi-year deals. There already have been reports that the NFL salary cap will increase by as much as $10 million next year, from about $155 million in 2016 to around $165 million next year.

That would mean that the Redskins could have about $55 million in cap space to work with. That would be plenty to take care of Cousins, Baker, Reed, and Galette and to have the flexibility to deal with the situation at wide receiver. They could also consider extending Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses. Both would be eligible for new deals after the 2016 season.

In any case, the Redskins can roll over whatever is left over from this year into 2017, adding some $10 million towards building an even stronger war chest to be able to keep their own.

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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