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Can the Redskins afford to sign DeSean Jackson?

Can the Redskins afford to sign DeSean Jackson?

Can the Redskins afford to sign DeSean Jackson?

It’s a simple question with a complex answer.

The short answer is yes. Despite the fact that they have about $7 million in cap room left for the 2014 season, they could construct a contract that would meet Jackson’s contract demands, which likely would be something in the $9 to $10 million per year range.

The contract that Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer could use as a model is the six-year, $54 million deal that the Saints gave safety Jairus Byrd earlier this month. Byrd got an $11 million signing bonus and a 2014 salary of $1.3 million. By prorating the cap hit for the signing bonus out over the first five years of the deal (the maximum allowed), the first-year cap hit comes to a manageable $3.5 million.

Of course the Saints pay for that low cap hit down the line. In fact, next year a guaranteed $6 million roster bonus boots Byrd’s 2015 cap number up to $10.3 million. It’s likely that the Saints have the option to convert that $6 million into signing bonus, which would reduce that cap hit to about $5.8 million. But that would push the cap number in each of the subsequent seasons to well over $10 million and it gets harder and harder to soften the impact.

The primary cap issue that such a deal would cause stems from the fact that the Redskins already have a high-dollar free agent wide receiver in Pierre Garçon. His contract carries cap hits in the neighborhood of $10 million in each of the next three years. Adding another receiver with high cap charges would push their wide receiver spending into somewhat dangerous territory. They already are ninth in the NFL in cap dollars spent on wide receivers. Even a modest cap hit for deal structured like Byrd’s would make them fourth.

That would not necessarily be impossible to manage but it would create a situation where they would have to squeeze spending in other areas.

But it should be noted that the NFL salary cap is expected to go up by roughly $10 million in each of the next two years. That makes it possible to put items like a roster bonus in deals the next couple of years because the increase in the cap will help absorb it.

The bottom line is that the Redskins could “afford” Jackson but there will be opportunity costs to doing so. They would be much less flexible going forward. But you can argue that you maintain flexibility for situations just like this.

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Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

All signs point to the Redskins starting Arie Kouandjio at left guard this weekend against the Eagles, and the coaching staff knows it's a big chance for the second-year man.

Incumbent starter Shawn Lauvao injured his groin last week against the Cardinals, and has not practiced all week. Assuming he doesn't play, this would mark Kouandjio's second start this season. He also got the start against the Browns in Week 4.

Washington coach Jay Gruden did not speak glowingly of Kouandjio's play against Cleveland, but it wasn't a negative review, either.

"He’s played one game, he played OK," the coach said. "He has another great opportunity for him. He’s waited his turn, done what’s asked of him. Practiced hard, played hard, and it’s a great opportunity.”

With center Spencer Long currently in concussion protocol and backup John Sullivan started to go in the middle of the Redskins offensive line, the group will have a number of new faces against the Eagles. The right side of the line, with guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses, will be the same as its been all year, though both of those players are nursing ankle injuries. 

"We have confidence in the guys that if some of those guys that are backups need to step up and be ready to roll," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!