We are one week away from the arbitration hearing concerning the Redskins and Cowboys salary cap penalties. Albert Breer of NFL.com reported why some around the league in addition to the Giants John Mara (who was born naked into the world and had to inherit everything he has) are upset with the fact that the two teams treated the uncapped year like, well, an uncapped year.The anger at the two penalized teams apparently stems from the fact that franchise tag salaries are based on the average of the top five salaries and bonuses at the position. The large bonus payments the Redskins and Cowboys paid to certain members of their respective teams had an inflationary effect on the franchise player salaries.The payment of a large salary to wide receiver Miles Austin in the first year of his redone deal apparently upset the Chargers organization. Austins big salary pushed up the franchise tag for the wide receiver position from what would have been about 9.5 million to about 11.3 million. That made it more difficult for San Diego to franchise tag him in 2011 and, because a player who is franchised for a second straight year gets 120 percent of his previous years salary.The Redskins 21 million payment to Albert Haynesworth caused the franchise tag at defensive tackle to jump from around 7 million to 12.5 million. That cost the Ravens extra money when they tagged Haloti Ngata and the Dolphins had to shell out more to franchise nose tackle Paul Soliai.Perhaps some teams do have a right to be upset. However, their anger is misdirected.The uncapped year, which has been built in to the last year of every CBA since the advent of the salary cap in the early 1990s, is among the provisions in the last year of the CBA that are supposed to incentivize the two sides to never enter the last year of the CBA.The lack of both a salary cap and floor, the extension of experience needed to become an unrestricted free agent from four to six years, and other clauses were supposed to push the two sides to the table to get a new deal hammered out.But the owners of the Chargers, Ravens, and Dolphins, along with every other NFL owner, voted to opt out of the CBA negotiated in 2006 early. And then months and months passed and they didnt even sit down for a serious negotiating session with the players. The lockout took effect soon after the CBA expired.The owners wanted the lockout. They therefore knew that they would have to accept the uncapped and unfloored year and the consequences, including a potential increase in franchise tags salaries, that could result.So they got their lockout. They got what seems to be a fairly favorable settlement with what is projected to be a four-year run with a flat salary cap. They want these gains without needing to drop a few million here and a few million there due to increases in the franchise tag that should have been fully expected following an uncapped year.In short, they got the upside of opting out of the CBA early, playing hardball, letting the CBA expire, and locking the players out. They had to deal with some of the inevitable downside to that strategy and they are upset about it.Nobody really knows what criteria arbitrator Stephen Burbank will use to arrive at his decision but it should be based on the letter of the law in the CBA. A few million dollars on franchise tags here and there should not be a factor.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs.
"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."
Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster.
In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable.
That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.
While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense.
Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting.
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Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 63 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.
40-yard dash: TBD
Projected draft round: 1
What they’re saying
Slippery and long. Combination of arm length and flexible torso allow him to slither into gaps and create disruptions for blockers. Freaky combination of size and athleticism. Can overwhelm blockers with pure strength and explosiveness when his feet are right. Strong enough in lower half to play through contact and cause stress in the pocket. Has tremendous amount of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.
How he fits the Redskins: If you’re reading this, you know that the 2016 Redskins’ defensive line was manned by one pretty good player in Chris Baker and a cast of journeymen and youngsters with some potential but little immediate production. They need to add at least one top-flight D-lineman in the draft and McDowell could be the guy.
If you are spending a top draft pick on a D-lineman you want one who can be an asset against the run and be able to rush the passer. McDowell’s profile fits that job description. He could defend the run as an end in the base 3-4 defense and kick inside to provide pass rush up the middle in nickel situations.
McDowell is generally rated behind Jonathan Allen of Alabama and Caleb Brantley of Florida among interior defensive line prospects. Allen and Brantley are likely to be gone by the time the Redskins pick at No. 17 but McDowell should be there as an option.
MORE REDSKINS: Will Chris Baker be back in 2017?
Potential issues: His production was inconsistent and his technique needs a lot of work. The fact of the matter is, I can probably copy and paste that sentence into the write up of virtually any defensive lineman in the draft. The college linemen who are NFL prospects are generally just bigger and stronger than the players trying to block him.
A look of some plays in the Spartans’ game against Notre Dame shows McDowell’s inconsistency. At times, he can’t disengage from a single blocker and a few plays later he was able skirt around three blockers and make a tackle for a loss. He also was good at getting push upfield when he rushed the passer but too often the pressure was not in the direction of the quarterback.
McDowell also had some issues with major penalties. He drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag in the Notre Dame game, although the film didn’t show what he did to earn it. Later in the year he was tossed from a game against Indiana, a game his team lost in overtime. Since the ejection came in the second half, he had to sit out the first half of Michigan State’s next game.
Bottom line: Interviews with his coaches, MSU weight room staff, etc., will be keys in the evaluation of McDowell. If the Redskins try to teach him the proper fundamentals of line play will he absorb it? Will consistency come with maturity (he will be 20 on draft day)?
It seems like a good fit as if McDowell is believed to be coachable he may be the best player available at No. 17 and even if the Redskins manage to retain Chris Baker and sign another veteran or two the position will need an infusion of youth. We will see if it works out
Previously in Redskins draft countdown: