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Cap review: Redskins likely can't afford a top WR

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Cap review: Redskins likely can't afford a top WR

Salary cap review: Wide receiver

As Jay Gruden continues to assemble his coaching staff, people in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $28 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. First up, wide receivers.

The Redskins currently have five wide receivers under contract.

Salary Cap number
Pierre Garcon $7,100,000 $9,700,000
Leonard Hankerson $645,000 $821,594
Nick Williams $495,000 $495,000
Josh Bellamy $495,000 $495,000
David Gettis $730,000 $730,000
Total $9,465,000 $12,241,594

Some notes:

—The Redskins will carry a dead cap charge of $3.77 million for Josh Morgan’s voiding contract.

—Aldrick Robinson’s contract also expires this year but since he has only two seasons of NFL experience (he spent his rookie year on the practice squad) he will be an exclusive-rights free agent. It’s likely that the Redskins will sign him to a one-year deal worth $645,000, the third-year player minimum.

—Garçon has the second-highest cap number on the team behind offensive tackle Trent Williams.

—This is a very reasonable amount to spend on wide receivers. The Eagles, for example, are carrying a $12.5 million cap charge for DeSean Jackson alone.

Adding and subtracting

Many analysts believe that the Redskins need to add another quality wide receiver to the mix to compliment Garçon and to draw some coverage away from him. They could do that but they are likely to stay away from the highest priced players who are likely to be on the market such as the Broncos’ Eric Decker.

Top-notch receivers are among the most expensive items in free agency. This year Mike Wallace, the top prize in last year’s free agency period, will cost the Dolphins $17.5 million against the cap this year. That’s just the going rate.

If the Redskins do decide to add another wide receiver they could look in the draft. A player picked with the 34th pick, the team’s top selection this year, would carry very reasonable cap number. Justin Hunter, the player picked 34th last year, carried a cap charge of just over $986,000 in his rookie season. The player picked in the comparable spot this year will make slightly more.

Should they want a known quantity at wide receiver they probably will have to look at someone who is not at the premium level, maybe someone like James Jones of the Packers or Jerome Simpson of the Vikings (Jay Gruden coached him with the Bengals in 2011). Their maximum would be an annual cap hit of something around $6 million. That’s right around what they were paying Morgan the past two years.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.