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Coles Traded: It must be the toe

Coles Traded: It must be the toe

The on again, off again Laveranues Coles for Santana Moss trade finally happened on Saturday as the Jets ceded to Coles demand for a contract extension. From the Washington Post: The intermittently on-and-off trade between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins has been finally completed, shipping unhappy wide receiver Laveranues Coles to his old team, the Jets, for wideout Santana Moss, sources familiar with the development said today.

The main obstacle had been Coles's request for a contract extension from the Jets, partly because he believed that he initially had an agreement with Washington to be released, making him a free agent. But after fruitless talks over the past several days, the Jets and Coles's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, apparently made enough headway.According to broadcast reports the Redskins will not get any salary cap relief from Coles in this transaction. By not making this deal until after last Tuesday, it was already determined that the Redskins would take a 2005 salary cap hit of nearly $6 million if they traded or released Coles before June 1. Had Coles agreed to forgo part or all of $5 million payment on his original $13 signing bonus, they could have had that credited to their 2006 cap number. However, if the reports are correct--and that seems to be the way the deal has been heading in recent days--that won't happen.

So on April 1, the Redskins will have to cut a $5 million check and forward it to the Jets' facility. Ouch.

The question being asked is, of course, why? Why take such a big hit to trade a guy that the Skins just gave up a first-round pick and a ton of money for just two years ago? And why for Moss, who hasn't done much of anything special for the Jets?

To address the second part first, Moss doesn't suffer horribly in comparison to Coles. A first-round pick (16th overall) by the Jets, Moss has less tha half as many career catches as Coles (342-151), but has scored just one fewer touchdown (20-19) and has averaged 16 yards a catch for his career. Coles hasn't averaged that much for as much as a full season (save his rookie year when he had 22 catches). And Moss is two year younger than Coles is.

Still, even if you concede that Moss and Coles are roughly equal as players the fact is that this wasn't just a player for player trade from the Redskins' standpoint. There is the little matter of the cap hit and the wasted first rounder.

Coles' reported unhappiness with Joe Gibbs' offense was certainly the team evern considered the trade in the first place. But even is someone is desperately unhappy, you don't toss a first-rounder and five million bucks in the trash because of it. Nobody in the world, probably not even Coles, would have blamed the Redskins if they had told the receiver that they gave him big, big money so shut up and play. Coles, being the professional he is, probably would have.

Based on the facts we know, there is really only one reason that the Redskins would make this deal; they must think that Coles is damaged goods. His injured toe, the one on which he refuses to have surgery, has cost him much of the speed and explosiveness that led to the Redskins dangling the $13 million to lure him from the Jets in the first place. Rehabilitation without surgery didn't nearly do the trick to heal the toe last offseason. It was admirable that Coles gutted it out this past year, but it's safe to say that Gibbs' scheme wasn't the only factor at play in his 10.6 yards per catch average. The toe must have been a big issue as well.

Faced with diminishing returns, it appears that the Skins decided to cut their losses, get what they could for Coles, swallowed the bitter pill of the money and the first, and move on.

This is all speculation, mind you. But so was the notion that David Patten would be a good target for the Skins and, well, we know how that turned out.

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

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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Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.