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Cut or Keep Walt Harris

Cut or Keep Walt Harris

Cut or keep: Walt Harris

With the salary cap deadline fast approaching and the Redskins some $18 million over the projected cap, there are some tough choices to be made. Some players that the Redskins might otherwise want to keep may have to get let go. Today we look at the merits of cutting or keeping cornerback Walt Harris.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Harris has a particularly big target on his #27 jersey, as his departure would save a cool $2 million against the cap. That’s a pretty big number for a player who is not a starter.

Well, it’s not in the plans for him to be a starter, anyway. But we saw last year how much things can change.

It was expected that he would just start the first couple of games while first-round draftee Carlos Rogers got his feet wet as a nickel back and then the two would switch roles. As it turned out, Rogers did go into the starting role in for the third game of the season against Seattle, but only because Harris was inactive with a calf injury. After Harris was healthy, he started in seven straight games before yielding to Rogers in Week 13. Rogers only lasted two games before being sidelined with a torn bicep and Harris started the last three games.

If you were keeping count you know that adds up to 11 of the Redskins 16 regular-season games that Walt Harris started. You’d want to think twice, maybe three or four times, about getting rid of someone who started that much in on a team whose strength was defense. The team was 7-4 with him starting. In addition, even if he’s not one of the top two corners, the nickel back is nearly as important as the starter with all of the three- and four-receiver sets teams use these days.

And it’s inarguable that he made his presence felt on the field. He had 55 tackles, more than Rogers or Shawn Springs, plus an interception and a forced fumble.

His detractors would counter that Harris made so many tackles because he plays so far off the opposing receiver. That allows a lot of completions in front of him making the tackles necessary.

The bottom line on this is, well, the bottom line. With the team struggling to save every dollar to get under the cap, a $2 million savings for even a sometime starter who will be 32 by the time the 2006 season starts is too much to ignore. The Redskins need to let Harris go and, if he doesn’t want to come back for a salary at or near the vet minimum, go with some younger players to back up Springs and Rogers. The Broncos did OK with rookies Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworthy playing key roles at the cornerback position last year and the Redskins may need to do something similar in 2006.

Note on John Hall:

In an article earlier this week, I came down in favor of keeping kicker John Hall. At the time, the savings for cutting him were said to be $780,000. At that number, the view here was, he was worth keeping.

However, our resident capologist here at WarpathInsiders.com has found some new information and it turns out that the cut savings for Hall is slightly over $1 million. That leap into seven figures of savings makes what was a close call in favor of keeping him into an easy one to cut him loose.

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 493 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Mathews had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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