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Either Way the Redskins Win

Either Way the Redskins Win

Either way, the Redskins win

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
Posted 9 AM EST 03.05.06

Within 12 hours, we will know whether or not there will be an extension to the NFL collective bargaining agreement. OK, there could be another movement in the deadline, but if there is that will mean that the two sides in the dispute are in agreement on anything remotely resembling a major issue. They might take Monday and part of Tuesday to haggle over what the deductible on the dental plan will be, settle the three thousand dollars they may be apart on the third-year veteran minimum salary, and the like.

So, sometime on Sunday when they either get it done or they don’t it will be possible to resume an informed discussion of what the Redskins will do during this offseason. In either case it will be a fun discussion to have.

It’s better for the Redskins—and for the NFL—if there is a CBA extension. Never mind the long-term ramifications (plenty of time to go into those after the issue is decided), the simple fact is that the Redskins, who currently have a salary cap figure of about $115 million, will be able to get well under a 2006 salary cap that will be around $105 million. Some simple restructures will get them under the number and trimming a few high-priced spare parts like Matt Bowen and Tom Tupa will give them room to address some needs through free agency.

Clearly, a CBA extension is a win for the Redskins. The alternative, however, isn’t exactly a huge loss.

Certainly, in order to get under the $94.5 million cap, the Redskins would have to take more drastic action. They would have to trigger a series of complex restructured contracts that about a half a dozen players have agreed to. More players, including kicker John Hall and nickel back Walt Harris, would have to be jettisoned. It would be difficult to sign any high-priced free agents and even the bargain basement types would have to be chosen carefully. For that matter, it would be hard for the Skins to sign their own free agents including safety Ryan Clark and tight end Robert Royal.

But the major purge of veterans predicted (some would say hoped for) by such national writers as Pete Prisco and Len Pasquarelli apparently will not be taking place. Due to the willingness of players such as Mark Brunell and Shawn Springs to participate in some pretty major reworks of their contracts, the Redskins won’t have to cut nearly as many veterans as the cap “experts” that Prisco and Pasquarelli consulted with for their articles thought.

(Before going any further, it has to be acknowledged that some scenarios less dire than those pained by Pete and Lenny but still rather gloomy were presented here in the past week or so. The difference between them and me is, though, that if my article turns out to be dramatically different from reality, I will come out and acknowledge it and examine why I was off base. Pete and Lenny will not.)

In short, if there is no CBA extension we will get to see the Redskins stun the media doubters. It appears that the dreaded cap hell will be averted. And not because the Redskins got lucky, but because they knew what they were doing. They were hoping for the best in terms of a CBA extension, but evidently they were well prepared for the worst. Said Jon Jansen’s agent Rick Smith of the organization, "They have a plan and they'll get it done. They weren't desperate. I don't know why there was this big doomsday [outlook] for them. They'll get to where they need to get."

Wow, you mean that Dan Snyder actually had a plan? The temperamental, reckless, wild-spending one actually knew what he was doing? A self-made millionaire actually anticipates what might happen and make contingency plans? Shocking!

Other teams, who do not receive the media scrutiny that the Snyder Redskins do, are being forced to turn to more desperate moves to try to make the cap. One of them, the Indianapolis Colts, might even try to sue the league to change its interpretation of the rules to get under the cap. This from the Indianapolis Star:
Dan Emerson, the Colts' general counsel, said the team has not ruled out seeking a temporary injunction to Wednesday's decision by Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Burbank, a special master who arbitrates disputes within the NFL, ruled the Colts could not convert substantial roster bonuses due Manning and Harrison into signing bonuses and prorate them for four years to lower each player's hit against the salary cap.I think that it’s reasonable to assume that Prisco, Pasquarelli, and the rest of the Skins-bashing media out there would be having a field day throwing darts at Snyder if the Redskins’ general counsel had uttered a word about an injunction. So far, Colts owner Jimmy Irsay, who had to work hard to inherit the team from his father, has been free of media criticism.

Again, it would be better if an 11th hour, 59th minute miracle can be pulled out and a CBA extension went through. The start of free agency would be delayed for a few more days for the agreement to be ratified and digested and then the Redskins would be able to crank up Redskins One and start wooing free agent receivers and defensive ends. The only downside would be that their Plan B, their plan for getting under the cap without a CBA extension, would forever remain under wraps. We won’t be able to see just how smart the Redskins are and we won’t be able to see the critics squirm or, at least try to ignore the obvious. The meltdown on the Cowboys’ message boards and them trying to claim that Bowen was a key, irreplaceable contributor for the Redskins will be equally enjoyable to witness.

The start of free agency without a new CBA was supposed to be Apocalypse Now for the Redskins. If that’s the case, I think we’re going to love the smell of the napalm tomorrow morning. It will smell like victory.

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

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