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Hatcher's contract good for both Redskins, player

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Hatcher's contract good for both Redskins, player

It looks like both the player and the team got what they wanted from the contract that Jason Hatcher signed with the Redskins on Friday. Hatcher gets a good chunk of money up front and the team gets the ability to escape the contract in a couple of years with minimal pain.

The top-line numbers are $27.5 million over four years but as anyone who follows the NFL closely knows the devil is in the details. And, as noted, the details have something good for Hatcher and the Redskins.

The contract has $10.5 million in guaranteed money and it’s fully guaranteed. In fact, Hatcher probably already has the $9 million signing bonus sitting in his bank account. His $1.5 million salary for this year is also guaranteed.

After that, there are no guarantees, no option or roster bonuses, no other complexities to the contract. Hatcher has non-guaranteed salaries of $3 million next year ($5.25 million cap hit), $6.5 million in 2016 ($8.75 million cap), and $7.5 million in 2017 ($9.75 million cap).

The absence of guarantees after the first year is a reflection of Hatcher’s age. He will be 32 before training camp starts. If in 2016 the Redskins don’t think they want to pay a player entering his age 34 season $6.5 million they would be able to release him while taking a very manageable dead cap hit of $4.5 million and they would be saving $2 million in cap charges (his salary minus the dead cap hit).

If that happens, Hatcher will ride into the sunset having made $13.5 million for two years of work. Not bad for a guy who just finished making $6 million over the last three years.

If they hang on to him for another year, they will have $2.25 million in dead cap to deal with if he’s cut in 2017.

Hatcher will have to be at or near his Pro-Bowl level of performance this year and pretty good next season to make the deal worthwhile. There is good reason to think that he will but with any free agent (or with any player in any situation, for that matter), you never know.

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Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

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