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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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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

 

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

RICHMOND— The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to. The key points on offense were published earlier; here’s a look at the defense.

Rebuilding the line

In a way, the situation on the D-line is similar to the one at wide receiver in that free agency and a release has created some holes. Chris Baker, the team’s best defensive lineman last year, left for Tampa Bay as a free agent and Ricky Jean Francois, arguably the second-best DL last year, was cut.

This is not all bad news. The wide receivers were one of the strengths of the team. The D-line was one of the weak spots so perhaps doing some major renovating there is just what the unit needs.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

The big move was one they really hadn’t planned on. Defensive end Jonathan Allen was projected by many to be a top-10 draft pick. But he slipped right into the Redskins’ lap with the 17th pick. He gets to work on Thursday and the sooner he can get up to NFL speed the better. They also signed two free agents in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and they re-signed Ziggy Hood. As with Allen, their roles will be determined over the course of the next few weeks of practice and during the preseason games.

Nobody knows who is going to end up playing nose tackle. It could be McGee, Hood, former first-round pick Phil Taylor or one of the 2016 practice squad members, Joey Mbu or A. J. Francis. The fact that there is no obvious candidate is troubling and perhaps a sign that the line will show only marginal improvement this year.

Starters at ILB

The Redskins got an upgrade here late in free agency with the signing of Zach Brown, who was last seen playing in the Pro Bowl for the Bills. How he fits in with incumbent starters Will Compton and Mason Foster remains to be seen. All three are likely to earn substantial playing time and who plays in what situation will be sorted out here in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

Adjustments at safety

The Redskins could be set at safety for the next several seasons. Or they could be scrambling to make adjustments by midseason. Su’a Cravens moves to strong safety from outside linebacker. He may be a step slower than the ideal for his position and he needs to make up for it by being, as he likes to say, assignment perfect. The Redskins signed D. J. Swearinger, who has been a strong safety for most of his career, to play free safety.

When the dust settles, they could be the best safety tandem the Redskins have had in years. Or they could be showing the effects of trying to put square pegs into round holes.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.