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.
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.
—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 4923 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 Matthew 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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In case you missed 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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