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Haves vs. Nots?

Haves vs. Nots?

Is the NFL headed towards a multi-lateral war?

At least one team owner thinks it may be. From David Elfin in the Washington Times: After 45 years as a pro football owner, Buffalo's 86-year-old Ralph Wilson has earned the right to be heard. So when Wilson says the NFL's ongoing collective bargaining agreement discussion is more of a club vs. club than league vs. union problem, it requires some attention.

As an owner in one of the NFL's smallest markets, Wilson doesn't like the growing disparity in revenue between the big-money clubs and the rest of the league, nor what he perceives as the richer group's disdain for the less wealthy majority.
We've visited this before, but it's worth another look as each passing day seems to have the three sides--the so-called "rich" owners, the "low-revenue" owners and the players--hunkering down a little bit more into their respective positions. The higher-revenue owners want to be able to keep what they have in terms of income from luxury seating, stadium naming rights, concessions and parking, the less-wealthy owners want their cut and the players want a bigger slice of the pie.

Wilson's remarks had the same whiny tone as have those of Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney:
There's about eight or 10 of the high-revenue clubs that seem to be united in a bloc. They want to keep the disparity. They want to knock us down and have us get up at the count of nine, so they can have another fight and knock us down again.
That doesn't mean he and his fellow have-not owners don't have a case, at least a partial one. Nobody would buy a $250 club seat and a $7 beer to watch the Redskins play the Redskins, or at least they wouldn't do it eight times a year. As Marvin Gaye sang with Kim Weston, "It Takes Two." There needs to be a reasonably competitive contest on the field for people to shell out that kind of money. If the Bills visit FedEx Field, they are entitled to a reasonable share of the revenue that such an event generates and the definition of reasonable could include a cut of the luxury seat revenue, concessions, and parking.

Where the case of the owners like Wilson is at it weakest, however, is when he frets about competitive balance being affected.
We just want to have enough revenue under the new collective bargaining agreement that gives us a chance to field a competitive team. If we don't get that, then along the line the league is going to be totally unbalanced. It's not going to be the league it used to be.
Let's see here, Wilson's team was eliminated from the playoffs on the last weeked of the season. The Colts, who, according to this article, take in about half the revenue that the Redskins do, have gone deep into the playoff for the last few years. Rooney's Steelers went 15-1 and lost in the AFC title game. Meanwhile, two of the primary teams in the gang of ten bullies, the Redskins and Cowboys, both went 6-10. It's hard to make a case that this "imbalance" in revenue is having any effect on the field.

And hey, Ralph, if you want to play in Ralph Wilson Stadium, fine. I'm sure that the NFL owners who have sold the naming rights for their stadiums would probably rather have the buildings named after them, too. But it's a luxury that, in their view, they can't afford. Wilson has made a choice here and the other owners shouldn't, in essence, pay him for the luxury of having his own name on the stadium.

Along those lines, what assurances are there that any revenue that Snyder, Jerry Jones and the others might share with Wilson, Rooney and company would get put towards making their football teams more competitive (assuming that that is a necessity)? Will they put the money into more scouting, better video or workout equipment, more quality coaches, or will they just pocket the cash? This is what has happened in baseball as the Yankees, Red Sox, and others pay into a fund that's supposed to help competitive balance. Some of the receipients of the so-called luxury tax have spent to try to improve their teams; others have simply put it on to the bottom line. There is little reason to believe that the NFL owners would not fall into the same line.

And changing the revenue-sharing formula is not just a matter of fairness, it's one of cold, hard fiscal reality. Ralph Wilson didn't put a dime into the stadium that's named after him and he paid off any debt he may have incurred in buying the team long, long ago. Daniel Snyder is making mortgage payments on FedEx Field and on the Redskins and when the financing was set up, it was presumed that he would have all of the luxury seating revenue in order to make the payments. Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans:
If you come back in and change the model and take too much away from them, then they don't have enough money to service the debut. You've got people, just like ourselves, who paid big money for the franchise based on the existing model. If you change that model, all of sudden you're taking away the value you've paid for. Those factors have to be addressed.
Most of the money we're talking about here is also exempt from being calculated into the formula that determines what the salary cap is and that, naturally, has the interest of Gene Upshaw and the player's union. Just like one could make a reasonable arguement that the visiting team deserves a share of the "untouchable" revenue, the players do, too. In fact, you could make a much stronger case for the players getting a bigger cut.

But this leads to sticky problems in that you can't share luxury revenue with the players without sharing it with the "poor" owners because they will scream that they can't afford a higher salary cap without higher revenues. So a deal with the players can't be achieved without one among the owners.

The NFL has a great way of coming up with creative solutions to issues such as this. Paul Taglibue and the rest of the league will have their imaginations taxed to the max as they try to come up with a solution to this one.

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 24, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 48 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 17
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The offense is up today, the defense tomorrow.

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Cousins and the team didn’t agree on the contract but that changes nothing for 2017. The elimination of two-a-day practices makes a fourth “camp arm” QB unnecessary so these three will handle all the snaps from now until when the season ends.   

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

Bubble: Mack Brown, Keith Marshall

Kelley skipped the drive-through window meals during the offseason, switching to a healthier diet to get himself in better shape. He will need to be strong to hold off Perine, who will make a push for playing time. Brown could be on or off depending on numbers elsewhere on the roster. If Marshall can stay healthy, he could force his way into the picture but the health is a big “if”.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Bubble: Brian Quick

I’m not sure if Grant, who caught nine passes while playing in all 16 games last year, should be a lock but it appears that he is. Davis is a projection; he has a lot to learn but if he is showing significant progress he could push out the veteran Quick, who was not impressive during the offseason practices.    

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Bubble: Derek Carrier

Paul and Sprinkle could be considered on the bubble as well. The normal allowance is for three tight ends on the 53-man roster. Reed and Davis are locks, they need Paul for special teams, and Sprinkle is slated to be the blocking tight end. But Sprinkle needs to add a lot of polish to his game and Paul has the injury bug to fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Vinston Painter, Chase Roullier

Bubble: John Kling

The starters are locked in unless Kouandjio can come up with a huge camp and push Lauvao out of the starting job. Roullier could be the backup center but if he’s not ready the Redskins could look for a veteran off the waiver wire for that spot.

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to the Redskins.

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.

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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP