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Jansen on the bubble?

Jansen on the bubble?

It has been pretty obvious to all who have watched the Washington Redskins this year that Jon Jansen has been struggling. It has been widely assumed, however, that Jansen would get some time in the regular season to work through his issues.

Maybe, maybe not, according to Jim Zorn.

The Redskins' head coach said today in his post-game presser that there is a "battle, a very close battle" between Jansen, who was known as "The Rock" before injuries put him out for the 2004 and almost all of the 2007 seasons, and second-year player Stephon Heyer for the starting right tackle job.

Although Zorn threw Jansen a bone saying that, in contrast to the aforementioned observations, Jansen has been "solid this preseason".

Heyer got praised as well, with Zorn saying that "helped himself last night. He shored things up for us," putting him in position to "compete for a position."

Should Heyer earn the starting job one would have to wonder if Jansen would even make the team. If you're going for youth, why not go all the way? Jansen signed a five-year, $23 million contract extension before the '07 season. Why keep an expensive 32-year-old veteran around when you could use his roster spot for a less-costly youngster?

The cost of cutting him would be high, but not prohibitively so. He has about $6 million in unallocated bonus money from 2009-2011. Subtract his scheduled '09 salary of about $1.3 million and you'd have a $4.7 million dead cap hit for 2009. Against a cap of about $120 million, that's certainly doable.

While it's possible, releasing Jansen may not be such a good idea. His 2008 salary is just $730,000 and considering that his potential replacement would also cost at least $300,000, resulting in a savings of just over $400K.

That's not pocket change but it doesn't seem to be enough of a difference to justify whacking a guy who knows the system and who would be invaluable as a reserve. Who knows, maybe if he rides the pine for the first time in his life for a while he'll come back with a fire lit under him.

Then again, it's possible that he's just lost it. That wouldn't be the first time that happened to a 32-year old. The entire line has to be replaced over the next few years, why not start now?

Certainly such a move would represent Jim Zorn sending a message that there are no sacred cows—or rocks.

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Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

An undeniable talent, Reuben Foster seemed for months to be a lock for the Top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Alabama star is a sure tackler, playmaking force and winner of the 2016 Dick Butkus Award as the nation's best college linebacker.

The actual football season went great for Foster, he logged 115 tackles and was named the SEC Championship Game MVP. Since play on the field stopped, things have stalled. Foster had an unfortunate incident at the NFL Combine, where he was sent home after an altercation with a hospital worker. In the time since, it's come out Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample and will enter the NFL in the substance abuse program. 

Still, despite a tough two months, Foster's talent is too rich to pass up for some NFL teams. And per NFL Network's Lance Zierlein, the Redskins could be that team

In his mock draft released Wednesday, Zierlein predicts Foster's draft day slide to end with Washington at the 17th pick. From NFL.com:

Foster could fall due to off-field concerns and worries about injuries, but he fits a need for the Redskins, bringing a tough playmaker into the fold.

Beyond the diluted sample and the combine altercation, Foster also has had stinger issues throughout his career at 'Bama. He has elite speed at the linebacker position and the type of athleticism defensive coordinators dream about, though some pro scouts question if he can handle the calls of a Mike linebacker in the NFL game.

The Redskins are not desperate for interior linebacker help, this season. The team added Zach Brown in free agency, re-signed 2016 defensive captain Will Compton earlier this week and Mason Foster remains under contract. All three players, however, are headed to free agency in 2018. Adding Foster would provide depth this year and a potential star in the future.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

Final Redskins seven-round mock draft: Defense first, a surprise in the third

We’re a day away from the start of the NFL draft and all the questions surrounding the Redskins’ intentions will start to get answered when they go on the clock at about 10 p.m. on Thursday.

[More Redskins: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Speaking at the team’s annual pre-draft news conference, Scott Campbell, the team’s director of college scouting, stuck with the company line when he was asked about making picks based on team needs.

“I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said. “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.”

It would be a big “bonus” for the Redskins if a defensive lineman who can rush the passer and stuff the run was the best player on the board when their first-round pick comes up at No. 17. But it doesn’t look like the board will play out that way. That’s OK because the Redskins have plenty of needs.

In fact, it’s not hard to do a mock draft for the Redskins because they have needs at virtually every position. Certainly, some needs are more urgent than others. But once you get past the first couple of rounds there is enough doubt at each position, whether it’s immediate depth or possible free agency holes in 2018, to get that need “bonus” with every pick.

Campbell said that this is a strong defensive draft and this is reflected in these mock selections, with six of the 10 picks going to defense including the top two. The first offensive pick may surprise some but the talent was just too good at that point in the draft.

Go here to see the full seven-round mock draft.

Your comments are welcome, as always. Make them here in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and Facebook.  

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.