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June 1 has come and gone

June 1 has come and gone

I know that many of you out there are hoping for help for your favorite National Football League team coming from a wave of talent hitting the free agency market after June 1.

I hate to tell you this, but you should look elsewhere. As far as the NFL is concerned, June 1, for the most part, has come and gone.

No, you do not need to adjust your calendar. It says it's late May. But the NFL's June 1 came over two months ago.

The whacky calendar is due to a change in the collective bargaining agreement. Prior to 2006, a team could release a player after June 1 and have most of the salary cap implications of the release come in the following year rather than accelerating immediately into the cap.

The players didn't necessarily mind being cut; it frequently gave them the opportunity to collect a little more signing bonus money.

However, they were hitting the market at a bad time, after most team's free agent budgets were shot. In addition, they frequently were in an awkward position. In many cases it was well known that a player would be a June 1 cap casualty, but he had to go to his current team's facility to work out and participate in minicamps and OTA's.

And the teams became increasingly concerned about the risk of a player getting injured while working out at the team facility. If that were to happen, the team would be liable for the player's entire salary for the upcoming season.

These issues were addressed in the '06 CBA extension. Teams now are allowed to release up to two players as soon as the league year begins (the start of free agency) and designate them as post-June 1 cuts. The players get their freedom immediately, so they can pursue employment while the market still is hot.

While the teams don't get any salary cap relief until June 2—the players' salary for the coming season still is counted against their cap number until then—they don't have to have dead men walking around their facilities and their exposure to issues due to workout injuries is greatly reduced.

Since the rule creates such a win-win situation, teams have taken advantage of it. Most, if not all, of the players who would have been released post-June 1 in the past already have received their pink slips.

There are a couple of reasons why a team might choose to wait to release a player it intends to cut under the June 1 cap rules. If they have three or more players to release, they would have to wait until the date actually passes to get the cap relief. This would be highly unusual as few teams would want to dump that much dead cap money into the following season. I don't have complete list, but I don't think that any team designated more than one player.

An organization also might want to hold on to a veteran to see if they can draft his replacement and see how the rookie performs in a minicamp or two before deciding whether or not to cut the vet.

Again, this would be an unusual situation and if you're at that point, you might as well let the battle for the position and the roster spot go all the way to training camp. You get the same cap benefits if the veteran is cut on September 1 as you do on June 1.

The bottom line is that the free agent pickings on the morning of June 2 will be just about as slim as they are today. If you're hoping that your team can pick up some help then, don't hold your breath. The time for doing that was back in March.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at rich.tandler+bleachers@gmail.com. His Redskins blog archive is located here.

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.


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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.


Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way 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.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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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