Quick Links

Need to Know: Cousins was right when he said a lot of Redskins are on one-year deals

Need to Know: Cousins was right when he said a lot of Redskins are on one-year deals

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 19, four days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs on May 23.

Timeline

It’s been 138 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 114 days.

Days until:

—Redskins OTAs start (5/23) 4
—Training camp starts (7/27) 69
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 83

21 Redskins are on one-year contracts

“There’s so many guys on this team who are on one-year deals,” quarterback Kirk Cousins told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation earlier this week. 

Cousins was not exaggerating. Between players like Cousins, whose franchise tag contract is in essence a one-year contract, and players who are on multi-year deals that expire after this season, there are 21 players who are not under contract in 2018 and eligible to become unrestricted free agents.

Not all these players are vital to the success of the Redskins. Some of them will not even make the team this year. But the Redskins would like to bring back some of them. Let’s look at the list of UFAs and break them down by how important it will be to re-sign them.

High priority: Cousins, RB Chris Thompson, WR Terrelle Pryor, ILB Zach Brown, C Spencer Long

The importance of retaining Cousins is obvious. Thompson is valuable as the third-down back. If Long makes progress in his fourth NFL season he could be the best young center the team has had in years. If Pryor and Brown perform like they did with other teams last year they will be key members of the offense and defense, respectively.

Moderate priority: CB Bashaud Breeland, OLB Trent Murphy, ILB Will Compton, K Dustin Hopkins, ILB Mason Foster, OLB Junior Galette

The Redskins have prepared for Breeland’s possible departure by drafting third-round cornerbacks in each of the past two seasons. Galette and Murphy could be an either/or situation with the team making an effort to sign one or the other. Same with Compton and Foster, assuming that Brown is back. Hopkins should be back but only at the right price.

Low priority: WR Ryan Grant, S Josh Evans, S DeAngelo Hall, S Will Blackmon, G Shawn Lauvao, LB Chris Carter, TE Niles Paul, WR Brian Quick, TE Derek Carrier, NT Phil Taylor

There are a couple of categories here. There are some older players and the Redskins likely will want to go younger and cheaper—Hall, Blackmon, and Lauvao. Then there are players who are on the bubble for making this year’s team in Grant, Evans, Carrier, Paul, Quick, Carrier, and Taylor.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Rookie camps are in the books as teams now move to organized team activities. Does that mean it's too early for fantasy football rankings? 

Probably, but seeing as the rookies are new to the scene, we might as well start projecting where and how they fit. 

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Sterling Shepard and Michael Thomas were among the rookies who produced and then some in 2016.

Based on the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s hope for even more first-year standouts.  

Starting with the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall, 19 skill players were drafted in the first and second round.

That includes fellow first-round quarterback selections Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Several sleeper candidates followed. 

Here’s my look at the Elite Eight quarterbacks with the 2017 fantasy football season -- and beyond -- in mind.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:

Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans

Quick Links

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back