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Need to Know: RB McCaffrey to visit Redskins but will he be there at No. 17 if they want him?

Need to Know: RB McCaffrey to visit Redskins but will he be there at No. 17 if they want him?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 7, 20 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 10
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 35
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 47
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 147

Friday three and out

1. It looks like Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey is going to be visiting the Redskins.

Rapoport is alluding to talk among some analysts that there is a growing belief that McCaffrey will be a top-10 draft pick. He reportedly has visited the Panthers, who pick at No. 8.

Carolina has been linked to LSU RB Leonard Fournette ever since the draft order was set in January. But the word is that may want to go with the more versatile McCaffery. If the Redskins do want to get one of the three top backs in this draft, they may have to take Dalvin Cook, who has explosive ability but some fumbling and off-field issues.

2. I still can’t shake the feeling that the Redskins might take a quarterback in the first, with the loss of Cousins as a free agent in 2018 looming. Some mock drafts have Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson going in the top 10. But this one by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media has every quarterback in the draft available to the Redskins at No. 17.

The knocks against the quarterbacks in this class are that they will take at least a year to develop. To a team that needs an immediate starter they are not the answer. But could Watson or Trubisky get the job done after developing for a year behind Cousins? It’s something the organization must think about.

3. While drafting a quarterback in the first round might have some howling I don’t think anyone would object to an interior defensive lineman at No. 17. The problem is that when the Redskins are on the clock there might not be one on the board who is worth the 17th picks. Look at this prospect ranking on CBSSports.com. DT Jonathan Allen of Alabama is ranked fourth. Then you look down the list and there isn’t another interior defensive lineman until you get to Malik McDowell at No. 23.

Assuming Allen is gone, the solution for the Redskins may be to trade back. Per the draft trade value chart, they could pick up a third-round pick for moving back from No. 17 to No. 23. That would give them four of the top 81 picks. The obvious potential problem here is that you need to have a team that wants to trade up.

Of course, each team’s board is different and the Redskins may well have a higher grade on a given D-lineman than the outside analysts do. But the point is that there may well be a dry hole when it comes to the defensive line at No. 17 that could force the Redskins to reach, try to trade back, or go with another position.

 Out—By my count, 21 of the Redskins who are currently under contract are set to be unrestricted free agents in 2018. That’s a lot but it may not be as bad as it sounds. I count eight who are either on the bubble for making the roster this year, players like Phillip Taylor and Derek Carrier, or who are unlikely to be offered contracts next year, like Shawn Lauvao or DeAngelo Hall.

They should have some cap space to work with, especially if they aren’t paying a quarterback a lot of money (perhaps a good reason to draft their 2018 starting QB this year). Looking at how things stand currently and figuring in some for the draft picks who will be under contract in 2018 the Redskins should have in the neighborhood of $50-$55 million in salary cap space.

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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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Wide receivers

Starters: Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Other roster locks: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris.
On the bubble: Robert Davis, Brian Quick

How the wide receivers compare:

To the rest of the NFL: This is an unproven group, with Pryor in his second year playing the position and Doctson coming off a lost rookie season. You don’t have to look far to find receiving groups with more proven production. The Giants have added Brandon Marshall to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard to form one of the top groups in the NFL. It’s arguable that the Cowboys have a better corps. But Pryor has produced a 1000-yard season, Crowder improved from his rookie year to last year and Doctson is a recognized talent. They’re outside of the top 10 but not too far down the list, somewhere in the teens.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' LOSS TO PACKERS

To the 2016 Redskins: The Redskins became the first team to lose two 1000-yard receivers in a single offseason when both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left in free agency. They managed to recover about as well as could be expected by signing Pryor and having Doctson in the wings. And maybe the backups could be better than they were last year. Ryan Grant has been catching everything thrown near him in practice and Maurice Harris will have his rookie year out of the way. But the harsh reality is that you don’t easily replace receivers like Garçon and, especially, the speedy Jackson easily. This group must be considered a downgrade until we see production on the field that indicates otherwise.

2017 outlook:

Biggest upside: Doctson was off to a great start in training camp before he suffered a hamstring injury. His talent for high-pointing the ball could make him a favorite red zone and third down target.

Most to prove: Ryan Grant has been a favorite of the coaches since he was a fifth-round pick in 2014. But he had only nine receptions in 16 games last year. If he wants an NFL future here or elsewhere, he needs to catch passes.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: Sixth-round pick Davis has been targeted 11 times in two preseason games and he has 20- and 31-yard receptions. He is going to have to fight off Quick to remain on the roster but he appears to be ahead in that battle. Davis is helping his case by working as a gunner on the punt team.

Bottom line: There is no doubt that the team will miss the ability of Jackson to go deep, opening things up underneath. But it also is clear that the bigger, more physical receivers will help move the chains and increase red zone productivity. The size does not necessarily compensate for the loss of speed but Kirk Cousins still should find quality targets.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Ryan Grant:

He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent. Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right. No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do – he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them. He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is.

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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Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

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USA Today Sports

Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

Despite off-field turmoil and a seemingly endless list of controversies, the NFL plans to extend the tenure of commissioner Roger Goodell, per a report from the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 

Goodell took over the top NFL job in 2006, replacing the long-tenured Paul Tagliabue. The extension reportedly will extend his era as commissioner through 2024, though Garafolo said the league and Goodell have a few "minor issues" to work through.

In 2016, Goodell reportedly made $34 million as commissioner. 

Under Goodell, the league has seen a windfall of cash, but also numerous off-field controversies.

The commissioner's role with player punishments has dramatically increased, and seems to grow more litigious year after year.

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Things seemed to hit their peak when the NFL suspended New England Patriots QB Tom Brady four games for possibly deflating footballs, though the evidence was far from concrete.

There have been plenty of other major controversies during Goodell's leadership: the ongoing concussion lawsuits and settlements, Ray Rice's domestic violence incident, Michael Vick's dog-fighting ring, Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault allegations, and more. 

This year — right now — Goodell is in the middle of dealing with an announced six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and the ongoing controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick's inability to land a job in the NFL. 

Ultimately, it appears cash matters most for the league and its commissioner. 

It's also worth adding that the NFL has not lost any games due to labor stoppage under Goodell's leadership. That could change, however, when the next collective bargaining agreement comes up after the 2020 season. NFL Player's Association leader DeMaurice Smith has talked of a possible strike or lockout, and some vocal critics of Goodell and the NFL, like Richard Sherman, have said that the players need to be prepared to strike to elicit actual change. 

There was some speculation that NFL owners, particularly Robert Kraft in New England and Jerry Jones in Dallas, might push for a change at the top as Goodell's autocratic disciplinary style found league stars suspended. Assuming a contract gets done, that speculation appears to be false. 

Goodell was commissioner in 2012 when the NFL penalized the Redskins $36 million against the salary cap for overspending during the uncapped 2010 season.

Redskins officials adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and the penalties had a significant impact on the team's ability to compete for free agents and roster depth. 

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