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Need to Know: 5 Redskins depth chart hot spots

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Need to Know: 5 Redskins depth chart hot spots

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 7, 10 days before the start of Redskins minicamp.

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Here are five thoughts on the Redskins’ depth chart with about six and a half weeks to go until the start of training camp.

—I’ll have more on this at some point over the weekend but if you think that Santana Moss is a goner come September, think again. I asked Jay Gruden about him and the coach said, “I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games.” Sounds like a pretty strong endorsement to me.

—You always have to be careful when players give you an optimistic prognosis on their own serious injuries. Late last year, Richard Crawford was telling everyone who was listening that his knee, which he injured during the preseasons last year, was doing great. But he has been off to the side during OTAs, not looking like someone who will be ready for the July 24 start of camp. If he starts the season on the PUP list (note that we are a long way from that happening) that will affect the depth chart at both cornerback and punt returner.

—If you are a regular here you know I believe that Keenan Robinson will be the starter at inside linebacker next to Perry Riley once the season starts. But it remains to be seen if he will be an every down player like Riley and London Fletcher have been for the past few years. There could be a substantial role on second and third down and short situations for Akeem Jordan or Darryl Sharpton. Keep an eye on what develops there.

—Whether Crawford is healthy or not, the punt returner job is wide open. Lining up to field punts on Wednesday were Andre Roberts, Nick Williams, Lache Seastrunk, and Santana Moss. There is a chance that any of them could be the Week 1 punt returner. Or perhaps it will be none of the above. Since you can’t run special teams live in practice, preseason games will tell a lot.

—The running back picture may already be sorted out, three months before we kick off the season opener. I can see Alfred Morris as the lead back, Roy Helu as the third down back and Lache Seastrunk getting about a half a dozen carries per game on first and second down in relief or Morris. Don’t base your early fantasy draft on this, by the way, but it’s how I see it playing out.

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Timeline

—It’s been 160 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 92 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 10; Training camp 47; Redskins @ Eagles 106

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Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

Report: Cousins won't sign with Redskins before getting tagged

There may not be much drama when the March 1 franchise tag deadline comes around. It appears that a Kirk Cousins tag is inevitable.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, Cousins will not sign a long-term deal prior getting tagged by the Redskins. PFT cited a source with knowledge of the situation.

This is not exactly a surprising report. The situation has seemed to be destined to reach this point since minutes after the Redskins’ final game of the season when Cousins, whose one-year franchise tag deal expired when the game ended, was asked if he wanted to remain in Washington.

 “It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Actually, the ball is in his court; he could instruct his agent to hammer out the best deal he can get to stay in Washington and then sign it. But apparently, he will choose the tag, a solid business decision for a number of reasons.

For one thing, if he gets tagged and quickly signs the tender as he did last year he would guarantee a salary of $23.94 million, a 20 percent raise over the $19.95 million he earned last year. If he plays out the season on the tag he would be virtually guaranteed of never getting tagged again since such a move would give him a 44 percent raise over his previous year’s cap number. The number is designed to make a third tag cost prohibitive and it does.

For the team’s part, there have been scattered reports that some in the Redskins organization pushed for letting Cousins hit the open market and letting his value be determined there. But that changed after Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator for the first two years of Cousins’ career and a big Cousins fan, became the head coach of the 49ers. There is no question that San Francisco would make a strong play for Cousins and the most likely scenario now is that the will tag him.

More Redskins: Under the radar issues

Where does this go after Cousins is tagged? The Redskins would have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term contract. It would still take a strong offer for the team to keep Cousins around for the long term.

Team president Bruce Allen seems to be optimistic about getting a deal done eventully.

"I don’t think it’s as complicated as everyone wants to make it,” he said earlier this month. “And we’ll get together with his agent, and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement."

That remains to be seen. The only thing that seems certain in this saga is that it won’t be coming to a resolution any time soon.

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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Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 21, 16 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 8
—NFL Combine (3/2) 9
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 55
—NFL Draft (4/27) 65
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 201

Under the radar offseason issues for the Redskins

We know the top line personnel issues for the Redskins this offseason—Kirk Cousins, Jackson and Garçon, D-line, etc. Here are some other issues flying below the radar:

Who’s the backup center? Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan is a free agent. That leaves Spencer Long as the only true center under contract. Do they try to bring back Sullivan? Look for one in the draft? The free agent pool is very thin but perhaps a solid backup could get cut.

Guard depth Lichtensteiger also provided some insurance at guard to his absence hits creates a double hit on the depth chart. Right now, the only backup to Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff is Arie Kouandjio. Scherff is durable but Lauvao hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012. Unless they have more faith in Kouandjio than I suspect they do they will need depth. Perhaps they could spend a mid-round pick for depth this year and then let him compete with Kouandjio for the LG starting job assuming Lauvao moves on after his contract is up  

Need depth at cornerback The Redskins’ top two cornerbacks, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, aren’t bad. And maybe Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar are good as the No. 3 and No. 4 CB’s although they perhaps should have some stiff competition. But it’s a long season and injuries happen. They have former Seahawk Tharold Simon and Dashaun Phillips on the roster and they may re-sign Greg Toler. They probably need one or two more veterans or draft picks to compete for the last one or two spots.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

QB of the future? The most likely scenario in the Cousins saga is that he gets tagged on March 1 and if he does sign a long-term deal it will not be until closer to July 15. That would leave the Redskins in a bit of a tight sport, going through free agency and the draft not knowing if their starter at the most important position on the field will be back in 2018. What about Nate Sudfeld? Would he be ready to at least back up, presumably, Colt McCoy or another veteran? If not, do they need to look for one in the middle of draft, or perhaps earlier? If they are concerned about Cousins’ status and Sudfeld’s ability to develop into a starter this needs to be on the front burner.

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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.