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Need to Know: Examining ripple effects from Monday's Redskins roster moves

Need to Know: Examining ripple effects from Monday's Redskins roster moves

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 8, one day before the start of NFL free agency.

Ripple effects from Monday’s Redskins roster moves

We found out on Monday that four members of the 2015 Redskins were released. Here’s some analysis of the ripple effects of those moves.

QB Robert Griffin III—The Redskins have known this was coming since last August 31 and so the effects have largely worked their way through. The consequence that is the hardest to measure is the most lasting one, the players the Redskins could have acquired with the three first-round pick and the one second they gave up to get Griffin.

S Dashon Goldson—It’s unusual for a player to be a captain in his first year with the team but Goldson got elected after being traded from the Bucs. An odd situation led to him being one and done. The Bucs picked up half of his salary last year when they made the trade. His deal, signed when he was coming off his All-Pro season in San Francisco, called for an $8 million salary, just too much for his level of play. The Redskins picked up no dead cap in the process so they got 15 starts in exchange for a swap of late-round draft picks.

S Jeron Johnson—This one is somewhat puzzling because the cap room saved, $1.1 million, is so low. He’s still fairly young (28 when season starts) and a reasonably good special teams contributor. Johnson could be worth the money even if he never played a snap on defense. The departures of he two safeties puts a lot of pressure on DeAngelo Hall and Duke Ihenacho to stay healthy, on Kyshoen Jarrett to continue developing, and on Scot McCloughan to find another safety or two.

DE Jason Hatcher—He signed a four-year deal in 2014 but with a base salary that jumped up to $6.25 million this year both parties knew that unless Hatcher performed extremely well that the contract would either be revised or terminated after two years. There was talk recently that he wanted to play and would take a pay cut to do so. But it didn’t work out so Hatcher, who will turn 34 before training camp starts, is gone. His sack stats, 7.5 in two seasons, understate his level of play. Hatcher led the D-line in hurries the last two years with a combined 62. And he was a good locker room leader. Still, when you added it up the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. With Terrance Knight also departing and Kedric Golston and Frank Kearse unsigned the Redskins could be looking for as many as four new players on the defensive line in 2016.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 58 days ago. It will be about 187 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 1; Redskins offseason workouts start 41; 2016 NFL draft 51

In case you missed it

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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.