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Need to Know: Five Redskins veterans who could be on the roster bubble

Need to Know: Five Redskins veterans who could be on the roster bubble

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 18, 12 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

Here are five Redskins veterans who could find themselves on the wrong side of the roster bubble.

DeAngelo Hall—I’ve noted a few times lately that his $4 million salary puts him in danger of being faced with the choice of being cut or taking a reduction in pay. His job security is that if he left the No. 4 corner would be Tevin Mitchel, a very raw rookie.

Josh LeRibeus—Perhaps he’s not really a veteran because he hasn’t played much but he has been on the roster for three years. If he is going to hang on as the eighth or ninth offensive lineman he will have to beat out 2014 seventh-round pick Austin Reiter and/or first-year player Tyler Larsen. As a player who was drafted by Mike Shanahan for a zone-blocking scheme, LeRibeus will need to be on top of his game to be on the roster Week 1.

Kedric Golston—Right now, the numbers seem to favor him staying. But if they decide to keep a fourth tight end or a tenth offensive lineman the roster spot could come from the defensive line. If it does, the longest-tenured Redskin would be in a fight.

Colt McCoy—I’m putting the possibility of McCoy not making the 53 in the “unlikely but could happen” category. Even though Jay Gruden might prefer to go with two quarterbacks, he likely is inclined to hold onto McCoy as a security blanket. But the final 53 isn’t completely up to Gruden; Scot McCloughan has final say on the roster. If it comes down to the Redskins being able to keep McCoy or a young player that McCloughan believes has potential, could the GM pull rank? Again, it’s not very likely but something to keep an eye on.

Kai Forbath—I don’t think that Ty Long, the undrafted rookie who was signed as the second kicker, has a realistic shot at beating out Forbath. But all it will take is a couple of missed field goals from short range and they’ll be calling in some veterans for tryouts. I sense that their confidence in Forbath is shaky and they might not hesitate to pull the trigger on a change if he should stumble.

Timeline

—It’s been 202 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 57 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 12; Preseason opener @ Browns 26; final cuts 49

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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.