Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 12, 12 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Five Friday morning musings on the Redskins
—We haven’t heard much about the Kirk Cousins contract negotiations and that’s good news. It’s usually when things aren’t going well that one side or the other leaks something to the press. The expectation is that the last day to apply the franchise tag, March 1, is the deadline that will drive the two sides to get a deal done. Although they could tag him on March 1 and sign him to a long-term deal on March 2 that's not how it usually works. If the tag is supplied the team and the agent usually move on to other things and they begin to refocus on long-term deal again in July. If a tagged player does not sign a long-term deal by July 15 he must play out the season on the tag so that is the real, drop-dead date for getting something done.
—I did a post on the draft here a couple of days ago and among a group of players that had been targeted in some mock drafts I made Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland the favorite to be the Redskins’ first-round pick in April. Someone whose opinion I respect disagrees. Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris did not grade Ragland as a first-round talent and when asked about on Twitter, Norris replied, “I think the rest of the process could show that Ragland is more limited than some think right now.” It’s early in the process and this doesn’t mean that he’s right and I’m wrong but I though I should put that out here.
—USA Today put out a list of 25 payers who they think will be salary cap casualties. Four Redskins are on it. As we have discussed here plenty, Robert Griffin III will be cut. I’d say there is about a 75 percent chance that Jason Hatcher will either retire or get cut. Dashon Goldson is more likely to take a cut in his $8 million salary than he is to leave. The one player on the list that I don’t think is going anywhere or redoing his contract is Pierre Garçon. Perhaps they will end up overpaying him but I don’t think they can replace him for substantially less money.
—The article I wrote about the Redskins’ low interception total yesterday was focused on 2015 but they have had issues for quite some time. Since 2010 they have been in the top half of the NFL in interceptions just once, in 2012. That was an odd year with two linebackers among the top three in interceptions, London Fletcher (5) and Rob Jackson (4). Jackson, of course, had the big one, a fourth-quarter pick of Tony Romo that helped lock up both the Redskins’ win over the Cowboys and the NFC East title. In case anyone is wondering, Jackson was released by the Redskins during training camp in 2014, and has been out of the league since.
—Colleague Tarik El-Bashir and I did a post a few days ago on how to fix the running game. He said that the top issue was talent, that the Redskins should invest either high draft pick in a running back or sign one of the top free agents available. I said that the team needed to fully commit to power blocking and put the zone scheme in the circular file except as an occasional wrinkle. I don’t necessarily disagree with Tarik. About the only thing I wouldn’t want to see happen is using the first-round pick on a running back. I could see one from the second round on or a free agent who fits the McCloughan profile, such as the Dolphins’ Lamar Miller.
—The Redskins last played a game 33 days ago. It will be about 212 days until they play another one.
—About 167 days until fullbacks and safeties report to Richmond.
—Days until: NFL Combine 12; NFL free agency starts 26; 2016 NFL draft 76
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