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Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 15, 9 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

QOD: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Normally I limit questions to one tweet or Facebook post but Justin here had a couple of related tweets that brought out some related issues that I’ve been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer to Forte is simply no, I don’t see that happening. Scot McCloughan has said he stays away from free agents who are in their 30’s (exceptions made for players like Will Blackmon, who are needed as immediate injury replacements). And Forte is a high-mileage 30. He has 2,035 career rushing attempts plus 487 receptions. He is coming off of career lows in both rushing yards and receptions.

To be sure, those numbers don’t mean that Forte doesn’t have some good years left in them. Frank Gore is a few years older and had a good season in Indianapolis after coming in with over 2,400 rushing attempts and over 500 receptions. But I think that McCloughan will let another team squeeze whatever they can out of Forte and pay him the $3-$4 million per year it will take to sign him.

So will they turn to the draft? With Alfred Morris very unlikely to return and Matt Jones not yet ready to take the reigns as the workhorse running back, they do need a running back. Since McCloughan views the draft as “the lifeblood of the organization” he’s rather get one there.

But waiting for the draft is risky. If you go into the draft with a shopping list of needs you will almost inevitably leave with your needs unfilled and/or with a bad draft. It’s best available player; if it’s close between two players, of course, you go with the position where there is more need. But you’re relying on some good fortune there, hoping that players you need are the best available or close to it.

There are a lot of ways it can play out but here’s a scenario I see as most likely. McCloughan stands pat during free agency, letting players like Forte, Lamar Miller, and Chris Ivory find homes elsewhere. Then he sees if there is a good fit in the draft, somewhere around rounds 2-4. If he can’t find a satisfactory solution there he looks at the secondary free agent market for someone like Pierre Thomas.

If they go the veteran route then the leadership role that Justin mentions is taken care of. But if they go in the draft, it’s still not an issue. Darrel Young is the natural leader of the running back group.

What happens if Young, who will be an unrestricted free agent, is gone and the running backs are Jones, a rookie, Chris Thompson and perhaps Silas Redd? That’s why you have a coach in ex-player Randy Jordan who can lead the unit. A team that is rebuilding (and despite their achievements in 2015 this is still very much a rebuilding team there are going to be some areas where there just isn’t a natural leader, a mentor to show the younger players how it’s done.

In 2012, Morris came to the Redskins and the running backs were second-year players Roy Helu and Evan Royster and Young, who was in his third year. Despite the lack of a veteran to show him to ropes, I seem to recall Morris being able to get the job done pretty well.

Timeline

—Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green was born on this date in 1960.

—The Redskins last played a game 36 days ago. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 9; NFL free agency starts 23; 2016 NFL draft 73

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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