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Need to Know: Norman deal will force tough choices for Redskins in 2017

Need to Know: Norman deal will force tough choices for Redskins in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 24, four days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 105 days ago. It will be 141 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: 2016 NFL draft 4; Rookie minicamp 19; Redskins training camp starts 95

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A look at a few more aspects of the Josh Norman signing:

—I think that the deal increases the likelihood that the Redskins will draft a wide receiver early. They had the 2017 cap room to be able to re-sign one or both of Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson. Now they may have to choose to let both of them go. It generally takes a season for a receiver to become productive. If both of their starters are going to be departing McCloughan may want to get a head start on finding their replacements.

—By making this deal the Redskins are gambling that they will be able to get Kirk Cousins under contract this year or at least prior to the start of the 2017 league year. If they need to franchise tag him again it will cost $24 million. With Norman set to carry a $20 million cap hit, that would mean that two players would be taking up 26 percent of a cap that should be around $165 million.

—No matter how the Cousins contract situation unfolds, the Redskins will have to make some tough choices in 2017. It will be very difficult to get Cousins, Jordan Reed, Junior Galette, the two receivers, and Chris Baker signed. It might have been hard before Norman signed but now it may be too much to ask. Of course, perhaps McCloughan never intended to keep all of them anyway. But it seems almost certain that some fan favorites will be heading elsewhere next year.

—I might do an article looking at this in a little more depth but I saw one NFL analyst compare how the Redskins are building their defense to the way that the Broncos did—from the outside in. The keys to Denver’s Super Bowl winning unit were edge rushers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. Certainly, the Broncos had some strong players on the inside such as DT Maik Jackson and the Redskins don’t have anyone like that. But they have potential matches on the edges with Norman and Breeland at corner and edge rushers Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and Junior Galette.

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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

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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.

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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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