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Need to Know: Playing the odds predicting the Redskins' 2015 O-line

Need to Know: Playing the odds predicting the Redskins' 2015 O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 5, five days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

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Question of the day

We’re going back to the NTK format we’ve been using since last month. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

As free agency is approaching, the Redskins may be on the verge of reshaping the offensive line. Or, they may be on the verge of largely standing pat.

The only move they have made so far is re-signing Tom Compton, the starter at right tackle for the last half of the 2014 season. The signing was pretty much a foregone conclusion as Compton was an exclusive rights free agent. Even if he will have to compete for the starting job and even for a roster spot there was no reason not to bring him back.

So who will start on the line in Week 1 in 2015? Let’s do something a little different here. Let’s say I had $100 in casino chips to bet on who starts at each position. How would I divide up the chips? Here is how my crystal ball shows it right now.

LT Trent Williams $100—I trust that this one doesn’t need any explanation.

LG Shaun Lauvao $90, the field $10—The switch of the Redskins to more of a power running scheme will help Lauvao, who struggled mightily at the start of last year but improved as the year went on. At his cap number you aren’t going to see him on the bench. But if Scot McCloughan sees a guard he likes in the second round he could pounce and that rookie could push Lauvao to the bench.

C Kory Lichtensteiger $100—He’s not the long-term answer as someone who weighs north of 300 pounds will be playing in the middle of the line by 2017. Right now the situation is clear—he played well in 2014 and there are simply too many actual problem areas for the team to worry about to devote cap money or a draft pick to replacing a solid performer. For the time being the ideal will be sacrificed at the altar of the pretty good.

RG Chris Chester $35, Spencer Long $45, the field $20—Yes, I know that many of you are disappointed to see Chester still in the running. But he’s on the team as of now and he’s played virtually every snap since he signed with the team in 2011. And he has continually drawn praise from Jay Gruden. Long is younger and cheaper and it’s not at all a stretch to think that if he gets in a full offseason of work he will be ready to start in September. If McCloughan isn’t as high on Chester as Gruden is and doesn’t see what Bruce Allen saw in Long to make him a third-round pick, a free agent or draft pick could come in and take the job.

RT Tom Compton $40, Morgan Moses $30, the field $30—If Moses had not suffered a Lisfranc injury late last season I would have at least $50 on him, probably more. But we’re not sure of his condition right now and if he is not going to be able to participate in OTAs and part of training camp his chances of winning the job go down. Compton was up and down last year and he could smooth out the rough spots if he works with the first unit during the offseason. That could make him tough for Moses to push out. As with the guard situation, McCloughan might not like what he sees and bring in a starter via the draft or free agency.

Timeline

—It’s been 67 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 192 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 5; Redskins offseason workouts start 46; 2015 NFL Draft 56

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198

Friday quick hitters

What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.

McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.

Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.

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

Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or sufferig from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him. 

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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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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

RELATED: DeSean Jackson wants to play for an elite QB

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

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