Quick Links

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.

Nickel coverage

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.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Follow Real Redskins on Instagram @RichTandler

In case you missed it

Quick Links

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. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLESLeft guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Quick Links

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.