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Need to Know: Should the Redskins trade WR Pierre Garçon?

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins trade WR Pierre Garçon?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 27, 42 days before NFL free agency starts for the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. 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.

This morning’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

We ran the numbers on Pierre Garçon’s contract a week ago. He has a $9.7 million cap number this year, his age 29 season. If the Redskins trade him, they would save $5.3 million against the cap after a $4.4 million dead cap charge. Should they keep him they would be looking at a 2016 cap charge of $10.2 million in the final year of his deal.

His numbers dropped considerably from his record-setting 2013 season (113 receptions/1,346 yards/5 TD) to 2014 (68/752/3). It’s probably safe to say that the dropoff was due more to the game of musical chairs played by three different Redskins quarterbacks this year and the addition of DeSean Jackson than it was to Garçon doing things differently than he did them in 2013.

What would the on-field effect of Garçon being gone be? Jackson would move up to be the clear No. 1 receiver (if he wasn’t already), Andre Roberts would move out of the slot and become the No. 2 receiver. Perhaps they would go with Ryan Grant as the third receiver, splitting him out wide and putting Roberts in the slot. Or maybe the No. 3 would be a free agent they signed with some of the money saved with Garçon gone or a player drafted with the pick acquired in a Garçon trade. I’d guess that would be about a third-round pick. The player himself might be worth more than that but teams don’t just trade for a player, they also trade for the contract. And with those cap numbers, a team will only give up so much.

I think there are good cases to be made both for keeping Garçon and trading him. The Redskins aren’t going to be competing for Super Bowls or even division titles over the next two years. The $15 million in cap space they would save by trading Garçon could carry over and go towards resigning the likes of Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams. Why not deal Garçon to a team that believes it is close to contending for a Super Bowl and get money and a draft pick to build your future?

On the other hand, the Redskins also will need a quarterback if they are going to make annual playoff runs. It just might be worth the investment to keep Garçon on board to help with the development of Robert Griffin III (or whoever is taking snaps) and to perhaps make the team more watchable while the rebuilding is going on.

If forced to choose, I’d go with keeping Garçon but I’d find it hard to rip the team if they get reasonable return in a trade for him.

Timeline

—It’s been 30 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 229 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 23; NFL free agency starts 42; 2015 NFL Draft 93

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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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension