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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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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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