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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five offseason moves

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Need to Know: The Redskins' top five offseason moves

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 18, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 190 days ago. It will be 56 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 24; Final roster cut 47; Cowboys @ Redskins 63

—Former Redskins offensive tackle George Starke, the leader of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Three and out

Top five offseason moves

When the deadline for Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract came and went last Friday the business phase of the Redskins’ offseason came to an end. So with the big deals (and non-deals) in the book, let’s take a look back at the top five moves (and non-moves) so far in 2016.

Instead of ranking them, we'll go chronologically:

Cousins tag saga—This chapter essentially started and ended early March. The team applied the tag on March 1 and Cousins signed it a couple of days later. The Redskins and Cousins’ camp had four and a half months to work on a long-term deal but they never came close to an agreement. It appeared that both sides were perfectly content to let Cousins play the year on the tag. The immediate impact is that Cousins is behind center at a cost of $19.95 million, all of which hits the cap in 2016. Looking forward, it means we could go through the same song and dance in 2017.

Robert Griffin III released—A few days after locking up Cousins, they let go of the quarterback they drafted 100 spots ahead of him in 2012. A year earlier such news would have been shocking but with Griffin not having played a single snap in 2015 and with the team obligated to pay him $16 million to keep him on the fifth-year option letting him go was the only sensible way to go. The moment to move was made the three first-round picks and the second-round pick that it cost to add Griffin officially turned to vapor.

Two defensive starters released—The same day that Griffin was shown the door, DE Jason Hatcher, who started 14 games in 2015, and S Dashon Goldson, who started 15, were released. The moves cleared a lot of cap space but they left the team thinner in some areas where they are not exactly brimming in talent. The Redskins also lost a lot of leadership; Goldson was the defensive captain and Hatcher led the D-line unit.

Josh Norman signed—This one came completely out of the blue. Carolina had him tagged as their franchise player but on April 20 they decided to rescind the tag. That made the All-Pro cornerback a free agent. After a whirlwind recruitment process that lasted about 48 hours, the Redskins signed him to a five-year, $75 million contract. The deal improved an area of weakness for the Redskins but at the cost of some big chunks of cap space including $20 million next year. One ripple effect was the release of CB Chris Culliver on May 2, a move that cleared $8 million in cap space.

Jordan Reed gets a contract extension—The tight end had a year to go on his rookie contract. The news of the extension came out of the blue about two weeks after Norman signed. The deal keeps Reed in Washington through the 2021 season and pays him $46.75 million. Part of Scot McCloughan’s philosophy is to prioritize retaining the team’s draft picks who perform. It started last summer when Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan signed extensions.

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<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 BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back