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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New coach, Cousins, RG3

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New coach, Cousins, RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 23, 32 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

A look at the Redskins week that was

Since there wasn’t a head coaching change like we had two years ago or a new general manager hired as happened in January of 2015 so here wasn’t much in the way of hard news out of Redskins Park this week That gave us a chance to explore some other topics surrounding the team as it goes forward into the offseason. Here are the five posts that are among those that drew the most interest this week.

Redskins will get no compensatory pick for RG3—The Redskins’ handling of Robert Griffin III almost from start to what seems to be the inevitable finish in a few weeks has been rife with mistakes. Among them was the decision to pick up his $16 million option for 2016. Not only did the option, which is guaranteed for injury, keep the Redskins from being able to either play or trade Griffin, it sets up a scenario where they won’t get even a late-round pick as compensation when he leaves. Click on the article for details but since the Redskins will be releasing him they won’t be eligible for a compensatory draft pick when he moves on.

Five possible Redskins free agent targets—Between now and the start of free agency on March 9 we will look at a several dozen free agents. Scot McCloughan is likely to sign no more than three or four. But interest in free agency is still high even though the Redskins aren’t likely to make any big splashes like bringing in Bears WR Alshon Jeffery or Chiefs safety Eric Berry. McCloughan’s minimalist approach is harder to figure out than the old Redskins approach but we’ll keep trying.

Redskins hire former player as a position coach—Greg Manusky just missed collecting two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins. He made the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 1988, a year after they won Super Bowl XXII. He left Washington following the 1990 season, the year before the team won Super Bowl XXVI. Manusky, an aggressive middle linebacker and special teams demon as a player, started his coaching career in Washington in 2001 and now he returns to coach the outside linebackers under Joe Barry.

Should the Redskins be confident that Cousins can keep it up?—A look at the numbers shows that the big (at the time) contracts signed by the likes of Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb do not necessarily serve as cautionary tales as the Redskins start to negotiate with Kirk Cousins. They did not have seasons nearly as good as Cousins’ 2015 before they got paid. Nick Foles 2013 is a different story; he apparently had a fluke big season. Plenty for the Redskins to figure out.

Redskins' Scherff gets NFL rookie honors—The Pro Football Writers of America voted on their all-rookie team and Brandon Scherff, the Redskins’ top draft pick, make it as a guard. He missed just one snap all year long and gave up one sack. Also honored was former Maryland receiver Stephon Diggs, now with the Vikings.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 13 days ago. It will be about 232 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 33; NFL free agency starts 46; 2016 NFL draft 96

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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