Quick Links

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

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

 

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 21, 96 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 39
NFL free agency starts 47
First Sunday of 2017 season 232

The Redskins week that was

A look back at the week with some of the top posts on RealRedskins.com and on CSNmidatlantic.com.  

An early look at 1st-round draft possibilities for the Redskins—This post marked 100 days until the draft and now were a few days closer. It’s very early but the preliminary big boards make it look like the Redskins are likely to have a defensive lineman such as Solomon Thomas of Stanford or Mailk McDowell of Michigan State wind up as the best available player so that both the fans a Scot McCloughan can be happy.

Cap room a dilemma for Redskins McCloughan?—There is plenty of talk about how expensive Kirk Cousins’ contract or franchise tag will be and how the expense could affect the ability to spend in other positions. But the team has $62 million in cap space. If they don’t spend a good chunk of it on Cousins what will they do with it? They could bring back Pierre Garçon, Chris Baker and make new deals for eligible 2014 draft picks like Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses and still have a lot left over. If they don’t spend it a quarterback, what will they do with it? I do know that if they have, say, $20 million in cap space left and they are around .500 again, the fans and media will not be happy.

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense—The changes on this side of the ball will feel more like reloading than rebuilding. I’m assuming Cousins will be back one way (long-term deal) or another (tag). At least four out of the five O-linemen are set and the tight ends will get set if McCloughan can lure Vernon Davis back. We’ll see if the running back corps gets shaken up in the draft or in free agency. The one area that could be wide open is receiver and even that could remain relatively stable if Garçon returns.

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend—I think fans generally have become much more apathetic about Pro Bowl selections compared to, say, seven or eight years ago. Playing in the exhibition game is an “honor” that so many choose not to accept or, as was the case with Brandon Scherff, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jordan Reed, they are too injured after a 16-game season to take part. Meanwhile, alternates Cousins, Josh Norman, and Jamison Crowder (as a kick returner) have not yet heard their phones ring. Why does the NFL even bother with the Pro Bowl? People still watch it. Ratings for the last edition (4.5) were about a point lower than the MLB All-Star game (5.4) and a tick above the NBA All-Star game (4.3). Those are not huge ratings but big enough to turn a profit.  

The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins—I think that the first offer that both sides make here is going to be critical. If the Redskins lowball Cousins again it will set a bad tone. If Cousins’ offer is too high the Redskins could think that Cousins is determined to leave. And both sides need to be willing to negotiate. If any of that took place last year there was very little. With no give and take the talks will go nowhere. 

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.