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Need to Know: What's the best case win total for the 2015 Redskins?

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Need to Know: What's the best case win total for the 2015 Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 26, four days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week 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.

Here are some quick-hit replies to some very good questions that don’t quite warrant a full post to answer:

I assume you’re talking about trading down in the first round, down from their No. 5 spot. Right now my gut feeling is that there is about a 65 percent chance that they stay put and 35 percent chance that they will make a deal. If they do trade, there are the obvious trade partners we’ve been hearing about, the Browns and Saints. But the obvious isn’t always what happens in the NFL draft. Maybe the Dolphins, picking 14th, will want to make a move up for a receiver or the Falcons might be willing to pay a premium to jump up from No. 8 to grab the edge rusher of their choice.

The Alabama wide receiver could be the safest, most NFL-ready pick in the entire draft, and that is rarely said about a receiver. His availability at pick No. 5 is very much in doubt. It would not be shocking to see the Raiders take him with the fourth pick to get a reliable target for Derek Carr. But if he is there and both Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler Jr., the top two defensive prospects, are off the board I think the Redskins will strongly consider Cooper.

The chances seem good that White, the other top wide receiver in the draft, will be available at No. 5, particularly if Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota go 1-2. If that happens I think that Scot McCloughan will work the phones like a madman for 15 minutes trying to unload the pick. If they can’t deal the pick, I don’t think they will take White. I might think differently but Scott McCloughan seems likely to take Fowler or Vic Beasley over the promising but unpolished White.

I posted my way-too-early season prediction yesterday on CSN. Spoiler alert—I said that they will be 6-10. I figured they would go 3-4 during their relative easy stretch before the bye (as easy as games can be for a team that has won seven games in the last two years can be, anyway). It’s certainly possible for them to steal another win during that segment of the schedule and go into the break at 4-3. It’s more of a stretch to see them getting four wins after the bye but in the best case, which is what the question was about, they could beat the Saints, Giants, and Bills at home and Carolina on the road. That would add up to 8-8, best-case scenario. If the Redskins suffer from injuries and the quarterback carousel continues you can’t another 4-12 campaign, perhaps even worse.

Timeline

—It’s been 119 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 140 days until they play another one.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 4; Redskins minicamp starts 51; Redskins training camp starts 95

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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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.