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Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 8, the day the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Patriots

PROVIDENCE, RI—Reporting from here this morning before heading over to Foxborough for the game.

—It is not a complete surprise that Terrance Knighton is out of today’s game with cluster headaches, similar to migraines.   Earlier this week he said that he didn’t do much during the days off for the bye because he was suffering from them. One option to replace him in the line would be to move Chris Baker to nose tackle and use Stephen Paea at left end. Or they could put Paea in at nose and leave Baker where he has been so effective this year.

—Before every game I write a report on the inactive players for CSNmidatlantic.com. I can usually write most it in advance because I know who the inactive players are going to be, between those already declared out due to injuries and the players who are usually inactive. But with seven players listed as questionable and many of them who will have their statuses decided this morning it’s not that easy. Of the questionable players, I think that DeSean Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, and Keenan Robinson will play, DeAngelo Hall and Kory Lichtensteiger will not and Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland are coin tosses.

—The move of Jackson Jeffcoat to injured reserve is as much a surprise to those of us who are at Redskins Park every day as it is to anyone. He was on the injury report with a thigh problem for Weeks 1 and 2 but he has been fine since. We will find out what the thinking was tomorrow. In any case, Houston Bates, who impressed during the preseason, gets a spot on the 53-man roster and he should be able to hang onto it the rest of the season.

—If Jackson does play today, how much impact can he have? His snaps are likely to be limited as he has not played in a full game in more than 10 months. But Jackson doesn’t have to play a whole lot to have an effect on the game. If he can grab one or two deep passes that will help. But whatever he can do to loosen up the rushing defense up front is unlikely to materialize for a week or two. It’s likely that they will be throwing the ball most of the time when Jackson is in the game.

—Like most, I can’t find a pathway for the Redskins to pull off the upset today. Rob Gronkowski will give them a world of problems and, of course, Brady is an unstoppable force. The Patriots won’t score at will but they will put up somewhere between 30 and 40 points. Maybe the Redskins can get into the 30’s but, as I said yesterday, they won’t be able to do it on the ground. They will have to move the ball with Cousins throwing to Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jordan Reed. I see them keeping it respectable that way but ultimately the Patriots are way too much to handle. I’ll take Patriots 38, Redskins 17.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Patriots 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Saints @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Panthers 14; Giants @ Redskins 21

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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.