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Need to Know: Why is it highly unlikely that the Redskins will trade RG3?

Need to Know: Why is it highly unlikely that the Redskins will trade RG3?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 31, 24 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Why it is highly unlikely that the Redskins will trade RG3

Why can’t the Redskins trade Robert Griffin III instead of just letting him go?

Many fans are asking that questions, wondering why the Redskins can’t get something, anything in return for the player on whom the team spent three first-round picks and a second to acquire just four years ago.

Technically, they can. But it won’t happen and here’s why.

Griffin is under contract with the Redskins for 2016 for $16.155 million. That is the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. It was guaranteed for injury up until he passed his exit physical after the season ended. It is not currently guaranteed but the guarantee will kick back in if he is still on the roster when the new league year begins on March 9. Keep that in mind.

Right now, rosters are frozen until the day after the Super Bowl. Griffin can be cut any time after that date and his salary will come off of the books.

So why not trade him and let him work out a contract with his new team instead of just cutting him? Because players can’t be traded can’t until the league year begins on March 9 and that’s the day his deal becomes guaranteed. No team is going to trade for Griffin along with a guaranteed contract like that.

Could they set something up in advance, give Griffin permission negotiate a new contract with another team, have him sign that deal, and then trade him to that team? Under the rules, yes. But it won’t happen because Griffin won’t want to make it happen on his end.

What is the incentive for Griffin to agree to a new contract to facilitate a trade? The outcome that is to his best advantage would be for him to get released and be able to talk to and negotiate a contract with any of the other 31 teams that might want a quarterback. There simply is no reason for him to limit his options like that. There is no upside for him in that scenario.

Griffin has the leverage here. He can simply wait it out and not answer phone calls originating from the 703 area code. As March 9 approaches, the Redskins will be faced with the choice of releasing him or getting stuck with a backup quarterback at a fully guaranteed $16.155 million salary, a cap hit that would severely hamper their ability to negotiate a new contract with the player they want at quarterback, Kirk Cousins. They will, of course, choose to let Griffin walk.

I suppose you can’t completely rule out anything. But all signs point to the Redskins letting Griffin go sometime between February 8 and March 9 and nothing that makes any sense will prevent that from happening.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 21 days ago. It will be about 224 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 24; NFL free agency starts 38; 2016 NFL draft 88

In case you missed it

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.