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Need to Know: Why Redskins WR Garçon is likely to be back this season

Need to Know: Why Redskins WR Garçon is likely to be back this season

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 5, 13 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day 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.

Today's question is from Twitter:

Whenever a player approaches the age of 30 and his production falls off precipitously, his future will always be a topic of discussion. Add in that player having the second-highest cap number on the team and the buzz gets even louder.

Pierre Garçon is hitting that trifecta in 2015. He will be 29 before the season starts. He will count $9.7 million against the salary cap, second on the team behind Trent Williams. And he went from a great 2013 season, with 113 receptions for 1,346 yards and five touchdowns to a mediocre 68/752/3 stat line last year.

Even though the stat drop off can be attributed more to the addition of DeSean Jackson on the opposite side of the field and to the team's three-man tag team at quarterback, the questions persist. Should the Redskins try to deal him while they can get some value for him? Or, if they are unable to do that should they release him and take the $5.3 million in 2015 salary cap space that such a move would provide?

The first thing that should be made clear here is that there are no reports that the Redskins organization actively trying to trade Garçon or release him. Right now this is all in the realm of offseason speculation and discussion. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t part ways with Garçon but right now there are no hard reports that they are considering doing so.

Regardless, I don’t think that it will end up happening. I understand that the cap savings, which would total more than $15 million over the next two years, are attractive. And the Redskins are rebuilding whether or not they want to use that word and Garçon will be long gone by the time the team is competitive. If it was my decision, I might be tempted to take a high third-round pick in exchange for Garçon.

But one of the big priorities on this team right now is developing a quarterback. They would prefer to get Robert Griffin III up to speed as a pocket passer. But whoever it is—Griffin, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, a veteran free agent, a draft pick—will benefit from having Garçon as a target. To me, that makes it unlikely that Garçon is going anywhere.

Things could always happen. If the phone rings and a GM on the other end is offering a second-round pick for Garçon, they would seriously consider making the deal and using the second to get a younger, cheaper replacement. Maybe McCloughan will look at the film and decide that the money just isn’t worth it regardless.

While a lot could transpire, the thing that is most like to happen is the status quo. The chances are good that Garçon will be back in burgundy and gold in 2015.

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Timeline

—It’s been 39 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 222 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 33; Redskins offseason workouts start 74; 2015 NFL Draft 85

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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!