Go here for the complete Redskins depth chart.The Redskins released their first depth chart of the year today in advance of Thursdays preseason game against the Bills. The unofficial chart contained a few mild surpises.Chris Cooley is listed as the second-team fullback. Starter Darrel Young and Dorson Boyce are the only two full backs on the roster and Cooley hopes to carve himself out a hybrid type of role where he can serve as a backup at both his regular tight end position and at fullback.Tim Hightower, whose participation in team drill has been very limited as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered last October, is the top running back. The surprise is that Evan Royster, who finished last season strong, is listed as the second running back, ahead of Roy Helu Jr., the teams leading rusher last year.Jammal Brown is still listed as the starter at right tackle even though he remains on the physically unable to perform list. Tyler Polumbus, who has been working with the first unit since reporting to cap, is on the second team at right tackle and Willie Smith is third.Yes, Robert Griffin III is listed as the starting QB with Rex Grossman second team followed by rookie Kirk Cousins. Griffin is the only rookie atop his position on the chart.The top three kick returners and punt returners are the same, with Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, and Anthony Armstrong being listed 1-2-3 respectively.At safety, Tanard Jackson is on the third team at free safety behind Madieu Williams and DeJon Gomes
The Redskins have found their offensive and defensive coordinators and they are ready to get on with the business portion of the offseason. The big question between now and the middle of March is how they will divvy up their $62 million in cap space. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options.
Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com
The Redskins currently have these cornerbacks under contract.
—Josh Norman, 2017 cap hit $20 million, under contract through 2020
—Bashaud Breeland, $811,500, through 2018
—Kendall Fuller, $737,106, through 2019
—Tharold Simon, $775,000, through 2017
—Quinton Dunbar, $614,000, through 2019
Free agents: Greg Toler, Dashaun Phillips (exclusive rights)
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—Norman is in the second year of the five-year, $75 million contract he signed last April. This is the peak cap hit in the deal; in the remaining three years of the deal his cap range from about $14 million to around $17 million.
—Having completed three years of his rookie contract, Breeland is eligible for a new deal. There has been no buzz that there are any talks going on. Breeland had his struggles last year and both sides may want to wait before making a long-term commitment.
Positional spending (all defensive backs)
2016: $17.8 million, 27th in NFL
2017: $29.9 million, 7th in NFL
Adding and subtracting:
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins stay away from the free agent market here, at least a far as the players who would get big and even medium sized deals. The Norman deal precludes bringing in a premium corner like Trumaine Johnson of the Rams.
They could bring in a mid-level corner, although that could cause a problem if they want to keep Breeland. If Breeland signs an extension this offseason the average annual value probably would be in the $7 million. If they don’t agree to a deal (as noted, that seems to be the more likely scenario) and he improves, that could be closer to $9 million. If he becomes a Pro Bowl caliber player, the sky’s the limit.
Because his value is likely to increase, it’s my belief that Breeland will wait unless the Redskins offer him a deal that is too good to turn down.
As of now, Fuller and Dunbar are second on the depth chart with Fuller currently penciled in the slot. Fuller still has three years left on his rookie contract and Dunbar will be a restricted free agent after this season.
The Redskins could bring back Toler and he, Simon, and perhaps Phillips can compete with a possible draft pick or two and maybe a low-level free agent.
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Salary cap outlook series
All signs point to the Redskins again placing the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, and the March 1 deadline to make that move grows ever closer.
The franchise tag, however, will not prevent the organization from making a long-term deal with the quarterback.
CBS' Jason La Canfora expects the Redkins to get a deal done with Cousins sometime this summer.
"Unlike last year, the Redskins will make a legit concerted effort to sign him to a fair-market deal (unlike the low-ball overtures of a year ago). And by July 15, I suspect Cousins has a long-term deal with Washington agreed to."
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July 15 marks the deadline for teams to negotiate with tagged players. Last year, the Redskins hardly offered Cousins more money than was guaranteed by his one-year, $20 million contract dictated by the franchise tag.
This season, that figure jumps to $24 million.
There is some debate as to what will constitute a 'fair-market deal' for Cousins. Will the Redkins passer get to the Andrew Luck level, with more than $80 million guaranteed? Will the team use the non-exclusive tag and let Cousins see what his value is with other teams?
Nothing but questions and specualtion will dominate the Cousins conversation, at least until March 1 when the 'Skins are forced to use the tag or let the QB walk to the open market. That won't happen, but it is possible the team and Cousins reach a multi-year deal before then.
Don't plan on it. The NFL is a deadline driven league. March 1, and then July 15, could prove to be the most important days in the 2017 version of the Cousins saga.
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