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Plenty of pros and cons to Redskins' decision on RG3 contract option

Plenty of pros and cons to Redskins' decision on RG3 contract option

According to a Washington Post report, the Redskins may be inclined to exercise their fifth-year option on Robert Griffin III unless they end up selecting Marcus Mariota on April 30, the first day of the NFL draft. Since it seems unlikely that Mariota will still be available, it looks like they could decide to extend the option, which comes with a one-year salary of about $16.5 million.

There are upsides and there are downsides to activating Griffin’s option. If he reverts to the form that he displayed in 2012, when he was rookie of the year and led the Redskins to their only playoff appearance in the last seven years, then the $16.5 million will be a very reasonable salary for Griffin in 2016, perhaps a bargain. If he does not improve from 2014, when he struggled to be effective when passing from the pocket in head coach Jay Gruden’s offense and missed games to injury as well, the team can simply withdraw the option. It is guaranteed for injury only (and the injury bar is very high, to the point where he would have to miss the whole season) as long as they cancel it prior to the start of the league year in March.

But suppose he plays like he did in 2013, when he showed some flashes of his 2012 form but was inconsistent to the point where Mike Shanahan benched him at the end of the year? That might be good enough to want to keep him around to see if he will develop further but not good enough to warrant a $16.5 million salary. Of the possible outcomes here, boom, bust, or somewhere in between, this in between scenario is the most likely.

Then you are stuck with trying to negotiate a deal with him when he and his agent will see his starting point $16 million for 2016 since that essentially is the offer that’s on the table. The Redskins would essentially be trying to negotiate a pay cut for a player they want to build around. That’s never a good thing and Washington would be working from a position of weakness.

There is another option, although time is running short to get it done. I think that the best thing for the Redskins and Griffin to do is negotiate a short-term extension. Although exercising the option does not preclude working out an extension, it complicates it for the reasons outlined above.

He is guaranteed a $3.4 million salary for this year as part of his rookie deal so you have to write that into it. Do a two-year deal, guarantee him a total of $10 million and give him a modest 2016 salary that can escalate if he reaches performance benchmarks. After two years they will know where they stand and can either part ways or negotiate a longer extension.

The ace in the hole for the Redskins is the franchise tag. Should Griffin revert to his 2012 form in 2015 and the Redskins are having difficulty signing him they would have the option of giving him the franchise tag. That would be somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million. It’s not that $4 million more is not significant but in the scheme of a cap that is likely to be $150 million in 2016, it’s not a difference that is very damaging to the cap.

We will see what Scot McCloughan decides to do in the draft and then regarding the Griffin option. It will make for a few interesting days in early May.

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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.

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

The Redskins could be without two key offensive players against the Raiders tonight, according to a report.

According to ESPN, Redskins starting running back Rob Kelley (rib) is unlikely to play and that Jordan Reed (chest) is a game-time decision but it also is probable that he will sit out. Bot players were listed as questionable on the final injury report on Friday.

RELATED: CRAVENS JERSEY GIVEAWAY A BIG HIT

Kelley was having a career day against the Rams last Sunday before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib cartilage injury. He practiced on a limited basis all week.

Reed, a key target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, missed some snaps after sustaining the injury to his sternum during the game against the Rams. He was out of practice on Wednesday and limited on Thursday and Friday.

Rookie Samaje Perine saw his first NFL action last week and he likely will get his first NFL start in Kelley’s spot tonight. If Reed can’t play, Vernon Davis will start and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle, who was inactive the first two games, will be in uniform.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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.