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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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'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

NFC East opponents don't challenge Josh Norman. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham, Jr. are fake tough, no real threat to him. Not like some other receivers in the NFL. 

At least that's how the Redskins corner described them in a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report published on Thursday. 

The gist? The Cowboys and Giants stars get no respect from Norman, though both were involved in memorable feuds with him the past year. 

Norman got his first opportunity to talk trash when asked to do word association with the name "Dez Bryant." He took the opening and returned it for a touchdown. 

"That's a guy. Just a guy. Dez was Dez in 2012, '13, '14. Maybe '14. Now? He's a guy," Norman said.

"He doesn't 'wow' you. For me, he don't. For other guys, he probably will do the worst to them because he'll bully them. But you can't bully a bully. You know what I'm saying? That's why his game doesn't resonate to me."

To jog your memory, Norman and Bryant went at it after the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving last year. Bryant said Washington should get a refund on Norman's contract. There was also drama about whether Norman falsely accused Bryant of threatening to "unload the clip" on him.

Real mature, substantive conflict. 

RELATED: Redskins’ Norman confident that changes will improve defense

The Redskins corner didn't go any easier on Beckham, who of all receivers in the league has had the most explosive run-ins with Norman. 

In fact, Beckham's helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman in a 2015 contest between the Giants and Panthers led the NFL to change rules for ejections. Beckham had racked up three unnecessary roughness penalties in that game. 

"[Beckham] tries to be a tough guy. He tries to put on this persona which he's not. Because he's always going to have his head on a swivel. Always. Always when we play each other," Norman said, suggesting that he's able to push OBJ over the edge and out of control. 

"He's scary like that. He does things that he normally wouldn't do because of all the pressure and added hype that he has to put on his whole persona. He's not this guy. If you go back and watch the games in which we play compared to the games we don't play each other, he's a totally different guy."

"When people get physical, tough, like the Minnesota game, he acts out. He's a kid. He's a big kid, man," Norman concluded.

It must have been an exercise in restraint not to mention OBJ's kicking-net tantrum after losing to the Redskins last year. 

As the interview moved on, there wasn't a receiver that drew respect from Norman until the name Julio Jones came up. Norman got to see the Falcons receiver twice a year when he played for Carolina in the NFC South. 

"Now, that is the ultimate challenge. That's when I can do things in a split-second, a millisecond, just choo-choo-choo," Norman said of facing Jones. He said he's missed that challenge since moving to the NFC East. 

"It's the worst. Because I'm just battling 'guys.' I'm not battling against something I can call 'greatness.' I'm not enhancing my craft. Don't get me wrong. They're tough. But they're not [Jones]," he said. He also named Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Chicago's Alshon Jeffrey as other receivers who could provide a real test. 

But whether those matchups excite Norman or not, he knows they can't touch the hype of NFC East showdowns, especially ones involving Beckham. 

"That game gets so hyped up by the time we play them, it won't even be Giants vs. Washington—it'll be me and him. ... Because now you have us on Thanksgiving Night. C'mon, man!"

The interview ended with Norman looking forward to playing with new Redskins safety DJ Swearinger, who has a reputation as a hard-hitting intimidator.

"Trust me when I tell you, it's going to be bad blood this year. You think the NFC East didn't like each other before? This year right here? There's going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I'm going to be honest with you: This s--- is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don't give a f--- and I definitely don't. And I know they don't have that many people on the offense who do on their side."

"I'm letting all hell break loose."

MORE REDSKINS: Josh Doctson ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

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Redskins WR Josh Doctson is ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

Redskins WR Josh Doctson is ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

An Achilles injury robbed Josh Doctson of the bulk of his rookie season with the Redskins. After a strenuous offseason spent rehabbing and a clean bill of health, Doctson is ready to fight back.

"It feels good to be back out here with them and to be playing football again," Doctson said Wednesday at Redskins OTAs (full video above). "It's what I’ve been doing for a long time, it's why I’m here. I'm good at what I do."

Sure it's May and there was no contact, but Doctson showed how good he can look on Wednesday. He caught a number of balls throughout the two hour session and looked smooth in his routes. The second-year pro from TCU makes cuts while maintaining speed and balance, and the skills allowed him to get open a number of times to haul in passes using soft hands.

"Right now, so far, so good," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."

Late in the OTA session, Colt McCoy found Doctson for a deep touchdown. While the sidelines erupted, Doctson just calmly jogged back to the line of scrimmage and talked with coaches. 

Doctson explained that to "show my teammates, coaches and myself again that I can play with these guys, play at this level, it feels real good."

The Redskins will need the 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. Doctson this fall. With the exit of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards left the Washington offense. Free agent addition Terrelle Pryor will be expected to pick up a large chunk of that yardage, but Doctson will need to offset that loss as well.

"He’s been impressive. I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now. I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field," Gruden said.

Doctson described the pain in his Achilles as "pretty much non-existent now."

Never a good place to look for nuanced analysis, last season some social media speculation suggested Doctson was homesick dealing with his injury. That theory seems foolish, as the receiver spent the entire offseason in Ashburn, working out and rehabbing.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy," he said. "I got after it every day. It’s a tribute to my hard work why I'm feeling so feeling healthy."

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