Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 26, 31 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.
The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 76 days.
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 21
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 45
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 68
Redskins quick hitters
—Don’t look for Jamison Crowder to play much at running back. A couple of weeks ago Jay Gruden did say that he is capable of lining up in the backfield but that was more of a throwaway line, more of a compliment to Crowder’s versatility than a hint of a major shift. Crowder is way too valuable as a receiver and the Redskins are happy with Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine at running back. Crowder might line up in the backfield as an occasional wrinkle but not much beyond that, barring some sort of catastrophe.
—Speaking of running backs, don’t look for the Redskins to make any move with Matt Jones before training camp unless they get a trade offer. There is no reason to simply cut him when he can supply depth at a position where injuries are always a risk. Jones really doesn’t have any options. He could not report to training camp but that would cost him $40,000 per day (yes, per day—they really don’t like players under contract holding out of camp). His best bet is to report, work hard, and see if an opportunity arises on his current team or elsewhere. In hindsight, his agent did not serve him well by advising him to sit out OTAs. Even if the chances of him being in Washington in September are slim, Jones needs all the football reps he can get.
—The Redskins have about $6.4 million in cap space remaining. They could spend a little bit more, perhaps on an extension for Spencer Long. And they want to go into the season with some cushion for injured reserve and to pay the practice squad. But looking at that number, it’s hard to see how they can’t bridge the gap in the Kirk Cousins negotiations. Taking some purely hypothetical numbers here, let’s say that the Redskins want to pay $21 million per year and Cousins’ camp wants $24 million. It would be hard to convince me that they couldn’t find a happy medium at $23 million and just carry $2 million less into the following year to pay for the difference. The talent level on the team would be virtually unchanged. Two or three million dollars a year isn’t a rounding error but on a $167 million cap it’s not huge money.
—The Redskins seem to have a lot banking on Chase Roullier to be their backup center. That’s big pressure a sixth-round pick who is playing for a head coach who says his greatest fear is being without a capable center. Gruden said that all the O-linemen are cross trained and that’s great. But I can’t see any of the primary guards—Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, or Arie Koundjio—do anything more than finish out a game at center if Spencer Long got hurt. There are some interesting names on this list of the top 50 available free agents but only one is a center. And I don’t think that Nick Mangold is going to sign up for a backup role. Can Roullier get up to speed?
In case you missed it
New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason.
The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended.
Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.
The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes.
Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback.
Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do.
"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins