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Ranking the Redskins 21-29

Ranking the Redskins 21-29

Ladell Betts

Here's my annual ranking of the front-line Redskins. There are 29 players in the rankings—the 22 regular position starters, a third wide receiver, a third-down back, punter, place kicker, long snapper, kickoff returner, and nickel back. Today, #21 through #29:

29. Shaun Suisham, K—This seemed like a good place to start since he was statistically the worst at his job in the NFL last year, hittling a league-low 71% of his field goal attempts. If Dave Rayner beats him out, he takes Suisham's spot at #29 as well.

28. Rock Cartwright, KR—I'll take Rock all day as a special teams guy but he just doesn't do it for me as a kickoff returner. I'd rather have the 20 or 25 most of the time and midfield or better once a game than the 25 or 30 consistently and past midfield once a month or so.

27. Stephon Heyer, RT—When people look at your jersey and see a pair of question marks instead of your number, you've got some convincing to do. Consistent competence is what will be asked of him and his ability to deliver that is one of the keys to the season.

26. Malcolm Kelly, WR—As with the kickers, if Devin Thomas beats out Kelly for this spot, the ranking doesn't change much. It's based on a lack of proven production. There's a good chance that this ranking can climb higher as the season goes on but I'll believe when I see it.

25. Randy Thomas, RG—Can Thomas, who is one of my favorite Redskins of this decade, really be this low on the totem pole? Having a bum knee, neck surgery and, now, a calf injury can do that. He'll hang in there but his effectiveness will be somewhat limited.

24. Antwaan Randle El, WR—He just turned 30 and the Redskins are running out of time to get their money's worth out of him. It looks like he'll make a pretty good chunk of change (his cap number is $4.1 million) to catch a few dozen balls, take a trip on the path to nowhere while returning punts, and turn an occasional trick play.

23. Ladell Betts, 3rd-down RB—Betts isn't the prototypical third-down back, the one that can take a swing pass on third down, make a cut, turn on the jets and get a big play. However, Betts will usually get you to the sticks if not much more. He's a pretty good backup running back although he doesn't seem to be effective enough to enable the Redskins to go to a true, two-back system.

22. Fred Smoot, nickel back—At times he looks like he can get it done, at others he's a ticking time bomb. His run support has been pretty good but that's not exactly what you're looking for out of your nickel back.

21. Jason Campbell, quarterback—I'm working on the "what have you done lately" line of reasoning here, the Campbell we saw in the second half of 2009 just wasn't very good. It's all about consistency; if Campbell can find it, the Redskins could be pretty good.

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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