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Redskins 2015 salary cap outlook: Defensive line

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Redskins 2015 salary cap outlook: Defensive line

As Jay Gruden and company finalize the coaching staff in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $20 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. Previously we looked at the interior offensive line and offensive tackle, tight ends, running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers.

Up today, the defensive line

The Redskins currently have six defensive linemen under contract.

 

Notes:

—Due to contract restructures in 2013, both Bowen and Cofield have contracts that carry a lot of dead money. Bowen’s carries $2.5 million, Cofield’s $3.6 million. Bowen carries the fourth-highest cap hit on the team; Cofield’s is fifth.

—Last year Bowen reduced his salary to $1.6 million, saving the Redskins about $3 million in cap space.

—Cofield’s contract runs through 2016.

[RELATED: Redskins 2015 position outlooks: Defensive line]

—Hatcher has three years left on the four-year deal he signed in 2014. His salaries shoot up to $6.5 million next year and $7.5 million in 2017.

—Baker is in the second year of a three-year deal. He is eligible for up to $1 million in bonuses but they are considered unlikely to be earned and so they don’t count against the salary cap.

—Kearse was one of the better bargains on the team; in a part-time role for a minimum salary, he had 3 sacks (tied for third on the team) and 12 tackles.

—End Jarvis Jenkins, who started 14 games in 2014, and nose tackle Chris Nield, who missed the season on inured reserve, are unrestricted free agents.

—The Redskins' spending on the defensive line is 11th in the NFL. That's high considering their base defense only uses three defensive linemen.

Adding and subtracting

As noted above, both Bowen and Cofield have very high cap numbers, especially considering that neither contributed much in 2014. Bowen misses the first six games of the season on the PUP list after undergoing knee microfracture surgery in 2013. He also was healthy but inactive for two games.

It’s difficult to see the Redskins paying Bowen, who will be 31 before OTAs start, the $5.5 million in salary and workout bonuses his contract calls for. It seems likely that he will either agree to take a pay cut as he did last year or face getting released.

Cofield could face the same situation. Tarik El-Bashir and I will look at his future in depth later this afternoon on CSNwashington.com.

It will be interesting to see if Hatcher, who was a disappointment with only 5.5 sacks after getting a four-year deal with $10.5 million guaranteed, is still on the team. The finances say that with a $3 million salary and a $1.5 million net cap charge to let him go it makes sense to keep him. But will Scot McCloughan feel obligated to keep around a mistake made by his predecessor? Odds are Hatcher stays but it’s not a sure thing. If he ends up getting cut that will be a sign that this is going to be a major, major housecleaning in Ashburn.

Cap information from OverTheCap.com and other sources.

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

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

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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