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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

It's easy to knock the Redskins - particularly for the way the team has handled the Kirk Cousins contract situation - but if you look at the core of the team, many of the best players have long-term contracts in place.

The organization has clearly established a system where they identify their best talent and work to get multiyear deals before those players hit free agency. Look at the team's best homegrown players while tabling the Cousins conversation for a moment: Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Jordan Reed all have signed contract extensions before their value would've skyrocketed in free agency.

Considering that, what player might join those ranks soon? A few candidates are emerging:

  • Chris Thompson - Playing on a one-year, $2.7 million deal after his restricted free agency in 2017, it would not be a shock if the team tries to get a deal done with Thompson before the end of the season. Thompson has a ton of value and the trust of coach Jay Gruden. This will be tricky, though, as the free agent market for running backs is not what it used to be. 
  • Bashaud Breeland - Coming off a disappointing 2016 season, Breeland knows he needs to play better to attract the big-money contracts next season in free agency. With a heavy investment in the draft, including back-to-back third-round corners in Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau, it seems unlikely the team will get a deal done with Breeland this season. Don't count it out, however, as Breeland was part of Bruce Allen's 2014 class that has produced well for the Redskins. 
  • Spencer Long - The Redskins staff really likes the continuity being developed along the offensive line. Long is a big part of that at center. The team also drafted Chase Roullier this year, and he could eventually push Long at the center spot. This one will be worth keeping an eye on in Richmond with Long a free agent after the season. Long's development at center has been a positive trend for the Redskins, and for the right price, keeping him in 2018 and beyond seems like something the organization would like to do. 
  • Trent Murphy - This is a tricky one. Murphy had by far his best season in 2016, getting nine sacks and showing he can be a disruptive pass rusher. Then, he was hit with a four-game suspension for PEDs. The Redskins have also invested at outside linebacker in the years since taking Murphy: Preston Smith and rookie Ryan Anderson play the same position. If Murphy can show the same burst once he returns from suspension, the Redskins might be forced to make a decision. No team can have enough pass rushers.

This is just a snapshot of players with expiring contracts. Plenty of others on the roster will be free agents after this season, though the above list is all guys drafted by the organization. Asked about any contract extensions in the works, Redskins SVP of Football Operations and contract guru Eric Schaffer declined much comment. 

No comment doesn't mean that new deals aren't in the works. Don't be surprised if a name from the above list becomes the next homegrown Redskins player with a new deal before free agency hits. 

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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. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back