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Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

The Redskins are heading into the stretch run and are in first place in the NFC East. As the injuries have mounted it sometimes it seems like this team is held together with duct tape and chewing gum.

Here’s a look at the 53-man roster (actually at the moment it’s 52 players with one opening pending) followed by some roster stats that will interest you.

Starters in bold.

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III

Last year the depth chart seemed to change on a weekly basis with injuries and ineffective performances forcing Jay Gruden to shuffle the deck. In 2014 it has not changed a bit as Cousins has taken firm control.

Running backs (5): Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Pierre Thomas FB Darrel Young

None of them are playing well except in flashes here and there. Sometimes it’s the blocking, sometimes it’s them. But it’s been a disappointing group.

Wide receivers (5): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

The move to place Andre Roberts on injured reserve doesn’t have much of an effect on the group as he was often a healthy inactive and wasn’t very productive when he was in (11 receptions).

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Alex Smith, Je’Ron Hamm

Smith was signed last week and immediately moved ahead of Hamm on the depth chart; Smith played 16 snaps against the Bills while Hamm was inactive.

Offensive line (9): LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Josh LeRibeus, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses, G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, T Tom Compton, C Brian De La Puente

Center Kory Lichtensteiger is eligible to start practicing this week and he could be activated if the Redskins reach the playoffs. With LeRibeus not exactly lighting it up in the middle of the line it seems likely that Lichtensteiger will go back to his starting job when he is ready.

Related: Bye week Redskins roster breakdown

Defensive line (6): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston

Free agent disappointment Stephen Paea was put on injured reserve with a toe injury. Nobody was added; Kearse will simply go from being inactive every week to being active.

Linebackers (9): OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Houston Bates; ILBs Perry Riley (injured, foot), Will Compton, Keenan Robinson, Mason Foster, Carlos Fields

Compton has supplanted Robinson as the starter at Mike linebacker, a move that was prompted by both performance and nagging injuries to Robinson. Riley will be out at least another week with a broken bone in his foot but Foster has played well in his place.

Defensive backs (9): CBs Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Quinton Dunbar, Dashaun Phillips; Safeties Dashon Goldson, DeAngelo Hall, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett

If anyone had told you at the beginning of the year that Quinton Dunbar would be lining up against the likes of Beckham, Bryand, and Watkins during critical late season games you would not have believed them. But Dunbar has done that and has held his own pretty well.

Specialists (3): K Dustin Hopkins, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way

Hopkins replaced Kai Forbath in Week 2 and the Redskins haven’t looked back.

Breakdown: 24 defense, 25 offense, 3 specialists

Roster changes since the bye week (15 total transactions):

Moves off the roster (8): WR Andre Roberts (IR), TE Derek Carrier (IR), TE Anthony McCoy (waived), C Kory Lichtensteiger (IR-return), DL Stephen Paea (IR), OLB Jackson Jeffcoat (waived-injured), CB Chris Culliver (IR), S Trenton Robinson (waived-injured)

Additions to roster (7): RB Thomas, TE Smith, TE Hamm, C De La Puente, OLB Bates, ILB Fields, CB Phillips

Others added to 53-man roster after season opener and prior to the bye (5):

ILB Foster, CB Blackmon, CB Dunbar, CB Phillips, CB Everett

 

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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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ROSTER BATTLESLeft guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

RELATED: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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