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Redskins' roster situation requires an active free agency period

Redskins' roster situation requires an active free agency period

Bruce Allen did not talk to the members of the local media who made the trek to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. But he did talk to SiriusXM NFL Radio while he was there and among the topics discussed was free agency.

For the first time since 2011 the Redskins will have the same salary cap limit as the other 31 NFL teams. The salary cap penalty is gone and it sounds like Allen is ready to get to work spending some of the team’s available cap space. By most estimates they are about $29 million under the cap.

“We’ll have some room,” Allen said, (as transcribed by the Washington Post). “We’re gonna have some room to do some things. But we have some players who are free agents, and we’re going to talk to them first, to try to retain them. But we have the ability to maneuver around, and we’ll be active in free agency.”

The word “active” is what has drawn everybody’s attention. But even a cursory glance at the Redskins’ situation tells you that they have no choice but to be active. Sheer numbers tell the story.

Of the 53 players on the roster at the end of the 2013 season, there are about 21 who are under contract and have demonstrated the ability to either be a starter, key reserve, or key special teams performer. About seven more who fit that description ended the season on injured reserve.

There are other players on the roster and on IR who are worth keeping as developmental projects so you can add a few more to the existing core. They have six draft picks and you figure that about four of them will make the roster and that they can pick up an undrafted player or two.

Add those together and subtract out several players who may be released as cap casualties about you probably have about 12 to 15 veteran free agents the Redskins will need to sign. That’s “active” by any definition of the word.

There are some Redskins fans who, for unknown reasons, want the team to repeat what they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s and spend heavily in free agency, bringing in a few big-name, expensive players in the process. That approach has landed the Redskins four playoff spots with zero advances even as far as the conference championship game since 1993. But, to them, “active” means reeling in big names.

The one “big name” the Redskins might sign is their own Brian Orakpo. With a over a dozen holes to fill, there might not be any room for players like WR Eric Decker or S Jairus Byrd. The Redskins’ situation is likely to push them in the direction of signing lesser-know players.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

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