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Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

Redskins salary cap outlook: Interior offensive line

The Redskins have found their offensive and defensive coordinators and they are ready to get on with the business portion of the offseason.

The big question between now and the middle of March is how they will divvy up their $62 million in cap space.

Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options.

Up first was the offensive tackle position. Today the focus is on the interior offensive line.

Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com

The Redskins currently have five interior O-linemen under contract.

— G Brandon Scherff, 2017 cap hit $5.8 million, under contract through 2018
— G Shawn Lauvao, $5 million, through 2017
— C Kory Lichtensteiger, $4.5 million, through 2017
— C Spencer Long, $853,450, through 2017
— G Arie Kouandjio, $745,400, through 2018

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

Notes:
—Scherff is halfway through his four-year rookie contract. His cap hit goes up to $6.7 million in 2017. After that, things get sticky. The Redskins do have a fifth-year option on Scherff. As a top-10 pick Scherff would be entitled to a salary that is the average of the top 10 salaries of all offensive linemen. That will come to over $11 million. One would think that the Redskins will try to negotiate a new deal with Scherff after this season so they don’t have to face that decision. But because the Redskins will face a choice in 2019 of either paying Scherff the $11 million or letting him become a free agent, the situation could get sticky.  

—Lauvao is in the final season of the four-year free agent contract he signed in 2014. Predicting that he will be cut is an annual tradition among Redskins fans. He was the starter all year and it’s hard to see a team $62 million under the cap move on from him for cap savings. Even if Kouandjio or another player beats him out for the starting job there is a good chance he sticks around as depth.

—Talk of cutting Lichtensteiger also is an annual event. This might be the year. He lost his starting job to Long due to injury but he didn’t get it back when he was healthy. It’s pretty easy to see them moving on from him and saving $3.5 million in cap space. Another possibility would be for Lichtensteiger to agree to a cut in his base pay and to be able to make it up with incentives like per-game roster bonuses and escalators based on snaps played.

—Long has completed the third year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for an extension. It would not be surprising to see the Redskins try to lock their starting center up for the next several years.

Positional spending (full O-line)

2016: Redskins $26.2 million, 11th in NFL
2017: $34 million, 7th in NFL

RELATED: ASSESSING FIVE MOCK DRAFT SELECTIONS

Adding and subtracting:
— If they do an extension for Long the terms should be fairly easy to settle on. Travis Frederick of the Cowboys is the on top of the average annual value list at $9.4 million and the perennial Pro Bowl contenders like Alex Mack and Mike Pouncey are in the $8-$9 million range. Long clearly isn’t in that category. If he signs an extension he should settle into the $6-$7 million range over four years with around $8 million guaranteed.

— If Lichtensteiger does indeed get cut the Redskins will be looking for a backup center. John Sullivan was signed last year after Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve. Sullivan played well, starting one game and playing most of another when Long was injured. The nine-year veteran might want to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. If not the Redskins could be amenable to bringing him back.

— Kouandjio is inexpensive depth. He struggled in an early-season start when Lauvao was out but he did better in a late-season start. The Redskins may try to bring in some competition in the draft or with a minimum salary veteran signing.

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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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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.