Salary cap review: Running backs
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, and wide receivers.
Up today, running backs
The Redskins currently have four running backs under contract.
—This is probably one of the few teams in the NFL where the fullback makes more than any of the players who carry the ball. Young’s relatively high salary is due to his experience and the fact that the tailbacks were either late draft picks (Morris 6th round, Thompson 5th) or undrafted (Redd). This is the final year of Young’s contract.
—With three years of NFL experience, Morris is eligible to have his contract extended or otherwise reworked. If he is not extended he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
—The Redskins control the rights to Thompson and Redd for three more seasons.
—Roy Helu Jr., a fourth-round pick 2011 and the team’s third down back for the last two years, is an unrestricted free agent.
—The Redskins’ spending at running back ranks 23rd in the NFL.
Adding and subtracting
The Redskins could roll right into 2015 with the running backs they have under contract now. That would put Thompson into the role as the third-down back and Redd as the guy who relieves Morris when he needs a break.
If they don’t trust Thompson to be able to pass block they could try to bring back Helu. He’s probably in line for a deal that would pay him about $5 million over three years. Tarik El-Bashir and I will examine whether or not the Redskins should bring Helu back or if they should let him go later this afternoon on CSNwashington.com
There is always the possibility that the Redskins will take a back in the draft. They might not want to count on Thompson, who has a history of being sidelined by injuries.
Cap information from OverTheCap.com and other sources.
As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”
He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.
Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).
Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.
“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”
“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”
Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).
Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.
RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.
Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.
Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.
In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.
Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.
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