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.
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 20, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.
Today’s schedule: Practice 1:45; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 3:30
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 12
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 23
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 39
First look at Redskins vs. Raiders
—This tweet seems a bit audacious. It’s from Vic Tafur, who writes about the Raiders for the pay site The Athletic.
They are second in the NFL in offensive yards and first in points scored. Oakland is fourth in rushing yards and 13th in passing yards. QB Derek Carr is third in the NFL with a stellar 126.5 passer rating and Marshawn Lynch has a bruising 121 yards rushing. They’re good but I would reserve phrases like “doing whatever they want” for teams like the Greatest Show on Turf or the ’07 Patriots. The Raiders aren’t there yet.
—Defensively, the Raiders are just OK, especially considering they have played a Titans team that is solid but not an offensive juggernaut and the putrid Jets. They are 17th in yards given up and tied for 11th in points allowed. They haven’t intercepted a pass although they have two fumble recoveries. They have five sacks, one more than a Redskins team that talks a lot about a need to get to the quarterback.
—Carr and Kirk Cousins have very similar numbers in the two seasons plus two games that they both have been starters. One area where Carr has an edge is in the touchdown passes column. Carr has 65 while Cousins has just 46. The Raiders have some quality receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. But Cousins could throw to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon up until this season and Washington also has tight end Jordan Reed. It’s at least a wash in terms of quality of targets if not an advantage to the Redskins. It is something that Carr has solved that Cousins has not. Carr’s ability to get the ball into the end zone helped him become the NFL’s highest-paid player, albeit temporarily.
—Although the Raiders’ offense is not going to make history, the Redskins still need to be prepared to be in a shootout on Sunday night. To be sure, the Redskins defense has improved but it’s hard to see the Raiders scoring less than somewhere in the mid to upper twenties. That means that the Redskins will have to score at least as many points as they did against the Rams, maybe more. They started and ended well in LA; to win next Sunday they probably won’t be able to get away with zero second-half points until after the two-minute warning.
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.
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In case you missed it
It took the New York Giants a full game and another quarter before they scored their first touchdown of the 2017-18 NFL season.
Giants rookie Evan Engram was the recipient of their first touchdown of the season, scoring the first of his career on Monday Night Football.
Naturally he began to celebrate his accomplishment, but perhaps his celebration was too natural.
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In the clip, right in front of the cameraman, the 23-year-old proceeds to dance with a finishing move crotch grab in the midst of his teammates.
Apparently the loosened NFL celebration rules from this off-season did not take out any sexually suggestive actions.
It resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off for the Giants.
With the ball then kicked out of bounds the Lions had the ball at their own 45-yard line.
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Likely the grab will give Engram a fine from the NFL.
Last season Antonio Brown was fined for a similar celebration, by twerking following a score.
The touchdown remains the only time New York has found the end-zone through two games.
With only 13 points it is the lowest scoring two game start in 70 years for the franchise.