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Redskins salary cap review: Low QB salaries won't last long

Redskins salary cap review: Low QB salaries won't last long

Salary cap review: Offensive Backs

As Jay Gruden continues to assemble his coaching staff, people in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $28 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. So far, we’ve looked at wide receivers and the offensive line. Next up, offensive backs.

The Redskins currently have nine offensive backs under contract.

Name Base Cap number
QB Robert Griffin III $2,309,918 $5,759,754
FB Darrel Young $870,000 $1,378,333
RB Roy Helu $645,000 $762,563
QB Kirk Cousins $570,000 $688,172
RB Evan Royster $645,000 $671,918
RB Alfred Morris $570,000 $600,775
RB Chris Thompson $495,000 $541,250
RB Jawan Jamison $495,000 $495,000
RB Davin Meggett $495,000 $495,000
$7,094,918 $11,392,765

Some notes:

—Griffin has the sixth-highest cap number on the team while Young is the only other back in the top 20 at 14th.

—Only seven teams in the NFL will spend less on their quarterbacks this year than the Redskins. They are about in the middle of the pack in terms of running back expenditure, ranking 18th.

—Rex Grossman is a free agent after signing a one-year deal in 2013.

Adding and subtracting

The Redskins could well go into training camp with these two quarterbacks and seven running backs on the roster. They would need to add 1-2 quarterbacks to run camp, a backup fullback, and maybe a camp fodder running back or two.

But they do have other options. If they get the right offer for Cousins they could well trade him for a draft pick. Should that happen they would need a backup quarterback. It wouldn’t make much sense for them to get a pick for Cousins and then use that pick or another one to draft a backup quarterback. They would likely go the route of signing a veteran backup.

How much would that cost? Somewhere between the $4.38 million cap number that the Cowboys’ Kyle Orton carries and the $580,000 cap charge that the Bears’ Josh McCown and the Redskins’ Rex Grossman carried on their one-year contracts last year.

In either case, the Redskins still will be paying a lot less for quarterbacks than other teams will be. And the same will be the case in 2015 when Griffin is on the last year of his rookie contract. Then the cost will jump considerably.

The Redskins have an option to add a fifth year to Griffin’s contract that would make his salary somewhere in the $15-$18 million range (the average of the top 10 at the position) for the 2016 season. After that, in 2017, he will be a free agent. If he plays as well as he did as a rookie he will command something in the vicinity of $20 million per year. If he’s not there but good enough to still be the starter he’ll get something around $15 million.

The Redskins have never had to deal with a cap number that high for a player before. It will take some adjusting to be able to fit him under that cap.

The big cap number for Griffin is a couple of years down the road but it’s something that the organization needs to think about now. Almost any big-name free agent they might sign this year will have a contract that will go at least into that option year of Griffin’s contract. Bruce Allen will have to look at that $10 million or so being added to the salary expenditures and make sure that the team isn’t giving out a disproportionately large percentage of the cap to just a handful of players.

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 8 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

5:13 left in Q3, Redskins ball 2nd and 8 at their own 29, Redskins leading 13-10

Kirk Cousins sacked at WAS 36 for -9 yards (Calais Campbell). FUMBLES (Calais Campbell) [Calais Campbell], RECOVERED by ARZ- Markus Golden at WAS 30. Markus Golden to WAS 10 for 20 yards (Chris Thompson).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had survived a rocky start and they were in position to take control of the game after the Cardinals missed a long field goal attempt. But the situation turned abruptly when Campbell blew over guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Cousins, sending the ball flying. Golden scooped it up and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Carson Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. That was the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ chances to get a road win that they desperately had to have.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: When the Cowboys opened the game by marching right down the field against the Redskins on Thanksgiving, nobody blinked, as Dallas' offense had been superb all season. When Arizona did the same thing the following week, there was reason for concern. The 'Skins were able to stem the Cards early, and even took a lead, before Campbell bull-rushed his way into the Washington backfield and blasted Cousins. The Cardinals defensive line was hitting Cousins all game, and this play almost seemed inevitable. It would later come out Lauvao was playing through injury, but bigger picture, the Cardinals loss was the first game the 'Skins truly needed and the team couldn't win. The loss dropped Jay Gruden's squad out of a playoff spot, and though the team would eventually inch their way back into contention, in hindsight, losing in Arizona was the first real indicator that the 2016 Redskins would not make the postseason. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

The Redskins are set to interview Dennis Thurman for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Here is a look at Thurman’s qualifications for the job.

Before becoming a coordinator: Thurman played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1978-1985. Redskins fans may best remember him for trying to break up the “Fun Bunch” celebration in a 1983 game. He played for the Cardinals the last season of his career. He coached the secondary for the Cardinals for two years before going to USC and holding the same job there from 1993-2000. Thurman then returned to the NFL as a Ravens defensive assistant and secondary coach. He moved to the Jets to coach the secondary there before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Note: If you want more complete stats on Thurman’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2013 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,359 (11th), points 387 (19th), takeaways 15 (31st), 3rd down 38.8% (13th), DVOA -5.6% (12th)
Notable players: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Antonio Cromartie*, S Ed Reed

The Jets traded away their best defender, Darrelle Revis, during the offseason. Wilkerson led a good pass rush as he racked up 10.5 sacks and LB Calvin Pace had 10. It should be noted that head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded head coach and he certainly had influence in what went right and what went wrong on that side of the ball.

2014 Jets (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,235 (6th), points 401 (24th), takeaways 13 (32nd), 3rd down 45.2% (30th), DVOA 3.5% (21st)
Notable players: DT Sheldon Richardson*, DE Quinton Cooples

If you want to know how a team can finish in the top six in yards and in the bottom 10 in points allowed just look at the lack of takeaways and the porous third-down defense. An offense with Geno Smith at quarterback couldn’t keep thinks afloat and Thurman was fired along with Ryan after the season.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

2015 Bills (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,702 (19th), points 359 (15th), takeaways 25 (12th), 3rd down 40.5%, DVOA 8.6% (24th)
Notable players: DE Mario Williams, DE Jerry Hughes

Ryan and Thurman both moved to upstate New York when they were hired by the Bills. This unit ranked fourth in both yards and points the year before Ryan and Thurman arrived and they obviously didn’t maintain that. It didn’t help that 2014 first-team All-Pro Marcell Dareus got into some legal trouble during the offseason and his production plummeted from 10 sacks in 2014 to two.

2016 Bills (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,712 (19th), points 378 (16th), takeaways 18 (23rd), 3rd down 40.0%, DVOA 8.0 (26th)
Notable players: LB Lorenzo Alexander*, CB Stephon Gilmore

Former Redskin Alexander had a good year, racking up 12 sacks and making the Pro Bowl but there wasn’t much else to talk about on defense. They essentially spun their wheels and Ryan was fired with a game left and Thurman soon followed him out the door.

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.