Washington Redskins

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Smoot and Arrington

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Smoot and Arrington

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins.

Gibbs: Franchise Tag “Up in the Air”

At the beginning of a two-week window for teams to designate any of their free agents as franchise players, Joe Gibbs said that the Redskins were still undecided about using the tag on any of their free agents. Gibbs quoted in a Washington Post article:: We're still not sure exactly what were going to do there. Right now, it's pretty much up in the air. What happens is you work really hard on all of your free agent guys and try to get in position to get them signed, it's just moving slow. . . . We're working extremely hard on it, it's just so sensitive right now with some of them. I think we're getting closer, but you're always nervous about it because you don't have it done.

The Redskins have two free agents that they would very much like to get deals with before the signing period starts on March 3, cornerback Fred Smoot and linebacker Antonio Pierce. There were reports during the middle of the season that negotiations with both of them were going smoothly, but neither player has put his signature on a contract.

It appears virtually certain that the Redskins will let Smoot test the open market. They aren’t willing to give him the guaranteed money he’s looking for and, since Smoot would likely just play under the franchise tender, they can’t afford to tag him.

The Redskins have long been at an impasse with Smoot over the size of his signing bonus, and there is a sense among many at Redskins Park that he will depart as a free agent. . . . A franchise player must be offered a one-year deal equal to the average of the top five salaries at that position. Under that scenario, Smoot would receive $8.8 million, but Washington is only about $4 million under the salary cap and former starting cornerback Walt Harris is already signed. That last part should make Redskins fans particularly uncomfortable. Yes, Harris was a full-time starter for the Bears from 1996-2001 and for the Colts in ’02 and ’03. Still, he may be shaky as a starter in Gregg Williams’ blitz-happy defense.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the Redskins should overpay to keep Smoot. They probably won’t make a “final” offer; the smart thing to do would be to keep their last one on the table and ask that Smoot give them a chance counter any offer he gets from another team. Let him go out, get his best deal, and let the Redskins see if it’s reasonable to match it.

There is still a chance that the Redskins will be able to sign Pierce before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, but that chance gets slimmer by the day. It would cost $5.9 million against the cap to tag him, so that’s not a very good option, either.

Arrington

Another covered LaVar Arrington’s rehab from a knee injury that cost him the last 12 games of the season:

The Washington Redskins have been encouraged by the progress of linebacker LaVar Arrington in the last week, director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said yesterday, and believe he is making strides toward fully recovering from a series of right knee problems that forced him to miss 12 games last season.Gibbs had hinted at his press conference last Monday that Arrington might need another surgical procedure on the knee, but it now appears that his progress is such that it will not be necessary. Arrington will be evaluated next week to make the final determination.

Lavar Arrington wants to be ready for minicamp

There continues to be some dumb talk about trading Arrington that needs to be addressed here. Such talk is dumb for two reasons. The first, and the one that makes the second moot, is the $17 million cap hit the team would take for cutting Arrington. This was address in the Randy Moss discussion, so there’s no point in rehashing that.

There are some out there, however, who are saying that the Redskins should just accept the cap consequences and get some value for Arrington because the defense played well without him last year. There are also those who are saying that This line of “reasoning” is almost as laughable as ignorance of the cap hit.

The Washington defense ranked third in the NFL in terms of yards gained. That’s a nice accomplishment, but it wasn’t the third-best defense in the league. Besides Buffalo and Pittsburgh, the two teams that finished ahead of the Skins in terms of yards, Philadelphia and Baltimore were clearly more dominant defensively than Washington as was New England. Twenty-one other defense forced more turnovers and those make up for a lot of difference in terms of yards allowed.

The 2004 Redskins defense often was good but rarely dominant and didn’t make many big plays. There is room for improvement and a player of Arrington’s caliber can help provide that improvement. At his best, he can wreak havoc on an opposing offense; at his worst, he’s a major upgrade over Lamar Marshall.

Stop the madness—no more Arrington trade talk!

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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

RICHMOND - Everything seemed cool at the Bon Secours training facility when Jay Gruden left the podium on Wednesday, but that quickly changed when the Redskins released their  Physically Unable to Perform list a few hours later. Jordan Reed landing on the PUP list was an unexpected bomber, a big deal even if the star tight end returns to the field quickly.

On Thursday, the Redskins will take to the field for their first day of training camp. There will be plenty of questions:

  1. When and why? Reed on the PUP list for the first day of camp does not mean Redskins fans should panic, but it also doesn't mean there isn't reason for alarm. Reed has a distinct injury history and it seems the team is being smart trying to handle an injury rather than let it linger. The Washington offense is at its best with Reed on the field. Jay Gruden will be asked about Reed a lot in his Thursday press conference; perhaps their will be some clarity.
  2. D-Line questions - Rookie Jonathan Allen should immediately help the 'Skins up front defensively, but beyond that, there are no sure things in the trenches. The Redskins added Stacy McGee from the Raiders and Terrell McClain from the Cowboys in free agency, and both are expected to have a significant role right away. Those guys have had productive flashes in their past, but injuries have been an issue. The Redskins need them to be good, and healthy, right away.
  3. Time to shine - Josh Doctson hardly had a rookie season as he dealt with Achilles injuries. He played just two games in 2016. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the Redskins need last year's first-round draft pick to produce in 2017. A strong training camp, develping chemistry with Kirk Cousins, could help calm fears about the revamped 'Skins offense. 

Stay with CSN all day for updates from the Redskins first training camp practice of the 2017 season. Football is finally here.

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

RICHMOND—Redskins fans got into a panic when the news that Jordan Reed will start the season on the PUP list with a sprained big toe. But the injury is no cause for great concern. At least not for now.

It’s not that Reed isn’t an important cog in the offense. Of course he is. He was No. 2 in our ranking of the Redskins who will have the most impact in 2017. But there is every indication that the move is precautionary. History indicates that toe injuries tend to linger. Similar to hamstring injuries, the best path often is to rest and rehab until the pain is gone and then rest and rehab a little while longer. That minimizes the chances of the injury coming back.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

The irony here is that Reed did not go to OTAs in order to work on conditioning in Miami. Most areas of his body probably are bullet proof. But there is not a lot you can do to prevent a toe injury; it’s just not one of those areas of the body you can fortify with conditioning.

We don’t yet have a timetable for Reed’s return. They will not be in any hurry. Reed knows the offense and he has good timing and rapport with Kirk Cousins. After missing OTAs he came in a dominated the two-day minicamp. The Redskins could choose to have him work on rehab and conditioning until the third preseason game one month from today. They can let him get a little tune up against the Bengals and then put him back in bubble wrap until they open the season against the Eagles on September 10.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

That sounds like a good plan but there is always the possibility of a relapse. These injuries are tricky. And while it’s too soon to panic, some great concern would be warranted if Reed still is on PUP in a month.

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.