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What are the Redskins' options with Pierre Garçon's contract?

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What are the Redskins' options with Pierre Garçon's contract?

There is chatter out there that the Redskins are looking to do something with Pierre Garçon’s contract. That deal has two years left to go with cap hits of $9.7 million this year and $10.2 million in 2016 and Redskins may want to lower that number.

The problem is that there isn’t a way to lower the wide receiver’s cap hit that makes sense for both the player and the team. Here are the possibilities.

A straight pay cut—This is the solution that will work out best for the team. Garçon would have to agree to a reduction in his base pay. His contract calls for a salary of $7.1 million plus a workout bonus of $150,000 and per-game roster bonuses that can total $250,000. The Redskins could offer to cut the base pay to somewhere in the $4-$5 million range. That would put the ball in the court of Garçon’s camp. They would rightfully ask why he should take a pay cut. His production didn’t drop from 113 receptions in 2013 to 68 last year due to anything he did wrong. Garçon was not responsible for the three-man carousel the Redskins had going at quarterback nor did he make the free agent deal that brought in DeSean Jackson, cutting into his chances. I can’t see any reason why Garçon would agree to a reduced salary.

A simple restructure—They could convert up to about $6 million of his salary to signing bonus and split that cap charge between this year and next. That would reduce his 2015 cap number to around $6.7 million. But his 2016 cap hit would balloon to over $13 million. It would add $3 million to the dead money if they decide they want to move on from him a year from now, when he will be 30 by the time the season starts. Since they aren’t in any particular cap problems as of right now and could create some room by releasing some older, costlier players, there isn’t any reason to make a move like this.

An extension—They could agree to a contract extension for Garçon, and format it in such a way that would reduce the cap hit this season. But, again, if Garçon doesn’t agree to take less money an extension that would kick in for his age 31 season just doesn’t make much sense. Some receivers still thrive well past 30; others see declining production. How much will Pierre Garçon be worth in 2017? It’s very risky to predict that right now. The Redskins could structure it in a way where they could get out of it with relatively little pain after 2016. But I don’t know why Garçon would agree to a deal that would very possibly put him on the free agent market at age 31.

From here, it looks like only three options are realistic in this situation:

Keep the status quo—Just pay him and focus on getting the ball to him more often.

Trade him—Perhaps a team would give up a third- or fourth-round pick for a player who had over 100 catches two years ago. The $7.5 million salary plus bonuses might be a little steep but the team landing Garçon would not pick up any guaranteed money obligations. The Redskins would incur $4.4 million in dead cap charges but save a net of $5.3 million against the cap this year and $8 million in 2016.

Release him—The cap consequences would be the same as trading him.

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!