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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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For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

The prevailing notion around the Redskins negotiations with Kirk Cousins on a long-term deal seem to center around a five-year contract, especially after the Raiders reached a five-year extension with Derek Carr, their young star quarterback. 

Much group think points to a similar deal between Cousins and the Redskins. If you're Cousins, however, why sign?

The Redskins passer has all the leverage in the situation. He's got $20 million in the bank from the 2016 season, and he's due $24 million this season on the franchise tag. All guaranteed. 

RELATED: What is the risk for Kirk Cousins in terms of a deal?

Washington team president Bruce Allen has repeatedly talked about team options for 2018. Those options would be a $28 million transition tag or another franchise tag at $34 million. Expensive options. Cousins has repeatedly talked about market value, and how he has little choice in what happens. 

One area Cousins has control: signing a multi-year contract. 

The longer this thing drags out, it seems more and more likely Cousins will play on the tag in 2017. While it might seem crazy, the Redskins have strongly suggested another tag is in play for 2018. 

That means Cousins would be in D.C. at least two more seasons. As Grant Paulsen reported, last offseason the Cousins camp was looking for a three-year deal with all guaranteed money, based on the 2016 franchise tag salary of about $20 million.

Could a similar, albeit more costly, deal get done now based on the 2017 franchise tag? Three years, $24 million per, all guaranteed?

Cousins knows, and has said, that the team can keep him at least two more seasons. The Redskins also know, should they use the transition tag to save some money, Cousins can walk with hardly any compensation next offseason. Is the organization brave enough to try a non-exclusive franchise tag in 2018? Cousins would likely be quick to sign a one-year deal at $34 million, and teams could wait for him to hit free agency in 2019.

The Redskins are low on options. Maybe less years makes more sense for Cousins, and maybe, just maybe, that can get a deal done. 

Washington might want a long-term deal, but after messing up this contract situation for two years, maybe now they should take what they can get. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

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Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.

Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind? 

Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.

Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.

  1. Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
  2. Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want. 
  3. Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain. 
  4. Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL. 
  5. Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too. 
  6. Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap. 
  7. Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy. 
  8. Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
  9. Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
  10. D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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