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What effect does Kaepernick's deal have on RG3, Redskins?

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What effect does Kaepernick's deal have on RG3, Redskins?

Yesterday afternoon Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and other young quarterbacks who will be up for new contracts in the next few years had reason to celebrate. Colin Kaepernick signed new six-year deal with the 49ers and the reported top line numbers of up to $126 million with a record $61 million guaranteed apparently gave the other young guns a nice comparable deal to work with when negotiation time comes around.

But the devil is always in the contract details and as those have emerged the Redskins and other organizations that will have to write the checks are breathing easier. Florio has Kaepernick’s contract broken down on Pro Football Talk and you can go there if you want to wade through all of the provisions. But the bottom line is that far less than $61 million is fully guaranteed and Kaepernick’s salary can de-escalate by $2 million annually if he doesn’t make first- or second-team All-Pro or if the 49ers don’t make the Super Bowl.

The vast majority of the guaranteed money is guaranteed for injury only. In other words, if Kaepernick is healthy but underperforming, the 49ers can release him after this year and deal with only his $12.3 million signing bonus as far as dead cap.

How does this affect Griffin and the Redskins? While it’s interesting and certainly something that both Griffin’s agent and Bruce Allen will file away for future reference, it’s too soon to tell. Griffin’s deal has two more years to run and under CBA rules a player’s rookie deal can’t be renegotiated until only one year remains so nothing can be done this year. Since Griffin was a first-round draft pick, the Redskins have a fifth-year option on him that will keep him under team control for the 2016 season at a salary of about $15 million.

It’s likely that Griffin’s camp and the Redskins would rather not have Griffin play 2016 under the option salary (since Kaepernick was a second-round pick in 2011 there was no option year; he would have been a free agent after this season). The spring of 2016 is the likely target date for a new deal for Griffin.

Will he get the big money? Again, too soon to tell if Griffin will command a salary in the $20 million per year range. If he plays more like he did as a rookie in 2012 and the team has some success in the playoffs he could well cash in with a deal bigger than Kaepernick’s and one that perhaps has more fully guaranteed money. Note that the salary cap is likely to be some $20 million higher in 2016 than it is now, according to many projections. The agents for Griffin and the other young gun QB’s are going to want compensation adjusted accordingly. But if Griffin improves only marginally from his forgettable performance of last year, his potential payday will shrink.

But make no mistake about it, unless Griffin’s play completely falls off the face of the earth the Redskins will have to do whatever it takes to keep him in burgundy and gold well beyond his option year. There simply is too much invested in him both in terms of draft picks and marketing (yes, there are off-field considerations in contracts) to let him walk after fulfilling his rookie contract.

Griffin’s contract will become a more prominent topic for discussion after the last game of the upcoming season, when he will be eligible for a renegotiation. Until then, Kaepernick’s deal is a data point to ponder.

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Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.

Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.

The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.

The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.

Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.

The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.  

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

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