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What effect will Antonio Brown's big deal have on the Redskins and the WR market in free agency?

What effect will Antonio Brown's big deal have on the Redskins and the WR market in free agency?

Antonio Brown’s $68 million contract extension with the Steelers was good news for DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Kenny Britt, Alshon Jeffery, and any other good to very good wide receiver about to hit the free agent market.

The wide receiver market is of high interest to the Redskins this year. They may make an effort to sign one or both of Jackson and Garçon, their free agent pass catchers. If both end up leaving, they might need to sign a starting-caliber receiver as a replacement. They have been working internally to try to value the players who will be available but the market ultimately will determine how much they will make.

Brown got a $19 million signing bonus and he will get $29 million in new money through 2018 and $55.5 million through 2020. The deal averages $17 million per year in new money. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships and Brown getting the money that he got will boost the salaries of Jackson, Garçon, and company.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

But none of them should be expecting to make anything close to the money that Brown is making. Brown became the highest-paid receiver in NFL history because over the last four years nobody else in the league has more receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions than Brown. If he’s not the best in the game, he’s close.

The other receivers are not on Brown’s level and the question is, how much below his pay level should they be because of it. For example, Britt has been in the league for eight seasons and he just eked over the thousand-yard mark for the first time last year, picking up 1,002. He had nine touchdowns in 2010, his second year in the league, and he hasn’t had more than five in a season since then. His name shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath with Brown’s, probably not even the same paragraph.

But, despite his experience, he is relatively young (he’ll be 29 in December) and at 6-3 he has the size that teams are looking for. Britt averaged 16 years per reception over the past three years. It would be easy for his camp to point out that he played in what Todd Gurley called “a middle school offense” with the likes of Austin Davis, Shaun Hill, Case Keenum, and Jared Goff throwing him the ball.

Teams want to pay players based on what they think they will do in the future, not what they have done in the past. And it wouldn’t be surprising if a team thinks it can get $10 million worth of production out of Britt over the next few years.

A report yesterday said that the market for Stills could reach $12 million per year. That sounds like an agent-generated number. Stills has been in the league for four years and he gained 931 yards in his best season, and that was in New Orleans with Drew Brees throwing him the ball. That was his only season with over 50 receptions. Yes, he’s fast and he turns just 25 next month but $12 million seems to be a stretch.

More Redskins: Team entering uncharted waters in Cousins situation

Garçon and Jackson both turn 31 this year and they are looking for one last, big bite of the apple. They probably will look for something in the $10 million range for three or four years. Given Jackson’s speed and his incredible ball-tracking ability and Garçon’s consistent productivity, it won’t be surprising to see both of them at least come close to eight-figure territory.

Will the Redskins be willing to pay that much, whether it’s for one of their own players or for an outside free agent? They may not be planning on it but the tide that Brown lifted up may force them to.

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.

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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. 

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Need to Know: Facebook Redskins mailbag—Media disrespect, Cousins risk

Need to Know: Facebook Redskins mailbag—Media disrespect, Cousins risk

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 22, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 80 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 25
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 72

Fan questions—Facebook edition

I put up a post on Facebook to get some questions from fans and while I got a lot of good ones I didn’t get any that would require an answer long enough for a full post. So I picked some questions to answer rapid-fire style.

I will do the same thing with questions I got on Twitter tomorrow.

Marc, the reality is that the Redskins took a step back last year. Their record was worse and they didn’t make the playoffs. Looking at the recent history of the Redskins, what reason would an analyst have to think that they wouldn’t continue to backslide. Quite simply, the Redskins are going to have to prove it on the field if pundits are going to predict that they will improve from year to year.

He takes risk but how much depends on why the hypothetical decline in his numbers happened. Is it simply because they passed less often? Was he less accurate? Did the receivers have trouble getting open and/or drop a lot of passes? Did game situations differ? Where there injury issues? NFL teams aren’t simply going to look at top-line numbers and determine his value from there. The “whys” will be very important.

I’m very confident that Su’a Cravens and D.J. Swearinger will be an upgrade over what they had at safety last year. Neither is going to the Pro Bowl but the new safeties should represent more than baby steps towards impriving the position. I also ask you to recall all of the talk of Josh Norman getting burned in training camp last year. He turned out to be pretty good.

I don’t make much out of them. He’s not going to bluff anyone into thinking that Nate Sudfeld is going to be a 2018 replacement for Cousins. And Mike McCartney isn’t going let a Williams “take one for the team” statement affect what he sees as a fair deal for his client. Carry on.

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.

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