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Who are the locks to make the Redskins' 53?

Who are the locks to make the Redskins' 53?

The Redskins will report to training camp on Wednesday with 90 players on the roster. One of the biggest jobs the coaching staff will have is to determine who will be on the 53-man roster when the season starts.

We all know, however, that there are not 53 jobs up for grabs. Some players are locks to be on the roster when the season starts on Sept. 7 in Houston, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances. How many players are locks and how many roster spots are really at stake? Let’s take a look:

Offense (16): OL Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Kory Lichtensteiger; WR Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts; QB Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins; RB Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Darrel Young; TE Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

Some will want to debate a few of these such as Young and Paul. But I’ve heard that Young is a lock despite Gruden’s history of not always keeping a fullback on the roster in Cincinnati and with the team trying to revive the special teams units Paul isn’t going anywhere. I could have put Tyler Polumbus as a lock but he’s more like 95 percent certain to be on the 53; If Moses can come on like gangbusters, the organization could decide that Polumbus’ $2.5 million salary is too much for a backup.

Defense (15): DL Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Barry Cofield; LB Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley; CB DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Bashaud Breeland; S Brandon Meriweather, Ryan Clark, Phillip Thomas

The only possible question mark is Breeland but I don’t see them exposing their fourth-round pick to waivers in an effort to get him on the practice squad. Free agent linebackers Spencer Hayward, Akeem Jordan, and Darryl Sharpton are in the 95 percent category but there is a possibility that there won’t be room for one of the three.

I’m not prepared to call any of the six specialists locks. Long snapper Nick Sundberg is the closest but the organization might look at the fact that he has spent a total of 19 games on injured reserve the past two years and go with Kyle Nelson. While Kai Forbath and Robert Malone are solid favorites at kicker and punter, respectively, neither is a lock.

With a total of 31 roster locks, 22 jobs are legitimately up for grabs between now and when final cuts are made on August 30. The competition will be fierce and it gets underway on Thursday.

Did I miss any players you think are locks? Anyone listed not a lock in your opinion? Let me know in the comments.

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.


Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 


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