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Will injuries force D-line changes?

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Will injuries force D-line changes?

This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook for the defensive line. Now, CSNWashington.com’s Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on the most pressing issue at the position entering the offseason: Is an upgrade at one or both end positions necessary?

El-Bashir: As we discussed earlier, it comes down to the health of Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker. If Bowen appears as though he’ll return to full strength from microfracture knee surgery and management is convinced Carriker can rebound and play at a high level after missing nearly two seasons due to a torn quadriceps tendon, an overhaul might not be needed. In 2011, Bowen and Carriker enjoyed career years. Bowen notched a career-best 41 combined tackles and six sacks, while Carriker recorded 34 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks. That wasn’t all that long ago. But there are also question marks behind them, as well. Jarvis Jenkins has shown flashes but struggled to establish himself last season following a four-game suspension to start the year. Chris Baker finished 2013 strong but started only three games at end and is scheduled to hit free agency. Kedric Golston, meantime, is a steady backup and should remain in that capacity. Again, depth isn’t the overriding concern. Finding two reliable, productive starters is. So if there are any worries about the health of Bowen and/or Carriker (and there probably will be), the Redskins must consider adding proven starter via free agency.

Tandler: Money matters when making decisions like this and it’s a big factor here because both Bowen and Carriker carry large salary cap numbers. Bowen’s is just over $7 million and Carriker’s stands at about $6.8 million. If they move on from Bowen they will save $1.98 million and releasing Carriker would add $3.17 million to their cap space. It would be very difficult to justify keeping Carriker at that cap number and with that much in potential cap savings. You have to appreciate his heart and desire to come back from that quad injury but at the same time you have a player who will be 30 in May and who will not have played in almost two full seasons. The best course here might be to release him and then, assuming he is healthy enough, sign him back to an incentivized deal that protects the team in the event of further injury complications. Bowen will be 30 next month but he had not missed a start in two and a half seasons prior to Week 11 last year. They could wait until closer to training camp and check on his condition then before possibly making him a post-June 1 release. 

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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<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!

 

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Washington Redskins' 2017 cap is top heavy—is that a problem?

Washington Redskins' 2017 cap is top heavy—is that a problem?

It seems almost inevitable that the Redskins will put the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins between now and the March 1 deadline. This will set the Redskins up to have a very top heavy salary cap structure.

As the website Spotrac noted yesterday, if the Redskins do tag Cousins, giving him a cap hit of $24.9 million, he, Josh Norman ($20 million cap number) and Trent Williams ($15.1 million) will account for a total of $59 million against the cap or 35 percent of the estimated $168 million cap for the 2017 season.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

That’s a lot of money to go to 5.6 percent of the players on the roster. To compare, the top three players on the Cowboys’ cap account for 34.2 percent of the cap. The top three with the Giants take up 29.7 percent and in Philadelphia it’s 17.8 percent. In fact, a check around the league shows that none of the 2016 AFC or NFC playoff teams has a higher percentage of their cap expended on its top three than the Redskins have on theirs.

This caused some consternation among Redskins fans and while it’s something to keep an eye on it does not present a big issue for the team at this time.

For one thing, the Redskins still have a good amount of cap room. If you assume the Cousins tag, they still will have about $40 million in cap space with the ability to create perhaps $10 million more by releasing some veterans and/or redoing some contracts.

Also, it’s a temporary situation. Let’s say that the Redskins hang on to Cousins with a long-term deal and he has a $22 million cap number in 2018. If that the case then Cousins, Norman ($17 million), and Williams ($13.9 million) would still be the top three players on the cap number list and they would total $52 million.  On a cap that is projected to be $178 million that would be 29.2 percent of the total. That’s still on the high side but certainly manageable.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

And if you are going to have three players taking up a high percentage of the cap they should be your quarterback, left tackle, and No. 1 cornerback. Those, along with an edge rusher, are the most important players on the team and it’s appropriate to have them among you highest-paid players.

Still, the Redskins must be careful. Signing another free agent with a cap hit like Norman’s is out of the question. And as key contributors like Morgan Moses, Trent Murphy, Jamison Crowder, and Brandon Scherff become eligible for contract extensions or for free agency over the next couple of years, the organization needs to be sure that there is room to retain their own players when the time comes.

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.