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Will Redskins Vets Just Say No?

Will Redskins Vets Just Say No?


The group that decides personnel matters for the Washington Redskins may get a whole lot bigger this coming offseason.

The team may add a general manager to the mix, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m referring to is a group of about a dozen veterans, players who carry 2007 salary cap numbers of about $3.5 million and over. Some of the members of this group are Shawn Springs, Marcus Washington, Jon Jansen, and Chris Samuels. Many of them will be asked to restructure their contracts to create more 2007 cap room. Unlike in the past when many veterans were willing to redo their deals “for the good of the team”, there is a growing feeling around Redskins Park that many of them may balk at restructuring for what they perceive is also the good of the team.

As of right now, according to both our WarpathInsiders.com capologist Robert Large and David Elfin of the Washington Times, the Redskins are within $1 million of the 2007 cap of $109 million or perhaps slightly over. That’s uncomfortably close at best and it’s worse because that number is comprised of the cap numbers of just the 41 players who currently are under contract for 2007. Because the salaries of the top 51 players count towards the cap the Redskins will have 10 more salaries count against that number meaning that they will have to find $3 to $4 million just to be able to fill out a roster with minimum salary bodies.

The good news is that most of the team’s starters are among those who are under contract. (Or, given that the team will finish with a double-digit loss total, that may be the bad news). But the team desperately wants to retain guard Derrick Dockery, who will be an unrestricted free agent and that move will cost considerably more than the minimum salary. Even if a cap-friendly deal can be worked out another million or two of cap room will need to be cleared. On top of that the team has a draft pick that is likely to be in the top ten and, unless they trade down, that will eat up some cap space as well.

Still, $5 or $7 million over hardly is cap hell. That could be cleared out by releasing such players as John Hall, Christian Fauria and David Patten and a few minor renegotiations. Few will refuse to restructure under such circumstances because the job they save may be their own.

It will get sticky, however, if the team asks for players to redo their deals in order to go on a free agency spending spree. What happened last year may make some players hesitant to do so. They agreed to the restructures and looked on as the team used the savings to make Adam Archuleta the highest paid safety in the history of mankind and to bring in an unproductive Brandon Lloyd and pay Antwaan Randle El good #2 receiver money to be a #3 receiver and punt returner.

Around Redskins Park, there are grumblings from some players that they wished that they hadn’t acted as enablers in the team’s drunken sailor spending spree. Some are wishing that they had just said no to the team’s request. Perhaps if enough of them had refused to restructure then the team would have retained the popular Ryan Clark for a reasonable price instead of having to figure out how to spread out the approximately $8 million in dead cap money that will have to be written off when Archuleta gets cut in a few months.

These players who feel that they were burned last year could be very reluctant to make the same mistake again. While there is a high degree of respect for Gibbs the coach and Gibbs the man among team members, like any thinking people the players have to be skeptical of the abilities and effectiveness of Gibbs the personnel director. In essence, players like Springs and Washington control the purse strings. If they don’t trust Gibbs to spend the money wisely, if they see another Archuleta disaster or Lloyd misstep coming, they may well not provide him with the money to spend.

So, the current starting cornerback may well have a hand in deciding whether or not the team can go out and hire his replacement. Do the members of the offensive line want to see the defense overhauled or do they think that things just need a few tweaks? Are veterans going to be concerned that dead cap money in the next few years will cost them their jobs?

Offseasons are always interesting times in Ashburn. This year promises more intrigue than usual with the players having so much say in what the team can and can’t do.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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