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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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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

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