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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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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

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

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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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