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WR picture still muddled after Gaffney release

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WR picture still muddled after Gaffney release

The release of Jabar Gaffney leaves the Redskins with seven wide receivers on the roster; Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Joshua Morgan, Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, and Aldrick Robinson plus WRKR Brandon Banks. Who will be there when the season starts in September?For most of last season, the Redskins carried six wide receivers plus Banks on the 53-man roster. As I pointed out the other day, the Redskins may opt to go with three quarterbacks on the roster instead of two, with both Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins backing up Robert Griffin III. That could mean that there will be room for just five receivers plus a returner or six receivers with one of them doubling as the returner.The field is a little less crowded than it was a week ago with Gaffney gone and Niles Paul apparently moving to tight end (we will see if he remains there when training camp rolls around). Still, there will be some fierce competition among players who have been around a little while.Garon, Morgan, and Hankerson, appear to be locks for jobs. The former two were just given nice free agent contracts and Hankerson will get at least a year to see if he can reach the potential he briefly flashed last year.The conventional wisdom has been that either Gaffney or Moss would make it to give Robert Griffin III a veteran target. But the release of Gaffney does not guarantee Moss a roster spot. Gaffney told ESPN that Mike Shanahan told him that he would not be a starter and that if he is interesting in coming back he might be able to do so at the veteran minimum salary.Moss is scheduled to make the same amount of money as Moss and he is unlikely to start either. Add on the fact that Moss is a year and a half older than Gaffney and you have one of the longest-tenured players very much on the bubble.Armstrong had a bad year in 2011 after a nice season as a 27-year-old rookie. If he can stay healthy, he is the receiver on the roster best suited to taking advantage of RG3s ability to throw an accurate deep pass.Austin has been around for two season and never has truly established a role in the offense. Robinson has speed but displayed little else in training camp before spending almost all of last year on the practice squad. The offseason program could benefit him almost as much as anyoneAnd then there is Banks, who at 5-7 isnt likely to be much of a threat as a receiver. Although he didnt break any long returns like he did as a rookie, he did consistently field punts and provide decent field position after kickoffs.It would not be surprising to see another receiver brought in between now and training camp either via trade or free agency. It likely would be someone who could compete for a job, not someone in the lock category.Unless and until that happens there will be five players competing for two or three roster spots.

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Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money. 

If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.

It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.

The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million. 

Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media. 

The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins. 

MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins

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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick

Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long

As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.

RELATED: 3 Redskins who are up, 3 down

The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.

Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).

Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.

On the bubble: Roullier

In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick

You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.  

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver

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.