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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agency talk heating up

Feb 27, 2016, 5:16 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 27, 11 days before the start of NFL free agency.

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular stories this week here and on

End is near: Bruce Allen says RG3 will get a new opportunity—This was the first official word that the Redskins are moving on from Robert Griffin III. It wasn’t particularly surprising but still significant after about a month and a half of silence on the subject of Griffin’s future. Although his release appears to be inevitable it still has not happened as of this morning. The only surprise here–why did Allen break the news while on a phoner to a San Diego radio station?

Will the Redskins have any interest in ex-Rams?—DE Chris Long, TE Jared Cook, and LB James Laurinaitis were all let go by the Rams in one fell swoop a week ago. It seems doubtful that the Redskins would be interested in any of them. They already have two tight ends that do what Cook does in Jordan Reed and Niles Paul. Long has been hit with injuries and is on the wrong side of 30. And Laurinaitis might be a fit but his age is likely to keep the Redskins away.

Will the Redskins believe Nkemdiche’s upside is worth the risk?—The Ole Miss defensive lineman has first-round size and athleticism. However, he posted some fairly paltry stats in college and an arrest for marijuana possession throw some red flags in his path to being a No 1 draft pick. It will be interesting to see what McCloughan does if he’s on the board.

A (long) list of the most impressive draft picks made by Scot McCloughan—A good gallery of McCloughan’s best draft picks with the 49ers, Seahawks, and Redskins. Take a few minutes and be impressed.

Who are the top 2017 Redskins free agents?—McCloughan is playing 3-D chess as he prepares for the draft and free agency. Take a look at the list and figure out why wide receiver is a major need in this year’s draft.


—The Redskins last played a game 48 days ago. It will be about 197 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 11; Redskins offseason workouts start 51; 2016 NFL draft 61

In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    There seems to be plenty of RBs with athletic prowess and decent receiving skills at the combine who will be available in the draft’s middle rounds, should McGlue decide he needs a more durable 3rd down RB.

  2. Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    If I’m the redskins I would put the transition tag on kirk cousins if another team wanna over pay him for a average year then so be it…the word is kirk cousins asking for money that he never earn yet…its also a big risk to franchise tag kirk cousins because if he plays well on a franchise tag then redskins will have to pay him over 21 mill per year witch will destroy the redskins salary cap for years…transition tag I say makes more sense if they can’t agree on a long term deal to scretch out the money…the redskins will receive two draft picks if they lose kirk cousins in free agency

    • ohioskins - Feb 27, 2016 at 9:23 AM

      Redskins will not receive 2 draft picks if they put the transition tag on Cousins and he leaves. The money is about 2-3 million$ less with the transition because it is the average of the highest 10 salaries in the league rather than the highest 5 as in the franchise tag. If Cousins signs an offer sheet with another team, the Redskins have 7 days to match that offer. If they don’t Cousins can sign with that team. However, they receive NO compensation in that situation. However, if they franchise tag him as non-exclusive, other teams can negotiate with him, and if he signs an offer sheet with another team and the Redskins decide to let him go, then they (the Skins) would get 2 first round picks as compensation. So, transition tag, while cheaper, is much riskier. I’ll take the franchise, non-exclusive.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:55 AM

        Very well stated!

        The transition tag offer is just not worth a 2 to 3 million dollar savings for a potential franchise quarterback unless the team is extremely confident they can match any offer in the market. There are many QB hungry teams out there so that is a big risk to take where that savings is lost out by a higher contract offer. If the Redskins would have lost him in FA then I think they would get a compensatory pick the next season. However, it still would not add up to the risk taken in going this route.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2016 at 9:23 AM

      the redskins will receive two draft picks if they lose kirk cousins in free agency

      That’s the non-exclusive franchise tag, isn’t it?

      That’s an idea for a post, Rich: The benefits and drawbacks of using assorted tags on Cousins.

    • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 9:25 AM

      There is no compensation for the transition tag, only right of first refusal. Not saying it’s a bad option because I doubt some team will work to make a contract we wouldn’t match, only if they do we get nothing.

      • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:06 PM

        The transition tag allows other teams to negotiate for you. So some team with huge cap space (this year there are a bunch) can and will make ridiculous guarantees to either ensure they get the player and/or muck up the Redskins’ cap. This is just hypothetical but I suspect the differences between Cousins and the Redskins are the exit terms. I have earlier put out what I think the Redskins could get for Cousins that would make a cap friendly deal for a four-year $72M deal. (2016 cap hit of $15M and 2017 of $17M).

        Now, for instance, team B signs Cousins to a four-year $72 million contract but with more guaranteed money and structured in a way that hits the cap at the franchise tag marks. That would be a long-term deal that the Redskins wouldn’t match.

        Let’s say this new deal has the same $20M signing bonus (prorated over 4 years at $5,000,000.) Like my deal it also guarantees the first year’s salary but at a higher salary and it also guarantees the second year’s salary (not just in case of injury) as well as puts a huge roster bonus that is guaranteed at the start of league year. So it looks like this:

        2016 $20,000,000 ($15M salary, $5M prorated bonus)
        2017 $23,000,000 ($3M salary, $5M prorated bonus, $15M roster bonus)
        2018 $14,000,000 ($9M salary, $5 prorated bonus)
        2019 $15,000,000 ($10M salary, $5 prorated bonus)

        The Redskins may sign a deal like this but it would’ve been better to put the franchise tag in a case like this.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:21 PM

          “The transition tag allows other teams to negotiate for you. So some team with huge cap space (this year there are a bunch) can and will make ridiculous guarantees to either ensure they get the player and/or muck up the Redskins’ cap.”

          I like your explanation of the transition tag but doubt any team will add to their salary cap to strap another team. That sounds more like night time soap opera than reality. However, I never completely rule out crazy in the NFL. I think Minnesota is still trying to recover from he Herschel walker trade.

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:29 PM

          Take Charles Clay from last year. The Dolphins could’ve franchised him but instead lost him to the Bills due to the transition tag. The Eagles don’t have a quarterback. They could do something ridiculous. Will they? Probably not, but why tempt them. They have $34 million in space right now.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:38 PM

          I don’t disagree about the risk of a transition tag on Cousins. You point out the 34 million dollar in cap space and also include that every team must meet a minimum cap. I agree that some teams have plenty of money to use that mitigates their risks. Teams in those situations might be very willing to even go above market value to give Cousins a shot.

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 1:17 PM

          Exactly. Why risk that?

    • Thetruthis - Feb 27, 2016 at 10:29 AM

      If you insist on tagging him, then you play the card without having to dump him into free agency, which is what I would have done. If the skins are so delusional and think that there is another NFL team that will pay kirk anything over $10K at this point, then the transitional tag would be a safe way to prove your belief. McCloughan knows no thinking team is going to pay Cousins a long term top QB contract (and look stupid) whereas a lot of teams would pay Cam Newton, or Big Ben, or Tom Brady. Why? because they have proven they can beat top defenses. They are not emotionally involved. This is too early in the love affair to put a ring on it. Also, there are two Kirk Cousins. We have met them both, even last year. Lets not forget that there was a business in DC early in the year that gave a discount or something every time Kirk threw a pick. It happened!

      Now, with the transition tag, the skins can bring Kirk and his agent down to reality, which must happen to protect the skins future. When Kirk and his agent see there are absolutely no desirable takers then they would be more willing to accept a long term reasonable contract. This way, everybody wins.

      The skins win by transition tagging Kirk. He should be happy because he even last year he never even thought he had a chance to get this type of money. He literally won the lottery because of a fear based decision. He would have been allowed to test FA on The Patriots, Steelers, Seattle, Broncos. You know, the better enduring winners. If Jay Gruden were not so short sighted, he would have let McCloughan allow FA to determine what Kirk is worth and deal with it now. But everyone knows Jay wants Kirk and is not even thinking about McCoy.

      Trust me, a stronger defense is a much smarter use of money. You can always bring in a lot of decent QB’s on the cheap when your D is getting it done.

      • berniebernard666 - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:48 AM

        and the funny thing is….You really believe that one page essay you just wrote…LOL

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:09 PM

        I am intrigued by the transition tag since I think you may be right in that the market would reveal a more favorable contract offer on Cousins for the Redskins. This could give them the leverage they need and the leverage you continue to fail to see. However, there are plenty teams starving for even a potential quality starting QB on their team? So why risk losing a starting QB regardless of what quality you “think” he provides and gain NOTHING for it but maybe a compensatory pick in 2017?

        For the additional 2 to 3 million you might as well tag him and see if a team is willing to give up the 2 1st round draft picks for him. You’d be surprised how desperate some teams are right not for a starting QB. All you need is one team that is high or Cousins to make such a move. So going the transition tag could leave the team without a quality starting QB and for little compensation on that lost.

        Do you really think NFL teams will only offer ..ah what was your negotiated price, 3 million for the first year?

        Leverage and risks is where you and reality separate. That’s even setting aside that you may be the only person breathing today that thinks McCoy can be a starting QB beyond 2 games.

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:14 PM

          McCoy is also not under contract so losing Cousins likely makes Colt more expensive than necessary.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:24 PM

          Yes that is true and can you imagine being forced to sign McCoy for more money than a backup QB to start for your team?

      • Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:14 PM

        You hit it right on the money…its the most overrated position ever…a strong defense can carry a team to the playoffs…last year it did for the most part…redskins was averaging two or three turnovers a game and kirk cousins couldn’t score not once…redskins need to keep they money and build a stronger defense with young depth and draft a QB like Kevin Hogan or QB Vernon Adams Jr.

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:23 PM

          I’ll agree that a strong defense is as or even more important than a QB but it is also as difficult or even more difficult to put together than find a QB. There are so many parts (11 starters, key role players, and coaches). Take the Rams. How many #1 draft picks have they used on defense and where are they? They just had to let two former #1s go. Outside Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, they haven’t really hit a home run on the others. You should spend $60M-$75M on the defensive side of the ball but just spending isn’t necessarily going to help you.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:32 PM

          I agree with Bang but I want to add one question: How many teams build long term winners off great defenses with average quarterbacks? How many?

          Most teams that sustain long term success have an elite Quarterback not elite defenses. The salary cap will allow you to retain an elite Quarterback but not an elite group of defenders. it’s just not sustainable. The idea of all we need is an average QB to win is nonsense and frankly logic that would continue the losing ways of this organization. This franchise has had really good defenses in the last two decades and little to show for it. What this organization has not had is an elite QB but IMO for one season back in 2012.

        • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:51 PM

          Agreed Name and it’s not as if Cam,Russel,Brady and Manning are avg. well Manning last year was but he wasn’t being paid like it.

        • John - Feb 28, 2016 at 9:07 AM

          Funny how everyone seems to remember the bad parts of 2014 and early 2015 but not the last half of 2015, once Jackson was healthy and gave them a real consistent deep threat.

          The defense was AWOL for much of the season, prior to Compton and Foster stepping in. Where was the vaunted running game? Oh but Kirk was so terrible that we needed to bring RG3 in to save the season. Oh, wait a minute, RG3, the saviour never played and Kirk had one of the beat seasons in Redskin history and nobody wants to acknowledge it.

          Funny how everyone on the other posts wants to say players need to be given time to develop. That QBs need 2 to 3 years consistent playing time but in Kirks case, we should throw all that out…

    • berniebernard666 - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:57 AM

      where do you people get your football knowledge from? Twitter? Facebook? TMZ? Rolling Stone magazine?

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:11 PM

        The same place where people think Baker should be a nose tackle again or that Cam Newton is a running back player quarterback.

  3. robert herrera - Feb 27, 2016 at 9:53 AM

    Just pick new players from the draft in 2016. There is plenty of talent. We need young players who are hungry to play.

  4. redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    Nkemdiche is an underachiever with possible discipline issues. You don’t invest a 1st pick on a guy like this. Let some other team take a chance on him.

    • berniebernard666 - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM

      it was a waste of article space to mention Nkemdiche as a possibility. Scott M. has already stated he will not embarrass this franchise. The GM already told us he is not interested in CHARACTER FLAW guys and here Tandler is ignoring what Scott M has told everybody and has so far lived up to last year. Certainly does get some of you speculators talking about it…but no chance. Period…

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:13 PM

        Hey aside from Gruden we found something else to agree on.

      • kenlinkins - Feb 27, 2016 at 2:13 PM

        Then how do you explain Culliver and Galette being signed in 2015? Both had Character Flaws / issues hanging over their heads when signed. If the Talent vs. Cost allows the risk to be managed and the GM thinks the Redskins are getting a great deal then the GM will do it. (i.e. if the GM has Nkemdiche graded as a top 7 draft pick and he is sitting there at 21 and the GM believes from the interviews that Nkemdiche has his problems behind him, he will draft him). I am not saying that is the case, Nkemdiche might be a train wreck, which would have the GM pass on him. The rule in the NFL is Never say Never!

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2016 at 3:03 PM

          Galette was an almost free option, and Culliver turned out to be an overpay.

          Neither is the same thing as using a 1st round pick. I doubt we will be drafting Nkemdiche.

        • kenlinkins - Feb 27, 2016 at 3:49 PM

          I agree, I also “doubt” that the Redskins will gamble their first round pick on Nkemiche (which is to say I am about 70% sure it will not happen) but to say that writing about it is a waste of space and that there is no chance is not correct and is more then just a over statement IMO.

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 4:56 PM

          I think when Scot McCloughan talks about character we fans get a different idea(l) than what he means. I don’t think he is referring to choir boys or men who could pass a judiciary nomination but rather men who live and breathe football, who like playing football – the nuances, the details. McCloughan refers to men that ENJOY practicing, who have a determined work ethic to get better, and that understand the concept of team and what it takes to win as a team. These are football “character” issues. Both Culliver and Galette brought competition to practice and didn’t just go through the motions. They may not be the best citizens and have had some flags off the field but then again isn’t that the same for the GM? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’ll go after anyone; but a lot of talented players who have had trouble with the law also rely on their talent more so than their effort on the field.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2016 at 7:08 PM

          You are right about that, ben.

          But even on that scale, Nkemdiche comes up short: Didn’t seem to love football, took plays off, didn’t produce in accord with his abilities.

  5. redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    Bruce Allen should be strictly a Cap and contract employee and not a player personnel employee. Every time he talks about a player, it’s dust in the wind IMO.

    • kenlinkins - Feb 27, 2016 at 2:16 PM

      Agreed! Allen should be in charge of “Glad Handing” only. Seen but never heard.

  6. Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    Let’s just let him go if he won’t take our average long term deal…don’t franchise tag him and he plays well and then it will kill us to retain him…if kirk cousins don’t play well on a franchise tag then he will just be getting 21 mill for a bad season and other positions won’t get attend too…

    • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:34 PM

      What position? Name one position that won’t get attended to.

      • Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 6:49 PM

        WR,CB,DL,LB….redskins got to many needs to be giving kirk cousins the franchise tag…last year redskins brought in a hand full of guys but he also awarded those who deserve a better contract…he told the media he want a long term deal to get done so he can have flexibility to go bring in free agents…I think scot m. Knows what players he want to bring in free agency this year and that’s why its not a easy call to just franchise tag kirk cousins… Its a big risk not only for this year but next year as well…Andy Dolten I think getting paid 16 mill per year but his agent said he couldve got more but Andy Dolten wanted the Bengals to have enough money to resign AJ green when his contract was up…scot m. Probably sat down wit kirk cousins to see if he got the same kinda mindset and he probably didn’t but the visit overall was good but from a money stand point they didn’t get nowhere that’s why they probably gonna use a transition tag…believe it or not kirk cousins can make this all go away by just agreeing to the redskins average long term deal no matter what his agent says…kirk cousins gonna make redskins pay him big because I think he still feels salty by him getting benched for rg3 and he said during the season we gonna see how much the redskins want me so he warn everybody

    • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 12:59 PM

      Money you know Scot doesn’t spend big in FA so saving money but not having a QB wouldn’t make sense unless you just want to field the cheapest team possible. Personally I’d rather have cousins at say 19mil and approx 13 mil in cap space then No qb and 30 mil in cap space. However I’ll trust whatever Scot does.

      • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 1:21 PM

        “However I’ll trust whatever Scot does.”

        That is what it gets down to. Scot has earned our trust and hasn’t lost it yet. Not to say he is without mistake but when it gets down to it, we have a guy now in office that get do a better job than the average fan, for a long time that wasn’t the case.

        • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 1:46 PM

          Feels good, doesn’t it?

        • kenlinkins - Feb 27, 2016 at 2:23 PM

          I am about 85% there with you. I want to see another good year of draft picks before I can say I trust him 100%. IMO the jury is still out after the RG3 option, the many Free Agents who landed on IR and losing that drafted CB on the waiver wire (I really wanted to see what that kid could do). That’s not to say he didn’t do a good job as many of the IR guys could return this year and really help out, plus he found many guys on the street later in the year that help win the NFC East. He did seem to get better as the year when on so maybe this years results will be Outstanding vs. Very Good!

        • bangkokben - Feb 27, 2016 at 5:28 PM

          Ken, like I said, the GM isn’t without mistakes. Then again, Seattle made it to the Super Bowl with mistakes. Signing Matt Flynn to a big contract didn’t derail the other efforts. Winning the division at 7-9 and then a home playoff game forcing the team to draft twelve spots later each round didn’t stop them. Getting whatever they got out of Percy Harvin. The point is that your successes can outweigh your failures keeping you on track and getting you to your destination.

          As for FA signings ending up on IR, that is part of the game. If anyone could foresee the future, they may be in other endeavors. It’s one thing to sign free agents that then get injured and another thing like Chip Kelly to target players with significant injury history and bring them in.

          As for the Griffin option or losing Tevin Mitchel, those decisions have to be judged in the timing of those decisions – not with the benefit of hindsight. The option was much debated before, during, and after, and it is a legitimate gripe. JD makes a point for it and it has been so widely speculated by insiders that the owner was behind the decision that it is hard to determine the degree of truth in that statement. With Mitchel there was apparently a long understood gentlemen’s agreement on not poaching other team’s draft picks that way. I guess you learn from it.

          The point is that he is going to make mistakes but that his non-mistakes will outweigh his mistakes and keep the team improving. We have $13M+ in cap space, a whole quiver of draft picks, and a guy in charge that has a track record of success.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 4:29 PM

          I agree Ken, while I do hold confidence in Scot; I won’t ignore some gaffs that have already affected this roster. Overall, I think Scot has brought in more progress on the roster than what was lost at this point. As for RG3, that is Gruden’s call and not Scot’s. The GM is clear he gives the coaches complete control of who they start. Benching RG3 and going with Cousins is not Scot’s doing and the choice to release him gives the GM few other options.

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2016 at 3:04 PM

    Alshon Jeffery was franchised by the Bears. And the Ravens franchised their kicker, Justin Tucker.

  8. redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 27, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    I see that the Redskins interviewed 3 QBs and one I favor in Christian Hackenberg. Now my interest in the possible “interest” by the Redskins on Hackenberg is not a knock on Cousins. It’s quite the opposite where I feel if they lock down on Cousins then they don’t have to “RG3” a rookie who needs time but is a serious talent worth grooming. While I like to see him drafted, I would expect it be done in the early to mid 4th at the earliest. It’s a nice to have scenario if he was to drop into the 4th round. Anyone who suggest this would create a QB controversy doesn’t realize how raw Hackenberg is for a NFL QB. He is probably a 2 year project. Yes, it is alos insurance if Cousins plateaus at QB unable to overcome key hurdles that allow the team to be a contender.

    • Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 7:01 PM

      I like Kevin Hogan better then hackenburg…hackenburg is a wildcard its boom or bust with him …Kevin hogan is projected to be that third round kirk cousins hes just bigger

    • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 7:54 PM

      I like hackenburg too and see much the same as you name. He just wasn’t a good fit for the offense penn state switched to couple years back. Groom him for a couple years in a pro set that’s more inline with his skills and he could be something special.

  9. Mr.moneylover - Feb 27, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    Yea I know scot m. Is not a big spender but there’s players that’s gonna be on the market that will give the redskins a big boost you wanna have the option to go after a player if you got the money…WR draft class this year is bad there’s two big Bengals WRs that’s gonna be on the market and I see jay gruden going after one of them or both but if you don’t got the money you won’t have that option

    • hail74 - Feb 27, 2016 at 7:56 PM

      Talk here in Cleveland is that they will go after one if not both. No sense in getting in a bidding war for any of the available FA WRs if you ask me. Draft another one this year to groom for next year, then you can address FAs when garçon and Djax are off the books.

  10. scottmccloughanfan - Feb 27, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    Well, the combines have come and gone. Thank goodness.

    Hopefully, the scouting department is assembling final recommendations for the GM, so he may review them with ALLEN and SNYDER for future financials.

    Keep fingers crossed that we get the picks we want after FA is over.

    In McCLOUGHAN we trust. Archives

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