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Need to Know: The Redskins’ top five offseason moves

Jul 18, 2016, 5:35 AM EDT

Josh-Norman-presser-AP

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 18, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 190 days ago. It will be 56 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 24; Final roster cut 47; Cowboys @ Redskins 63

—Former Redskins offensive tackle George Starke, the leader of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Three and out

Top five offseason moves

When the deadline for Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract came and went last Friday the business phase of the Redskins’ offseason came to an end. So with the big deals (and non-deals) in the book, let’s take a look back at the top five moves (and non-moves) so far in 2016.

Instead of ranking them, we’ll go chronologically:

Cousins tag saga—This chapter essentially started and ended early March. The team applied the tag on March 1 and Cousins signed it a couple of days later. The Redskins and Cousins’ camp had four and a half months to work on a long-term deal but they never came close to an agreement. It appeared that both sides were perfectly content to let Cousins play the year on the tag. The immediate impact is that Cousins is behind center at a cost of $19.95 million, all of which hits the cap in 2016. Looking forward, it means we could go through the same song and dance in 2017.

Robert Griffin III released—A few days after locking up Cousins, they let go of the quarterback they drafted 100 spots ahead of him in 2012. A year earlier such news would have been shocking but with Griffin not having played a single snap in 2015 and with the team obligated to pay him $16 million to keep him on the fifth-year option letting him go was the only sensible way to go. The moment to move was made the three first-round picks and the second-round pick that it cost to add Griffin officially turned to vapor.

Two defensive starters released—The same day that Griffin was shown the door, DE Jason Hatcher, who started 14 games in 2015, and S Dashon Goldson, who started 15, were released. The moves cleared a lot of cap space but they left the team thinner in some areas where they are not exactly brimming in talent. The Redskins also lost a lot of leadership; Goldson was the defensive captain and Hatcher led the D-line unit.

Josh Norman signed—This one came completely out of the blue. Carolina had him tagged as their franchise player but on April 20 they decided to rescind the tag. That made the All-Pro cornerback a free agent. After a whirlwind recruitment process that lasted about 48 hours, the Redskins signed him to a five-year, $75 million contract. The deal improved an area of weakness for the Redskins but at the cost of some big chunks of cap space including $20 million next year. One ripple effect was the release of CB Chris Culliver on May 2, a move that cleared $8 million in cap space.

Jordan Reed gets a contract extension—The tight end had a year to go on his rookie contract. The news of the extension came out of the blue about two weeks after Norman signed. The deal keeps Reed in Washington through the 2021 season and pays him $46.75 million. Part of Scot McCloughan’s philosophy is to prioritize retaining the team’s draft picks who perform. It started last summer when Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan signed extensions.

In case you missed it 

  1. redskins12thman - Jul 18, 2016 at 6:03 AM

    Rich, I think you need to role at least some of the dates forward (e.g., ten days to the start of training camp, etc.)

    I would have added the departure of Pot Roast to the defensive losses as he was a contributor that the team is still kind of looking for someone to fill (although survivor Golston appears to have the upper hand at the start of training camp).

    I would not have included the RGIII release as a top 5 move as the writing was on the wall since last off-season (it was such a non-event); instead I would have added either the draft as the fifth move with one of the other free agent signings (e.g., perhaps Bruton signing) and retaining Redskins free agents right behind the draft (i.e., Foster, Galette, Way, etc.). The latter will likely be more impactful near-term and the former should help more in the future.

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 18, 2016 at 9:54 AM

      @12th man, Thanks, fixed. Got so excited about Starke’s birthday I forgot to update the other numbers!

  2. garg8050 - Jul 18, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    I’m hoping the while Cousins contract and lack of a contract talk will finally die down so he and the team can focus on the upcoming season. I’m sure he’ll get asked the first day of camp; after that, I hope it’s done. Sometimes it seems like the media is trying to create acrimony where there isn’t any.

    Bottomline, if he plays well again, we’ll get paid very well, whether it’s in DC, or someplace else.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 18, 2016 at 7:07 AM

      “Someplace else” would be a treacherous half decade loss if that happens due to our lack of conviction. We don’t have another half decade to groom that position from scratch. Not locking him in full time would be a complete and utter failure. That said, he will be paid huge money in 2017 by the redskins. I cannot imagine them letting him go over money after the development they have placed in him. The only difference is that he will be paid $25 M per year now starting next year this time. There is no way his development reverses. No way.

      Redskins will have to figure out who has to go as a result of the huge contract coming. That is the only issue.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 18, 2016 at 7:10 AM

      My guess is he gets the huge contract, we have to franchise Gallette, and we lose both Garcon and DJax as a result. Signing this year would have kept one of those receivers. We will lose both is my prediction now. We will be drafting another high round WR next year is my guess. Maybe find a way to lower Garcon cap impact as a dream contract.

      • garg8050 - Jul 18, 2016 at 7:17 AM

        Yeah, i agree with you. If he plays well, McCloughan will be very aggressive and try to get a deal done before the tag, which will allow him to tag Gillette if it’s warranted. As for Baker, DJAX, and Garcon, who knows. I love Garcons tenacity, but of the 3, he’s the most easily replaced.

        Maybe there’s more room under the cap than I realize, but Norman carries a huge number next year. If they’re able to get a long term deal done with Kirk, I’m sure the first year’s number will be manageable. But there’s no way he can play a 2nd year on the tag and the team retain any of it’s upcoming free agents.

        • bangkokben - Jul 18, 2016 at 10:10 AM

          The Redskins will have at least a month to get a long-term deal done between the end of the season and when they would have to place a tag. Unlike last year, his “value” should be fairly obvious and it’s not like the organization and agent can’t talk contract — just that a contract can’t be signed until after the season. The only reason the Redskins would use the tag is if they still are miles apart on terms and still see Cousins as an asset. That is certainly a possibility but the Redskins are betting that they can reach a deal before March if needed. In other words, they’ll cross that bridge later.

        • bangkokben - Jul 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM

          The Redskins should have at least $46 million in cap space considering the conservative cap estimate and a conservative amount of carryover by the team. It’s not a ton of room but enough to get everyone that performs under with some creative contracts.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 18, 2016 at 2:44 PM

          Any of the free agents? Yes we can. $48 mil for one year is a pretty good situation. Every free agent isn’t going to cost $20 mil a year.

          I agree they’ll try to get Cousins signed right after the season but I think we should plan on anther tag and a draw out negotiation until July 15. Just based off how this year went and how important the contract would be to both sides.

          So I don’t think we can count on Galette getting the tag. We’re ether going to make him a solid offer before free agency or he’s probably gone. And I expect both Garcon and DJax to be gone. But I expected that regardless of a deal with Cousins. They’re getting old and expensive and we don’t need them. We also don’t NEED to draft another WR high. We will still have Doctson, Crowder, Reed, Paul, Grant, and any number of other backups. Reed is an elite receiver, Crowder could become as good a slot guy as any, and Doctson should blossom into a good #1 receiver. At the very least he will be a great #2. So it’s not so dire there. The amount of receiving talent we currently have is unusual. We don’t need to freak out if it diminishes a bit.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM

          I forgot to mention there should be other cuts too. Guys like Perry Riley. Our cap situation is not bad.

    • wvredskins - Jul 18, 2016 at 11:18 AM

      Amen! Its time to focus on the season. Hopefully its not something that is held over his head all season long. HTTR

  3. Trey Gregory - Jul 18, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    One of my biggest concerns about losing Pot Rost, Goldson, and Hatcher is the leadership void. As well as unit chemistry. I think those things matter a whole lot.

    But we still have Hall, Kerrigan, Baker, and Francois to lead. Remember Francois got a lot of credit for being a leader and calling that players only meeting last year. Norman should be a leader too. He has the price tag and on-field credibility. I think I’ve heard Compton is leading more too. Bringing in a guy like Bruton should help and maybe some of these rookies will provide a spark. So hopefully everything gels and this isn’t an issue. You just never know.

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