Redskins Coaches to Get Back to Work

After a vacation—to say it's well-deserved would be an understatement—the Redskins coaches will return to work on Monday. Just as is the case with most of us when we return from a couple of weeks off, their to-do lists will be quite full.

  1. Get under the salary cap—This is never an easy task and it's doubly, perhaps triply, complicated this year. The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA has implications for many potential cap-saving measures from roster bonus conversions to post-June 1 releases. Nobody seems to want to go into free agency on March 1 (the team needs to be at or under the cap by that date) without some sort of extension or new agreement, but nobody seems to want to budge from etched in stone positions, either. The Redskins are likely drawing up and Plan A, Plan B, and perhaps a C, D, and E as well to trim the approximately $18 million they are currently over the cap. Some scenarios will be relatively painless; others will involve making some very difficult choices.

  2. Get real with LaVar Arrington—There is simply no way that Arrington will play for the Redskins in 2006 under his current contract. In fact, there is no way that he will remain a Redskin past March 1 under his current contract. The team simply can't afford to let him and his $6.5 million roster bonus due in June tie up cap space. He's going to have to decide if he's going to redo his contract, giving up real money in the process, if he wants to remain a Redskin. That means that Arrington has to drop the tortured soul act, hire a competent agent (unless he wants to hang on Poston, who could be decertified by the NFLPA for butchering LaVar's last contract), and either come to a new contract agreement with the Redskins or prepare to negotiate a free-agent contract with another team. Forget any notion of the Redskins getting a draft pick for Arrington. Nobody is going to trade for his contract. It's possible that the Redskins could allow him to seek a trade, let him agree to a new deal elsewhere and then negotiate compensation from that team, but if Arrington is going to sign for less money, why wouldn't he do it with the Redskins?

  3. Sort out free agent wide receiver prospects—The Redskins need a #2 wideout and given the fact that it generally takes receivers a couple of years to develop they're likely to go after a free agent rather than draft one. The crop of free agent receivers (examined here earlier this week) has some solid prospects, but most of them are flawed enough to create concern. Will Antwaan Randle-El's price be pushed up too high for a player with a career high of 47 catches? Will Joe Jurevicius' injury problems stay away another year as they did in 2005 or will he end up spending a bunch of game days inactive? How much of a premium do you place on size—do you get the best guy you can or try to get someone like Jurevicius who is well over 6 feet tall to fill that possession role? Finding the right fit at the right price will be challenging.

  4. Sort out the quarterback situation—This is not quite as urgent as the Arrington situation, but the Redskins had better be prepared to act fast. Patrick Ramsey's $1.7 million salary cap number isn't likely to be an impediment at the beginning of free agency, but at some point they'll have to decide if they should keep Ramsey or let him move on and sign a replacement. It likely will come down to what teams are willing to offer in return for Ramsey's rights. If it's not enough, Gibbs may well choose to keep him. If he does go, what type of player do the Redskins sign to replace him? Do they go the route of an experienced veteran like Jeff Blake (meaning that they don't think that Jason Campbell is ready for prime time) or to they look at a guy with limited experience like Tim Hasselbeck (indicating more confidence in Campbell)? If they want to have their pick of the either group, they are going to have to act quickly.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com


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