1. On behalf of all the writers here at Hogs Haven, I want to make sure we wish every mother an extended Happy Mother's Day. Without St. Megan, both my life and Hogs Haven would be strikingly different than they are today--for the worse. I also wanted to make sure to send a big Hogs Haven "Happy Mother's Day" to our very own Jennifer Filsinger. I hope you got some sleep Jen! I better not forget my own mother, who used to put 5 layers of winter clothes on me before my dad would take me to my one game at RFK per year when I was a wee boy. Thanks Mom!
2. The happy theme continues as we roll through this offseason. When news first broke about Jordan Reed and his contract extension, I think I felt more excited than when they announced the Josh Norman signing. I was so afraid that the targeting and winning the services of the former Carolina Panther was going to prevent us from being able to keep our own key players. There are few players that are more "key" than the tight end that just hauled in 87 catches for just under 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He made our offense run for most of the season. When the team needed a catch, the play was designed for Reed. He was--and is--much, much more than a security blanket for a young quarterback. His routes open up areas of the field for other receivers and running backs out of the backfield. His yards after the catch inspire his teammates and sustain drives. In short, he has earned his keep, and has earned his new contract (not that anyone was waiting to get my official opinion on that).
3. The Redskins now have some very key pieces of the pie locked up for a while. They extended both Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan previously, and the Jordan Reed contract is yet another guy--THAT WE DRAFTED--that is getting a big extension. The genius of the manner in which Scot "McLovin" McCloughan is locking up his roster is right there for us to see. It almost seems like whatever contract he offers out to a player, the team and the player are ecstatic. Take the one-year deal that Terrance Knighton got last year for example. I am sure Knighton and his agent wanted a longer deal, but at the end of the day, the team and the player agreed to a deal that aligned everyone's interests. The team got the benefit of a player that was playing on a prove-it deal, and the player parlayed his 2015 performance into another contract. Will Blackmon is another player that found himself with the opportunity to prove it on the field.
4. The bigger deals (the long term extensions and even the franchise tag decision on Kirk Cousins) have generally been reserved for core players in which the team has already been invested. Imagine that...drafting a player, developing him and then keeping him on the kind of contract we used to hand out exclusively to other team's players! (Just...crazy...enough to work.)
5. The salary cap is going to experience some solid growth in the next couple of years--it has already increased by about $35 million since 2012 alone. If you hold the cap at 2016 values (approx. $155 million), the Redskins STILL have over $25 million in cap space according to Spotrac. (I love that site.) An even better looking stat is the way that the Skins are evenly invested on offense and defense two years out ($62 million on offense and about $64 million on defense), although it is somewhat skewed because Cousins is not under contract currently. Putting the Kirk Cousins discussion on ice for a moment, the Washington Redskins are starting to take on the look of a team that isn't going to have to rebuild from the bottom any time soon. With the aforementioned Williams, Kerrigan and now Reed all locked up until 2020 and beyond (and let's not forget about Tress Way, who is also locked down!! haha), McLovin is cranking open our window of opportunity. I know he didn't draft guys like Kerrigan and Williams, but when it came time to retain their services, he treated them as if he had. He has used his own draft acumen to plug holes and develop replacements for the players he will not be able retain. Before you just assume that Josh Doctson's value is limited to being ready to see the field when, for example, DeSean Jackson bolts for unrestricted free agency, take a second to think that through. There is more! In addition to getting a guy that everyone thinks is going to be a major contributor as a wide receiver, Doc also helps McLovin add a key compensatory pick. If DeSean is able to command an above average contract in free agency, it positively impacts the formula that awards compensatory picks. This is also a sneaky benefit to the one-year deals that result in players getting to unrestricted free agency immediately. If and when we do not re-sign players after their one-year Redskins deals, Washington gets some favorable compensatory pick math. The balance between the short-term prove-it deals and the long-term extension rewards is a sight to behold. What's more, players in this organization seem to really believe that if they do their jobs well, they are going to be rewarded. That reward might come in the form of a contract from another team, similar to what happened with Terrance Knighton, but that works for the player as much as it works for the team.
6. All of this to say: a general manager does best when he/she succeeds in getting everyone going the same way; getting everyone's goals and interests aligned. This is McLovin's feat. This is what has transformed the Redskins into a defending NFC East champion, and what drives us toward greater accomplishments. Speaking of greater accomplishments, The Audible had a record week last week, attracting thousands of listeners to our meager basement studio show. We'll try to keep it going tomorrow night, with a special guest and some even more special whiskey. Here are the topics we currently have lined up:
- Does any of McLovin's contract activity change Kirk's approach to the prospect of a long-term contract? Should he be trying to get locked in with the core group, or is the business end of this thing unchanged? Are chances of him signing a deal higher or lower after the Reed extension?
- If the Redskins were guaranteed enough roster spots for all but one of the draft picks, which one would you release (you know, what with all that training camp and practice tape we already have on these rookies)?
- Let's start getting serious about the offensive line...tell me who you have starting at left guard and center and why.
- Let's talk about a Redskin we have not spent much--or ANY--time talking about lately. Give me a name and why you think we should be spending more ink, pixels and whiskey-soaked banter on him.