Dan Snyder

Extra Points: Redskins, Supplemental Draft, Jets

The Redskins are going to be one of the more interesting teams to monitor during training camp. They have a bunch of interesting storylines, none bigger than the battle between rookie Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum to be the team’s starting quarterback. Speaking to Steve Wyche of NFL Network recently, Redskins GM Doug Williams indicated that the front office and even ownership would play a role in determining when Haskins starts (Twitter link).

Williams specifically indicated the decision would not be head coach Jay Gruden’s alone, saying that he, Gruden, team president Bruce Allen, and owner Dan Snyder would come together to make a decision. That news is sure to rile up Redskins fans, who have mixed feelings on Snyder, to put it nicely. Williams said he was excited about Haskins’ development, but made sure to emphasize they wouldn’t just throw him out there if he wasn’t ready. That’s the language any team is going to speak, and the part about it being a collaborative process is the real eyebrow-raiser here. Gruden appears to be coaching for his job this season, and Washington won’t be able to keep Haskins on the bench too long unless Keenum looks lights out during the preseason.

Here’s a couple of other notes from around the league on a slow Saturday evening:

  • The supplemental draft got a lot more interesting earlier today when Washington State safety Jalen Thompson announced he’d be entering. The three previous players to enter July’s supplemental draft weren’t too noteworthy, but Thompson is intriguing. Thompson seems like a near-lock to get drafted, and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com tweets that scouts had given him a 3rd/4th round grade prior to last season. Pauline also notes that the three-year starter has scheduled a July 8th workout for NFL teams in Los Angeles. It’ll likely be heavily attended. While we don’t have the full details yet on why Thompson was ruled ineligible for the 2019 NCAA season and had to declare, Washington State did issue a statement, per Jessamyn McIntyre (Twitter link). In their statement, the Cougars simply said he lost his final season of eligibility “due to a violation of NCAA rules.”
  • The Jets took a gamble by drafting defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd in the third round last year, and so far it hasn’t paid off. Shepherd played at small-school Fort Hays State so he was a bit hard to scout, but the team banked on his upside when they took him 72nd overall. Shepherd played around 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as a rookie, but didn’t play particularly well and appears to be falling out of favor with the new coaching staff. While breaking down the team’s depth chart, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com writes that Shepherd’s stock has gone down so far this offseason, saying it “sure seems like it only took one season for Shepherd to turn into something of a forgotten man,” and adding that he “hasn’t proven enough.” There’s still a long way to go, so Shepherd could always find himself back in favor with Adam Gase, but right now things aren’t looking great.
  • In case you missed it, the Chiefs could reopen extension talks with Tyreek Hill now that it looks like he’ll emerge from the league’s investigation relatively cleanly.

Latest On Redskins’ First Round Plans

There has been plenty of chatter suggesting that the Redskins want to trade up from their No. 15 overall pick in order to better position themselves to (presumably) nab one of this year’s top collegiate passers. Earlier today, we heard yet again that Washington is contemplating a move into the Top 5, and while there was no definitive report as to the club’s hypothetical trade partner, the Jets — who hold the No. 3 overall pick — are allegedly determined to trade down.

Adding more fuel to that fire are several tweets suggesting that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is perhaps even more involved than usual in his club’s first-round selection. Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan hears from a team source that Snyder has “taken over the first round of the draft,” and the last time that happened, Washington surrendered a king’s ransom of draft picks to acquire the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 draft, which it used on Robert Griffin III (Twitter link).

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network has a similar report, and he indicates that Snyder “absolutely” has influence on the Redskins’ draft, while team president Bruce Allen also has an important role. On the other hand, senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams has limited input on the team’s picks, and head coach Jay Gruden has even less (Twitter link).

That in and of itself doesn’t mean much, but when put in the context of the RGIII trade, it could serve as a harbinger of things to come tomorrow night (plus, Garafolo’s report obviously doesn’t offer an optimistic view on Gruden’s long-term future with the club, which is an interesting sidenote). However, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets that the Redskins do not feel they can part with their early picks, and if they want to jump all the way up to No. 3, they will have to essentially empty their cupboard of early picks. Jones does note, though, that it’s lying season, so the Redskins’ reported reluctance to part with prime draft capital could be a smokescreen.

For what it’s worth, Paulsen says that Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie categorically denied the notion that Snyder has taken control of the team’s first-round pick, but it’s his job to quash these kinds of rumors, regardless of their veracity. And regardless of Snyder’s influence on the draft, the Redskins have firmly established themselves as one of the most intriguing teams to keep an eye over the next 24 hours or so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Roger Goodell

The Roger Goodell saga has dominated headlines for months, but we could be inching closer to a resolution. There is a “strong sentiment” among owners to get the matter fully resolved ahead of NFL’s owners meeting on Dec. 13, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. That group of determined owners includes some of those who serve on the league’s six-man Compensation Committee. Roger Goodell (vertical)

Recently, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he expects the matter to be discussed at the December meeting. Although Jones wields considerable influence and the meeting is being held in his backyard, it’s not his call to make since the league’s full ownership group already voted to authorize the Compensation Committee to complete a deal months ago. With that in mind, owners looking to put a bow on Goodell’s negotiations (presumably resulting in a new multi-year deal for the commissioner) believe things can be taken care of in New York this week with a portion of the NFL’s owners on hand for committee meetings.

The committee meetings take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, so Goodell could have a new contract in hand shortly. La Canfora hears that Falcons owner Arthur Blank is particularly driven to get things squared away.

It could happen really fast after the committee meetings,” one ownership source told La Canfora, adding that Blank is expected to “allow for more dialogue with any owners” – beyond Jones and (Redskins owner) Dan Snyder – who have “issues” with the proposed deal.

A new deal for Goodell could be worth as much as $200MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Organization May Side With Robert Griffin III

The rift between Washington head coach Jay Gruden and franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III has been widely reported on. Since Gruden benched Griffin in favor of Colt McCoy, speculation about the former first-round pick’s future has taken him down many paths.

If the choice is left to Gruden, Griffin may very well be on his way out in Washington. Lucky for Griffin, it may not be Gruden’s choice. The leaders in the organization including owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen may be leaning to towards siding with Griffin over Gruden, given the choice, writes Jason Reid of the Washington Post.

The leadership group has not given up on their young quarterback, but Gruden seems to be committed to moving on from the embattled 24-year old passer. In Reid’s report, he writes that if Allen and Snyder decide the team will continue with Griffin as the starter, that Gruden could be fired after one year. That would leave the team responsible for the final four years of his five-year guaranteed deal, on top of hiring a new coach and starting over again 2015.

Allen is in a tough position with this decision, as he was the general manager to oversee both the trade to acquire Griffin in 2012. On the other hand, Allen also hired Gruden, and in a way, his legacy with Washington is tied to the success of both. Firing Gruden after one year would reflect poorly on him, but trading Griffin for pennies after giving up so much to move up and take him three years ago would be damning as well. Of course, the best way for Allen to protect his job is if either way, the decision he has to make this offseason lead to a winning season in 2015 and going forward.

Poll: Most Intriguing NFL Storyline?

Minicamps have wrapped up around the NFL and there’s a bit of a lull prior to training camp. Nevertheless, there are still a number of intriguing stories to focus on.

There’s the Jimmy GrahamSaints standoff, where the two sides are haggling over the player’s position. The Saints slapped the franchise tag on Graham as a tight end, thus assuring him a $7.035MM contract. Considering Graham’s production at the position, the player’s side wanted him designated as a wideout. The difference in salary is significant – Graham would receive $12.312MM as a receiver. A resolution is expected sometime next week.

On the morning after the NBA Draft, Cleveland’s focus isn’t as much on number-one pick Andrew Wiggins. Instead, all eyes are on Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman winner has been stealing headlines for his off-the-field antics, leading some to question whether he can lead the team to their first playoff appearance since 2002. Manziel addressed his critics earlier today, claiming he wasn’t going to change for anybody.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson remains on the Texans roster, even after he expressed his frustration with the team and skipped the mandatory minicamp. It appears that Johnson wants out of Houston, but plenty of obstacles stand in his way. The wideout has three years remaining on his contract and the team doesn’t seem in any rush to trade their disgruntled star.

Or maybe you’re most interested in the saga surrounding the Redskins. The organization recently lost the trademark on the team’s name, with the U.S. Patent Office declaring that the word is “disparaging to Native Americans” and can’t be trademarked under federal law. However, owner Dan Snyder has not relented on his support for the name.

What do you think is the most intriguing NFL storyline at the end of minicamp? Is there something we forgot? Let us know in the comments.

Redskins To Be ‘Major Players’ For Aqib Talib

The Redskins have never been shy about opening their wallet to big-name free agents under owner Dan Snyder, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

According to former NFL quarterback and current Bleacher Report analyst Chris Simms, the Redskins are going to be “a major player” for free agent cornerback Aqib Talib‘s services once the 2014 league year starts at 3:00pm CT Tuesday. Simms was in the Patriots organization recently as a coaching assistant and played with Talib in Tampa Bay.

Looking at the Redskins’ offensive needs, ESPN.com’s John Keim said Talib is the one player who could be intriguing, given the tight relationship between Talib and secondary coach Raheem Morris — the duo spent time together in Tampa Bay. Keim acknowledges the hefty price tag but likes Talib’s versatility to play inside and out and evolvement into a leader.

Talib’s biggest knock, as Keim points out, is his injury history — Talib hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since 2009, and was knocked out of playoff games each of the last two years.

Washington is in a decent cap situation with just under $22MM in space, according to overthecap.com. However, teams like to give themselves $5-6MM of wiggle room as the season approaches and require $2-3MM to pay rookies, so paying Talib his desired salary might be a tall task.