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Daily Slop – 3 Mar 24: Commanders can’t release Nick Gates before 13 March because of $1.99m salary guarantee

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By: Bill-in-Bangkok

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

Commanders links


Washington Times (subscription)

Nobody in the stadium/arena game has a fuller dance card than Commanders owner Josh Harris

Harris received good news Wednesday when the House of Representatives passed a bill that would lease crumbling RFK Stadium, which sits on federal land, to the District at no cost for 99 years.

That should kick start the lobbying that is already taking place about who should pay for such a stadium and how. It could get ugly, as there remains a deep divide between Mayor Muriel Bowser, who supports a new Commanders stadium in the city, and the D.C. Council, led by chairman Phil Mendelsohn, over those plans for the land.

The debate from the nearby RFK neighborhoods could get even uglier, as community leaders have let it be known they want the land to be used for recreational purposes and are opposed to any new stadium.

It may even get as bad as the battle Harris is embroiled in up Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, where he and his partners want to build a new arena for their Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise in the center of the city in the Chinatown district.

The 76ers currently play at Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia and are tenants to Comcast Spectator, who own the building. Their lease ends in 2031. The 76ers want their own arena and the control that comes with it.

While he is doing this, Harris and his group are putting $75 million into upgrading one of the worst stadiums in the country that doesn’t even have a name anymore, as FedEx opted out of the last two years of their naming rights deal for the Landover football stadium and taking their remaining $15 million in naming rights fees with them.

Nobody in the stadium/arena game has a fuller dance card than Josh Harris.

He is further along in his quest for a new arena for the 76ers than he is for the Commanders — but actually is no less [sic] closer.

Over the Cap

Commanders to Release C Nick Gates

Gates was not expensive this year. His $3.79 million salary ranked 13th among centers and his $5.6 million cap hit 11th. They will not gain any cap room with his release since he has $5.3 million in dead money which will actually wind up causing a slight loss in cap room, though the Commanders have so much cap room this is not a concern.

Gates has $1.99 million of his $3.79 million salary fully guaranteed. This is the reason why the Commanders cannot release him now the way they did Charles Leno and Logan Thomas. Technically we are still in the 2023 league year and that salary would accelerate into 2023 and no team has any remaining 2023 cap room to allow for such a move.

The Commanders will receive an offset on any salary he earns with another team this year. That offset will be applied to the Commanders 2025 salary cap.

Commanders Wire

Friday’s roster moves make it clear that Adam Peters leads the Commanders now

Though the Commanders are thin at both tight end and offensive tackle, Peters has determined to go ahead and move on from Thomas and Leno.

They have plenty of cap space, yet Peters made the decision to part with both veterans. The former Virginia Tech quarterback, drafted 120 overall in 2014 had a very productive 2020 season. But following a knee injury in 2021, he never returned to the offensive weapon he was in 2020. Though a fine route runner and receiver, blocking was always a weakness as well.

Peters, in making these moves now, reveals they are willing to move on despite these two playing better than others at their respective positions. It also shows Peters feels they must get younger and better at these positions.

Put your seat belt on, Commanders fans; this is going to be a busy 2024 offseason.

Riggo’s Rag

5 potential Commanders candidates to replace Nick Gates

The Commanders are looking for a new starting center.

Commanders could draft Sedrick Van Pran

The Washington Commanders have plenty of draft capital this year, and there are some good center options available. Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson – the consensus top-ranked center – is probably out of reach unless they trade out of the No. 2 spot and acquire a couple of later round-one picks. But several other very promising college centers should be on the board when they pick on Day 2.

Sedrick Van Pran was a stalwart in the middle of Georgia’s back-to-back national championship teams. Over his last three seasons, he logged more than 2,500 snaps, allowing one sack and zero quarterback hits. That is playing against the best the college game has to offer in the SEC.

There’s nothing on tape that suggests Van Pran will not be successful at the next level. He has the strength, mobility, and football intelligence to grow into a top-tier NFL center. But there might be some growing pains initially.

Rookies can struggle early on at center. Whoever takes over the job in Washington will be joining an entirely new offensive line. It may take Van Pran – or any rookie for that matter – a little longer to develop, but the investment will be worth it.

Van Pran should be available in the second round, and perhaps in the third as well depending on how things unfold.

Burgundy & Gold Report

Cedric Gray Has a Seek & Destroy Mentality | Commanders NFL Draft

Cedric Gray

6’1” 232 lbs | LB | UNC

Draft Proj Late 2nd Rd

Career (42 Games)- 368 TAK (198 solo), 29 TFL, 8.5 SACKS, 5 INTs, 13 PD, 1 FF, 5 FF & 5 FR

2023 (12 Games)121 TAK (64 solo), 11.0 TFL, 5 SACKS, 1 INT, 4 PD, 2 FF, 2 FR & 1 TD

Gray started 14 games in ‘22 and was named 2nd-Team All-American by PFF and Sporting News.

Subsequently Gray was named 1st-Team All-ACC by the Associated Press and the League.

On the season Gray recorded 145 tackles with 82 solo (ranked first among Power 5 players), 1 sack, 12 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

The Tar Heels linebacker also recorded double-digit tackles in 6 games (career high). In the Holiday Bowl he registered 8 tackles, two 2 tackle for a loss, 1 pass breakup and a QB pressure.


Gray just Just ran a 4.64 forty yard dash during this weeks during NFL Combine and displayed the type of athleticism that should impress teams.

The linebacker boasts 11.3% body fat and benches 390 pounds per UNC strength coaches. He’s a natural WLB, but a team could also opt to develop Gray into a MIKE linebacker based on his insticts and ability.

The Tar Heel linebacker had an extremely productive collegiate career and could be an even better pro if he puts it all together.

NFL Combine

The Athletic (paywall)

NFL combine QB rankings: How do executives, coaches view the top 6 prospects?

[Caleb] Williams didn’t post a great statistical final season at USC, but that’s been largely dismissed by NFL teams. The consensus is that he was constantly under pressure behind a bad offensive line and was forced to press too much because the Trojans’ defense offered little resistance to opponents. In a way, one evaluator said, that chaotic season was a positive because it prepared him for any adversity he’ll face as a rookie — although the Chicago Bears’ (owners of the No. 1 pick and his presumed landing spot) late-season improvements have rival teams more impressed with the direction of the organization than a year ago.

[I]t’s believed Williams has too much dedication to the game and becoming a great player to veer off course. Another unknown element that’s been broached is how Williams will adjust to a pro style offense, but that’s the case for most prospects.

Williams is expected to be the first pick because he’s got franchise-altering ability. As a couple of high-ranking executives put it, “Don’t overthink it. He’s the best player in the draft.”

Maye was inconsistent last season against a less-than-stellar ACC slate, and that’s caused concern. Still, his size, arm talent, character and leadership are enough to keep him as the second-ranked QB. It’s not the consensus opinion, however, as there are some evaluators who prefer Jayden Daniels at No. 2.

The Heisman Trophy winner [Jayden Daniels] has enjoyed a dramatic rise up draft boards in recent months. His improvements over the last couple of seasons since transferring from Arizona State to LSU have wowed teams, and they’re excited to see how that’ll translate and continue in the NFL.

Daniels, who is viewed as a high-character person, has been impressive in team interviews this week, league sources said. He has electric athleticism with running ability drawing comparisons to Lamar Jackson, although the two-time NFL MVP is viewed as a more physically imposing player.

[JJ] McCarthy is viewed as a great leader and plus athlete who didn’t get enough opportunities to show off his arm in Michigan’s run-heavy offense. Because of that, some have questioned how he’ll transition to a pass-heavy offense in the NFL. That’s the unknown element for teams.

McCarthy represents the start of the second tier of QBs, as teams view a tier-drop from Daniels to here. Still, there’s a chance he goes as high as the fourth pick if a team gets anxious enough to select him and decides to trade up with the Arizona Cardinals, whom league sources view as willing to move down.

2024 NFL Scouting Combine stock up/stock down, Day 3: Xavier Worthy soars with record-breaking run

Stock up

J.J. McCarthy – Michigan · QB

Jaylen Wright – Tennessee · RB

Wright was flying a bit under the radar coming into this event, but he will no longer be overlooked. His 4.38-second 40 at 5-foot-10 1/2, 210 pounds and excellent jumps (38-inch vertical, 11-foot-2 broad) showed he has the athleticism to back up the balance after contact he displayed with the Volunteers. His drill work was strong, as well. I viewed Wright as a likely Day 2 pick coming into the combine, and he could be creeping up toward the top 50 after his showing in Indy.

Stock down

Troy Franklin – Oregon · WR

Franklin’s 4.41-second 40-yard dash was strong, even with the receiver at just 176 pounds. His drill work was lacking, though, starting with a rough gauntlet drill where he weaved all over the line and dropped passes. Franklin struggled to cleanly get around cones and was inconsistent keeping his balance on deep throws. He did make a couple of nice catches, tapping his feet inbounds. Overall, I don’t believe the workout will help his chances of being a first-round pick.

2024 NFL Scouting Combine: What We Learned during Saturday’s activities in Indianapolis

2) More than a right tackle? Alabama OT JC Latham is hoping to separate himself from what’s shaping up as a strong group of blockers at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Latham started 27 games for the Crimson Tide — all at right tackle. He played some right guard as a freshman reserve but said Saturday morning that he’s hoping to showcase even more versatility during his NFL Scouting Combine positional drills on Sunday.

“I’m waiting to see if I’m asked to do anything out of a left tackle stance,” Latham said.

Latham said he will perform all the positional work but will forgo athletic testing. He said he’s still recovering from the high-ankle injury he suffered on the final play of the Crimson Tide’s Rose Bowl loss to Michigan.

3) Penix answers a big question. When it comes to Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the NFL Scouting Combine medical evaluation carried greater importance than it does for the average prospect.

Penix suffered season-ending injuries in each of his four seasons at Indiana, tearing his right ACL twice (2018 and 2020) and sustaining two separate shoulder injuries (2019 and 2021). He avoided any major health issues after transferring to UW in 2022, earning Heisman Trophy finalist honors last season, but questions remained about what the exams in Indianapolis would reveal, given his injury history.

Consider that box checked.

Podcasts & videos

NFC East links

Tyron Smith unlikely to return to Cowboys as longtime LT enters free agency

In his 13 seasons in Dallas, Smith has been one of the best tackles on the game, accumulating eight Pro Bowl selections — including seven straight from 2013-2019 — and twice being named First-team All-Pro. For his efforts, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010s team.

Injuries have gotten in the way in recent years, including him being out for almost the entire 2020 and 2022 seasons. But last year Smith started 13 games, allowing just one sack on 847 offensive snaps for an 83.8 player grade, per PFF, earning a second-team All-Pro nod.

Now, for the first time in over a dozen years, the Cowboys will be in the market for a new blindside protector to keep Dak Prescott upright, whether through the draft, free agency, or existing players on the roster.

And at 33, Smith will also be on the hunt for a new team for the first time in his career.

Big Blue View

TE Darren Waller ‘still undecided’ on NFL future

The veteran tight end remains uncertain on if he will play or not in 2024

Recently, there have been reports that the nine-year veteran tight end is “still undecided” whether he will continue playing or retire. Waller told the New York Post that he has not yet decided on his future.

“I have not made a decision either way” regarding retirement, Waller said.

The Giants brought in the 31-year-old tight end last season to give Daniel Jones a reliable and secure option in the passing game.

Instead, Waller and the rest of the Giants’ offense struggled throughout the season.

Waller also struggled with health, suffering a hamstring injury in Week 8, and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 4

Waller will carry a cap hit of $14 million if he returns to New York but has no guaranteed money remaining on his deal. The star tight end is currently in the midst of a three-year $51 million deal he signed with the Raiders in September of 2022.

NFL league links


NBC Washington

Texas WR Xavier Worthy breaks 40-yard dash record at NFL combine, but does it forecast stardom?

Here’s a look at past NFL combine standouts and how their careers ended up going.

Crushing it at the combine can lead a rise up the draft board but it doesn’t necessarily forecast NFL stardom.

Mike Mamula is both a legend and cautionary tale from the NFL scouting combine in that regard.

He was among the first players to train specifically for the tests that prospects undergo, particularly the 40-yard dash that measures speed, the three-cone drill that calculates agility and the 225-pound bench press that gauges strength and stamina.

Mamula’s standout performance at the 1995 combine rocketed him into the first round of the NFL draft two months later when the Philadelphia Eagles traded the 12th overall pick and two second-round selections to Tampa Bay so they could move up five spots and select the Boston College defensive end at No. 7.

Mamula had a solid five-year career with the Eagles, but never really lived up to the hype he had generated by acing the drills in Indianapolis, which helped turn the annual get-together of teams and talent into the televised spectacle it is today.

NBC Washington

Ex-Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid’s sentence commuted in DWI crash that injured girl

Reid, the son of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, caused a serious brain injury to a then 5-year-old girl when he crashed into the vehicle she was in.

Missouri Gov. Michael Parson has commuted the sentence of Britt Reid, the former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach who seriously injured a young girl in a drunken driving crash in 2021, according to NBC News.

The commutation announced Friday by Parson’s office means that Reid, the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, will serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest, a spokesman for Parson said.

The commutation does not shorten the sentence, but it allows it to be done under house arrest, Parson said in the commutation letter.

Pro Football Talk

Lawyer: Ariel Young’s family is “horrified” by the commutation of Britt Reid’s sentence

“The family is disgusted, I am disgusted, and I believe . . . that the majority of the people in the state of Missouri are disgusted by the governor’s actions,” lawyer Tom Porto told Shugerman.

“If you drink and drive and you put a little girl in a coma… you should have to serve the entire sentence that a judge of this state gave you.”

Ariel Young’s mother, Felicia Miller, provided a statement through Porto: “How would the governor feel if this was his daughter? . . . It seems the laws don’t apply equally to the haves and have nots. The haves get favors. The have nots serve their sentence.”

Originally posted on Hogs Haven