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Just because Jimmy Garoppolo got paid doesn't mean the Redskins were wrong to move on from Kirk Cousins

Just because Jimmy Garoppolo got paid doesn't mean the Redskins were wrong to move on from Kirk Cousins

Jimmy Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday that makes him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Ever. 

Garoppolo has seven career starts, and though he's won them all, plenty question if investing in the 26-year-old with such little experience is the right move. Most in the NFL would argue it is, but for the sake of Redskins fans, let's clarify a few things. 

Just because San Francisco went all in with Garoppolo this offseason doesn't mean the Redskins were wrong to move on from Kirk Cousins and acquire Alex Smith.

Few quarterbacks have shown as high of a ceiling as Garoppolo.

Ask around the NFL, and scouts and coaches will tell you he had a higher upside than any quarterback taken in the 2017 Draft. Yes, there's not enough evidence to know how good Garoppolo can be, and it's still possible he flounders, but it seems unlikely. 

One NFL coach said of Garoppolo, "The kid will be a star."

MORE: IS ALEX SMITH THE GUY TO SOLIDIFY Q.B. IN D.C.?

San Francisco could not let Garoppolo hit free agency, and they also learned from the Redskins' mistakes that using a franchise tag with a young, promising QB is the wrong move. 

Ultimately, the Niners got this deal done because the organization believes Garoppolo will be better than Cousins or any other free agent that might become available. Most in the NFL think the same. 

It helped that the Niners had the salary cap space to go all in on Jimmy G. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch strategically cleared salary cap space to sign a quarterback, and now they've done it. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, were not in the same situation with Kirk Cousins this offseason. 

Cousins has shown who he is: A good quarterback that can play great games, and occasionally, lay a stinker. He's undoubtedly going to cash in on the free agency market, and it seems very possible he could overtake Garoppolo as the NFL's highest paid player.

But the Redskins did not have to sign Cousins. The Niners had to sign Garoppolo. 

Cousins has the higher floor, as he's proven to be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL.

Garoppolo, meanwhile, has the higher potential, true elite capability, that few QBs possess. 

The Redskins totally botched their contract negotiations with Cousins in 2016, when the team lowballed the QB. Right or wrong, the Redskins did not fully believe in Cousins at that point, and they still might not. 

San Francisco, along with most of the NFL, fully believes in Jimmy G.

And that's how a guy with seven careeer starts becomes the highest paid in the NFL.  

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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