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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Drafting and developing, what Cousins wants

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Drafting and developing, what Cousins wants

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 14, 59 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 51
—NFL Draft (4/26) 102
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 238

The Redskins week that was

Here is my weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on Real Redskins and on NBC Sports Washington.

It's obvious what Kirk Cousins really wants—He has said that he wants to be with the Redskins and that he feels like he’s wanted by the team. However, if you listen to what he says what he really wants it to be able to hit free agency to establish his market value and to choose his situation. It’s an opportunity that a quarterback rarely gets. From the Redskins’ point of view, no team has let a QB coming off of three consecutive 4,000-yard seasons walk away.

One position the Redskins should avoid in the first round—We’re closing in on 100 days until the draft. There is no such thing as an unimportant draft but if Cousins does leave, a lot of jobs could be on the line. This will be the first draft with Doug Williams as the VP of player personnel and with Kyle Smith as the director of college scouting. Any decision to move up in the first round to try to get a quarterback will be largely the work of Bruce Allen. The fact that the group doesn’t inspire much confidence among a lot of fans is one of the reasons many are concerned about the prospect of them finding an adequate replacement for Kirk Cousins.

Five Redskins reserves who will have bigger roles in 2018—In 2017 we saw Matt Ioannidis, Kendall Fuller, and Josh Doctson produce much more in their second seasons in the league than they did as rookies. Next year the Redskins could improve based on getting more out of Ryan Anderson, Fabian Moreau, and Robert Davis and healthy season out of Montae Nicholson and Jonathan Allen. Often perceived needs going into a season are filled as the development part of “draft and develop” takes place.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins?—Unlike draft picks, you bring in free agents with the expectation of getting instant productivity. The five main free agents the Redskins brought in had mixed results. One of the busts, Terrelle Pryor, will not get a chance to redeem himself and the Redskins needs to re-sign Zach Brown, a free-agent success. The other will get a chance to improve or decline in 2018.

Tweet of the week

The fact that the Eagles with Nick Foles are in the NFC championship game was offered as “proof” that a team with any old quarterback can get a team deep into the playoffs. My response:

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.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

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