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Why would the 49ers give up possible pursuit of Kirk Cousins? It's simple

Why would the 49ers give up possible pursuit of Kirk Cousins? It's simple

An interesting thing happened Monday night between the Redskins and Kirk Cousins, but it had nothing to do with either the Redskins or Kirk Cousins. 

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers traded to get Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots, giving up a second round pick.

In turn, San Francisco basically removed themselves from a potential bidding war for Cousins next offseason as Washington's QB is only under contract for 2017.

Now why would the Niners go and do that? It's simple really. 

The San Francisco brain trust must not think Cousins will hit the open market in 2018.

Beyond the possibility of Washington reaching a long-term deal with Cousins before free agency opens, the Redskins still have the option to use either a third straight franchise tag or transition tag on their quarterback. The dollar amounts for either are staggering, but so was the possible offer San Francisco GM John Lynch and the 49ers could have put forward for Cousins. 

MORE: KIRK COUSINS HAS TO BE ELITE IF REDSKINS WANT TO WIN

The connection between Cousins and Shanahan is obvious, and the interest from both parties was real, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Shanahan and the Niners moving from the pursuit of Cousins to the reality of Garoppolo, a talented but less proven 26-year-old backup, surely signals that other NFL teams expect Cousins back in D.C. for at least one more year.

For the last two seasons, Redskins team president Bruce Allen has referred to the franchise tag as a "team option" and at no point has he seemed hesitant to deploy the option for a third straight year. Washington's best chance at a long-term deal with Cousins came in 2016, before the team used their first franchise tag on Cousins, and in 2017 the quarterback's representatives chose to not even enter into real negotiations with the Redskins. Instead, Cousins signed his one-year, $24 million franchise deal.

And next year?

RELATED: REDSKINS NEED TO — BUT WON'T — MAKE TRADE DEADLINE DEAL

A franchise tag would pay Cousins $34 million. A transition tag would pay him $28 million. The QB would likely sign either, happily. 

As for the Redskins, they could remain free of a long-term $100 million plus contract for Cousins, something it seems the franchise would like to avoid. 

The Niners were the biggest threat to the Redskins when it came to Cousins. A terrible team flush with salary cap cash, San Francisco could put an offer out for the QB that would be simply crazy for a more established Redskins team to match. Now, that threat is almost certainly gone. 

Other teams will emerge as suitors for Cousins. Jacksonville or Denver seem logical spots, teams with good defenses and bad passers, and plenty of additioinal names will pop up.  

But, reading the situation, it's hard to see this move without increasing the chances Cousins comes back to the Redskins. At least for 2018. 

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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