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A $20 million yearly average is now the floor for a Cousins deal

A $20 million yearly average is now the floor for a Cousins deal

The floor keeps getting higher for Kirk Cousins.

In March, when Brock Osweiler jumped from the Broncos to the Texans for a contract that averages $18 million per year, that was generally accepted to be a floor for a Kirk Cousins deal. Osweiler had just seven NFL starts under his belt and his play was just OK. Cousins was coming off of a very good, 16-start season. If Osweiler was worth $18 million per season then Cousins was worth at least that much.

Yesterday the floor shifted.

Andrew Luck signed an extension is worth about $25 million per year. Luck was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, he has three Pro Bowls on his resume and his teams have been to the playoffs three times and have won three games. He clearly is a cut above Cousins, who has one season as a starter and the Redskins have an 0-1 mark in the playoffs with him at quarterback.

But that doesn’t mean that Luck’s big payday won’t affect Cousins. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Luck’s deal is a rip tide that will raise the salaries of all competent quarterbacks who are fortunate enough to become free agents.

So what is the minimum that Cousins should expect now? It’s hard to see his agent settling for a dime less than $20 million per year on average. That’s 80 percent of Luck’s take on his extension. Even that number may be low but it seems to work as an absolute rock-bottom minimum.

The per-season average money is only one factor in evaluating the value of a contract. Guaranteed money is perhaps even more important. Luck’s extension contains $84 million in guarantees. If we take the same 80 percent of Luck’s guarantees and apply them to Cousins then the Redskins’ QB should figure on something in the neighborhood of $65 million guaranteed.

The Redskins are surveying the landscape. Right now their stance is that they want to see Cousins produce something similar to his 2015 season again before they commit anything close to Luck-type money to him.

They might look at Luck’s deal, wonder how much it will cost them to lock up Cousins if they wait a year, and push to get a deal done by the July 15 deadline. If they are going to make a serious push, however, they had better be willing to start with an annual average value with a “2” in front of it and a pile of guaranteed money that starts with a “6”. It’s doubtful that Cousins’ camp will entertain anything less.

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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

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