Quick Links

Cousins in position to make big jump this offseason, Gruden says


Cousins in position to make big jump this offseason, Gruden says

INDIANAPOLIS—Jay Gruden says he’s confident that Kirk Cousins’ upward trajectory will accelerate this offseason.

Why? Well, for starters, Cousins will be the Redskins’ top signal caller from Day 1 of the team’s offseason program.

“It’s huge,” Gruden said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “You could see his progression really sped up once he realized he was the guy. I think once he felt he put himself in that position, you could see his confidence grow and his performance get better and better. Now with an offseason in the same program and same system and [offensive coordinator Sean McVay and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh focused on him], he’ll get better and better, no question.”

That, of course, is a major departure from how things worked a year ago.

Last offseason, Robert Griffin III was named the starter in February, putting the focus squarely on No. 10, inside and outside of Redskins Park. Griffin received the first team reps during OTAs, minicamp, training camp and the first three weeks of the preseason. During that same time, Cousins competed with Colt McCoy for backup snaps.

“He did it [last season] without the luxury of being the No. 1 guy, ever, in this offense,” Gruden said of Cousins. “Training camp, OTAs, he’s always been second fiddle and hasn’t gotten the reps.”

“And then, when we announced him [as] the first-team quarterback after the third preseason game, [that] was really the first time we really catered the offense to him,” Gruden said. “And he took it and ran with it. He had his ups and downs, obviously, as most quarterbacks do. But you could see him progress and get better and better every week and that’s what you look for in any player. And we feel like with the whole offseason catered to him—OTAs, training camp, all that stuff—he’s got a big upside.”

Indeed, Cousins showed tremendous growth in the second half of 2015 as he gained more experience and confidence. After throwing eight interceptions in the first six games, Cousins had his “You like that” moment and finished the regular season by throwing 23 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the final 10 games as the Redskins captured the NFC East title.

Because of that second half surge, Cousins has put himself in position to become one of the NFL’s highest paid players, whether it’s on a lucrative long-term extension or the $20 million franchise tag.

Just as important, though, he’ll open the offseason as The Guy. Of course, he established himself as The Guy in November and December. But there's still something different about opening the offseason on the ground floor. The playbook, the meetings, the focus of the coaches, the practices, it’ll all be centered around one player. And that, Gruden said, might be this offseason’s biggest development for Cousins. 

“There is no substitute for experience and repetition,” Gruden said. “The more he gets in the same system, the better he’s going to be. He’s already showing progress at a fast rate for a young quarterback in a system for the first time. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get in [different] situations—game management, in the pocket, his pocket skill, his pocket awareness, anticipation, touch. All those [of] things, getting to know his receivers, the tight ends, the blocking schemes, the running game—getting us in the right run at the right time. All [of] those things, he’s going to continue to get better at and make himself an all-around better player."

"And that," Gruden added, "comes with repetition.”

MORE REDSKINS: 2016 NFL salary cap up $12 million

Quick Links

Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East


Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East

The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.

Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction. 

What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb. 


For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined. 

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!

Quick Links

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.

Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.

Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.


After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.

The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).

The salary cap hits per year are as follows:

2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million

The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.

Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.


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