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Do the Redskins really want a long-term deal with Cousins?


Do the Redskins really want a long-term deal with Cousins?

At the NFL combine last week, Scot McCloughan said that the Redskins would rather work out a long-term deal for Kirk Cousins rather than needing to use the franchise tag to keep him around.

“Well I’d rather not [use the tag], any year with any position. I’d rather just get a long term deal done and guarantee some money so you have that flexibility. But again, it’s an option that you have if you need to use, but me personally I like to take care of our own, get them locked in to an extension and not have to worry about the franchise tag.”

But sometimes the tag works out for the team just fine. If a player’s performance falls off after getting the tag the team isn’t stuck in long-term deal with a player who isn’t worth the money.

It worked out well for the Redskins in 2014. They franchise tagged Brian Orakpo and they never engaged in any serious contract negotiations prior to July 15, the deadline for agreeing to a long-term deal. Although Orakpo cost them in excess of $12 million for the year, they were able to move on from him after he produced one sack in eight games before suffering a season ending injury.

Yes, they did get a poor return on their $12 million. But they weren’t stuck with an albatross of a contract that may have dragged them down for years

Orakpo had been with the team for five years and had been the unquestioned starter since walking in the door. The Redskins had plenty of information they could use to gauge Orakpo’s value and his potential.

It’s a slightly different story with Cousins. He has been in the building for four years but he saw just occasional action before Jay Gruden named him the starter a couple of weeks prior to last season. After a shaky start Cousins caught fire and broke a few team passing records while leading the team to a 9-7 record and the NFC East title.

If there ever is a situation that calls for strongly considering a trial year before committing big, long-term dollars it may be this one.

While the Redskins like a lot about Cousins, from the way he prepares to his work ethic to his fit for Jay Gruden’s offense, they are not sure that he can continue to complete nearly 70 percent of his passes and post a 101 passer rating year after year. That doesn’t mean they don’t have confidence in him, it’s just that you can’t take a 16-game performance and projected over several years and assume that it’s going to remain just as good or better. Too much can go wrong.

Going back to what McCloughan said at the combine, it’s reasonable to assume that the organization would like Cousins on a long-term deal. However, McCloughan also said, “I’m not going to ruin the organization financially to do it.” How hard they might try to agree to a new contract is the key here.

There were reports that the Redskins started off with what only could be called a lowball offer of an average of $12.5 million per year. While they eventually brought it up to something in the vicinity of $16 million they still were not close to the $20 million average that Cousins’ camp is reportedly asking for.

It will be interesting to see how much the Redskins come up from that $16 million per year. Of course average annual value is not necessarily the most important aspect of a complex contract. The amount that is fully guaranteed at signing and how soon the team would realistically be able to get out of the contract without incurring a debilitating dead cap hit are also important in valuing a deal.

They could be content to leave an offer on the table that isn’t lowball and isn’t totally unreasonable regarding the other terms but is still one that they doubt that Cousins’ camp will accept. That would make the optics good while making it unlikely that Cousins will sign on the line.

They then go through 2016 and start again. If he slumps to being the inconsistent quarterback he was for his entire career up until the “you like that” game against the Bucs then the Redskins can act accordingly. If he plays as well as he did in the latter part of 2015 or better they end up with a deal that likely isn’t much harder to swallow financially than what Cousins’ camp has on the table now.

If Cousins has a great year and they have to pay more and commit to him for longer to keep him in burgundy and gold at least they will do so with a more solid level of confidence that they will be getting their money’s worth. 

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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.


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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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.