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Fear factor: The Redskins are more afraid of cap problems than of losing their QB

Fear factor: The Redskins are more afraid of cap problems than of losing their QB

The Redskins are about to go where no team has ever gone with its starting quarterback after Kirk Cousins played out the 2016 season on the franchise tag.

Only one other quarterback, Drew Brees of the Chargers, has played a season on the franchise tag. The Chargers tagged him in 2005 and he started 16 games for them. The team had acquired Philip Rivers to be their quarterback of the future but they wanted to hang on to Brees for one more year. That’s what they did and they let him become a free agent in 2006.

Why do quarterbacks almost never make it to a first franchise tag season and never to a second one? Because teams are afraid of losing their quarterbacks and usually lock them up before their deals run out, even if they must overpay to get it done. The demand for competent starting quarterbacks exceeds the supply and if you have one you do whatever you must do to hang on to him for as long as he still is effective.

RELATED: Redskins-Cousins deadline FAQ’s

While you can argue where Cousins fits into the pantheon of current NFL quarterbacks, he certainly is competent. The past two years he has thrown for over 9,000 yards with an average of 7.9 yards per attempt with 54 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. With him behind center, the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 and posted their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-1997.

So why aren’t the Redskins doing whatever they must do to keep Cousins in the fold? It appears that they have a different fear. They are afraid of paying top-tier money to a quarterback who in terms of career accomplishments and future potential is maybe in the lower part of the top dozen quarterbacks in the league.

Is Cousins good enough to compensate for the holes in the roster that may develop because they are cap strapped after paying Cousins some 14 percent of the available money every year for the next five years or so? The Redskins are not sure that he is and they fear entering the realm of being hamstrung by the cap and unable to build a roster that can win with a good but not great quarterback.

MORE REDSKINS: What will happen on deadline day?

The odd angle on the Redskins’ fear factor is that they paid Cousins $20 million last year and likely will end up paying him $24 million this season. They could tag him for either the $28 million transition tag or the $34 million franchise tag in 2018. Potentially paying Cousins between $72 million and $78 million for three seasons seems to be an odd way to show concern about overpaying for an above-average quarterback.

The problem with prioritizing your fear of cap problems over your fear of losing your quarterback is that you can always create cap room. Yes, you will pay for it down the road but if you really need money you can find it. If you really need a quarterback you can’t just pluck one off of a tree somewhere. Even throwing a tremendous amount of resources at trying to get a QB (see the RG3 trade) is no guarantee that you will find one.

We will see if the Redskins’ fears are in the right place or if they are misguided. Given the Redskins history, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. 

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

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.