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Former agent says issue with Redskins and Kirk Cousins isn't money

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Former agent says issue with Redskins and Kirk Cousins isn't money

For Redskins fans wondering what might be the hold up in contract talks between Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins, look beyond the money. With the franchise tag looming, Cousins' camp knows roughly the money on the table. Considering the $19 million franchise tag as a baseline, what is most important for Cousins and his agent Mike McCartney is the structure of a deal. 

Why does the structure matter so much? Recent team friendly deals signed by the Bengals' Andy Dalton and 49ers' Colin Kaepernick have skewed the scenario for young quarterbacks looking to work out new contracts with their teams. For the Redskins and Cousins, former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry said those deals should not even be a consideration.

"The money’s not going to be the issue, it's going to be the structure. They’re going to want something along the lines of Dalton and Kaepernick structurally," Corry said of the Redskins.

"Hell is going to freeze over before Mike McCartney agrees to that type of structure for Kirk Cousins."

MORE REDSKINS: TEAMMATES LINING UP TO SUPPORT KIRK COUSINS 

Corry explained that unique circumstances brought about the Dalton and Kaepernick deals, and that will not be the case in Washington with Cousins. 

"It’s basically a year-to-year proposition," Corry said of the deals Dalton and Kaepernick signed. "It doesn’t matter what the contract says if it’s that kind of structure, Mike McCartney’s not going to have Kirk Cousins sign that. You could make him the highest paid player in football with that type of structure and he wouldn’t do it."

So what will happen? Corry said the franchise tag "is probably legitimately in play." And that means a one-year deal worth at least a guaranteed $19 million. While that may sound like a lot, even as the franchise tag is likely to creep closer to $20 million, Corry pointed out that it's only about $4 million more than the team allotted for Robert Griffin III and his $16 million option for the 2016 season. Does that mean $16 million could make sense for Cousins?

"You’re not getting him for anything like $16 million per year," Corry said. "He’s gonna laugh at that.”

Even if the team places the franchise tag on Cousins, both sides can keep negotiating towards a long-term deal until mid-summer. And what might that deal look like? Corry said that McCartney will use the $20 million franchise tag as a baseline for a long-term deal. Further, if the 'Skins do franchise Cousins, it could mean they have to do the same next season, and that tag would carry about a $23 or $24 million price tag. 

"I'm sure the first offer was over $20 million per year. I’ve not talked to Mike McCartney about that, but any decent agent the first proposal is going to be elite quarterback money."

And what's the sales pitch for Cousins and McCartney? Corry said it would go something like this: "He’s an ascending player, once the offense was tailored to him and DeSean was back, you saw what he could do."

The numbers back it up: Cousins broke nearly every relevant Redskins season passing record and led the team on a four-game win streak to close the season and win the NFC East. 

"He had a phenomenal second half of the year," Corry said of Cousins. "He was a top 5 quarterback, granted it’s a small sample size."

It's almost more about what happens if the Redskins don't bring back Cousins than anything else. 

"Fear of the unknown drives quarterback deals," Corry said. "McCartney knows he has leverage. He would do cartwheels if Kirk Cousins can get to the open market because there aren’t enough QBs for each team."

Looking at the numbers, Corry said adding up both possible franchise tags could give an estimate for the amount of guaranteed money Cousins might look for in a long-term deal. So, were the 'Skins to use the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017, Cousins would be due roughly $40 million guaranteed for those two seasons. Should the Skins offer a four-year deal with a suitable base salary and a guaranteed figure in that ballpark, maybe things could work out. 

"If you’re gonna franchise him, you’re gonna have to pay him the average of those two franchise tags," Corry said. He added that Cousins and McCartney might "give you a little discount on the two franchise tags because [they're] getting it a little sooner." 

What kind of discount? Corry suggested a guaranteed figure that gets to at least $36 million. 

The big question in Washington is what happens next, as the clock is ticking. Corry said both sides will likely reinitiate conversations soon, perhaps next week at the NFL Scouting Combine, but that something will happen before the franchise tag deadline in March. Washington's chief negotiators Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer know what's at stake, and in the end, it seems highly unlikely the sides don't work out a deal at least for a year. It's also possible that some in Ashburn aren't totally convinced by Cousins, which bodes well for the franchise tag.

"It might make more sense if they’re not sold on him, it's a nice problem to have if he goes out and does it again then you know for sure you’ve got your franchise quarterback," Corry said. "You’re not going anywhere unless you have a capable quarterback. You’ll pay for a QB if you have one, it ensures you’re going to be in the mix." 

Asked bluntly who will be the starter come Week 1 in Washington, Corry had no doubts.

"It’s Kirk Cousins. They franchise him if they have to. They don’t have any other options," he said. "What's your alternative? Colt McCoy? RG3? You’re gonna end up last in the division with that."

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 17, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 48
—NFL Draft (4/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 235

Five possible Redskins first-round draft picks

As you can see from the “Days until” counter above, the NFL draft is 99 days away. A lot will happen between now and then but let’s look at some prospects who will fit the Redskins and who should be available at pick No. 13.

ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia—If you watched Georgia at all during the national semifinals or finals, you had to be impressed with his instincts, speed, hard hitting, and solid tackling. Even if free agent Zach Brown stays, the Redskins could pair him up with Smith and have a dynamic pair of inside linebackers for the first time since they started running the 3-4 in 2010. The problem for the Redskins is that his high-profile performances in those big game may have pushed Smith into the top 10.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma—A quarterback should be the choice early in the draft unless Kirk Cousins is signed to a long-term deal. Mayfield is an unconventional type of QB at about 6-1. There’s a lot to like about him, though—mobility, playmaking ability, and deep ball accuracy. He seems to have learned from his off-field mistakes, including an arrest about a year ago (apparently for yelling). In any case, if he is on the Redskins’ radar they will thoroughly vet him between now and draft day. Other QB possibilities are Josh Allen of Wyoming and Lamar Miller of Louisville.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama—Hey, why not another wide receiver, which would be the second one in the first round in three years, and another member of the Crimson Tide after taking Alabama players 1-2 in 2017. I know that people would cringe at another round 1 WR but after Terrelle Pryor flamed out last year it certainly is a need. Ridley would represent a solid value at No. 13.

DL Vita Vea, Washington—This pick would solve a couple of problems. At 6-4, 332 Vea has the size and strength needed to play nose tackle, solving another problem that has been around since 2010. What might make him worth a first-round pick is that he doesn’t have to go to the bench in nickel. Vea is versatile enough to rush the passer and play three downs. Start a line with Vea, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, mix in a few quality rotational players, and get Jim Tomsula to coach them up and you will have a top-notch D-line. As of right now, Vea is considered to be more of a late first-round player but a lot can change in the next 99 days.

RB Derrius Guice, LSU—Dreams of getting Saquon Barkley at No. 13 are just that and trading up far enough to get him would cost way too much draft capital. But Guice is a good mix of speed, power, agility, and receiving ability. With the exception of Alfred Morris’ first couple of seasons, the Redskins have been ordinary at best since the prime of Clinton Portis a decade ago. Many were impressed with Sony Michel of Georgia, who could be available in the second round.

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.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one: