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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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!

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Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

Listen to Jay Gruden, and it sounds like Redskins could again tag Kirk Cousins

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden sounds like he might be ready to again coach Kirk Cousins on a one-year contract, whether he likes it or not.

"Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to coach whoever is in the building, and if we get (Cousins) for a one-year, it’s a one year," Gruden told NBC Sports Washington (full video above).

"We’ll do the best we can with it."

At this point, Gruden knows the problems of coaching a quarterback on a one-year contract, as the Redskins have deployed the franchise tag on Cousins the past two seasons. Should Washington again look to tag Cousins, the price tag jumps to a wild $34 million for the 2018 season. Keep in mind, however, the NFL salary cap might outpace projections and creep all the way to $180 million, driving down the percentage of cap occupied by Cousins. 

Both Cousins and Gruden have talked about wanting long-term clarity, and while it's hard to say if the one-year deals impact on-field play, they take a toll on offseason planning. 

Regardless, Gruden moved quick to clear up any confusion about his relationship with Cousins. 

Asked directly if there was tension with Cousins, Gruden said, " No. I'm tired of the questions about the one-year deal."

Understandably, Gruden seems frustrated with the nature of contract talks between the Redskins and Cousins.

In 2016, Washington low-balled Cousins in contract talks and the QB decided to play on the franchise tag. In 2017, Washington made a low but reasonable offer to start contract talks, but Cousins decided not to negotiate, and again played on a one-year franchise tag. 

In 2018, it could be more of the same. 

"It seems like we just keep pushing this thing off and off and off, and eventually both sides are going to have to make a decision," Gruden said. "Hopefully that will be soon, but if not, we will see what happens."

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!