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Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 17, 41 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 31
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 56
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 68
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 120
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 177

Friday three and out

1. A mystery solved.

I get frequent questions about why the Redskins have not had Johnathan Hankins in for a visit or why there hasn’t even been any reported contact with the Giants’ D-lineman. This says there are 10 million reasons why Hankins’ phone hasn’t been ringing with 703 on the caller ID or from any other area code for that matter. Hankins is a good, young player but $10 million a year is just way too much. Perhaps he will get the message at some point and lower his asking price. He could end up going with a one-year contract like Dontari Poe did with the Falcons. That would make it even more difficult for the Redskins to sign him. It’s not so much the money; they could make that work. But if Hankins is going to go with one year in hopes of being able to cash in next year he is unlikely to sign up to be a nose tackle. It’s much harder to generate eye-popping stats the generate big contracts from the zero technique than it is from a defensive tackle spot.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

2. A free agent signing but not the one you’re looking for:

Carter is the prototypical journeyman who will try to make the team as a special teams contributor. It looks like he will be the replacement for Terence Garvin, the linebacker/special teams guy who was here last year and hasn’t been re-signed. Carter, an ex-Steeler like Garvin, has played in 42 NFL games and he has yet to record a sack.

3. I get that everyone is mad because Scot McCloughan wanted to sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension in 2015 after Cousins was named the starter and Bruce Allen didn’t want to do it. But how realistic is it to think that they could have come to an agreement on a long-term contract at that time? Would they base the value on his 2014 starts, when he was turnover prone and eventually benched and demoted to third string? Or after, say, Week 6 when he was sitting there with six TD’s and eight interceptions and a passer rating of 77.4? There were talks during the bye week after the “you like that!” comeback over the Bucs but nothing materialized. And according to the Breer article by the time December came around the Cousins camp wanted to wait until 2016 to talk.

So they essentially had a window between the bye week and December to get a deal done. The Redskins went 2-2 in that stretch with blowout losses against the Patriots and Panthers. While you couldn’t necessarily blame either loss on Cousins, they weren’t the kinds of performances that made you want to throw a bunch of money at him, either.

If someone can tell me when there was an opportunity there to come up with a contract that offer that would have been either so high as to look like a vast overpay for the team or a big-time lowball from Cousins’ perspective, I’m all ears. The timing just wasn’t right. This doesn’t mean that disagreement over how it should be handled was a good thing and it shows that McCloughan's instincts were right. According to Breer it was the nexus of things falling apart in Ashburn. But thinking that Cousins would be signed for a few more years now if McCloughan had prevailed in 2015 doesn’t really add up.

Out—with a fan question:

This is an easy one on defense—a solid nose tackle. Yesterday morning on 980 Greg Manusky talked about looking at Phil Taylor, Joey Mbu, and A.J. Francis at the position. If those are his choices for Week 1 the defense is in serious trouble.

On offense the answer is less obvious. I’d say it’s a blocking tight end who is, you know, an actual tight end. Ty Nsekhe sure can block as a sixth offensive lineman but having someone who can catch passes as your extra blocker sure does give the defense a lot more to think about. I also think they need a young quarterback in case Cousins departs either this year or next.

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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Yesterday afternoon after a close NCAA finish:

In case you missed it

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

RELATED: DEAR FANS, STOP WITH THE 'FIRE GRUDEN' TALK

"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

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USA TODAY Sports

League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

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.