Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 17, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.
The Redskins last played a game 197 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 55 days.
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 24
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 33
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 47
Deadline day FAQ’s
What exactly is the deadline about?
The franchise-tagged Cousins and the Redskins have until 4 pm today to reach agreement on a long-term contract. If they don’t, Cousins will play out the year getting a fully-guaranteed salary of $23.94 million. The team and the player will not be able to talk about a long-term contract until the end of the season.
What are the chances that they will reach an agreement?
As the saying goes, the chances are slim and none and slim is packing up and getting ready to leave town. Things can always change but the two sides are reported to be too far apart for any meaningful negotiations to take place.
Why won’t they make a deal?
Simply put, they don’t agree on what the value of the deal should be. Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, wants to base the deal on the leverage that the player has in terms of the $23.94 million tag salary this year and either a tag salary of $28.7 million or $34.5 million or unfettered free agency in 2018. The Redskins are basing their offer more on his value relative to other quarterback salaries and on how a long-term Cousins contract would affect their available salary cap for the coming years. The gap between the two camps is just too big right now.
What would have to happen for a deal to come together?
The one man who could quickly change the dynamic here is Dan Snyder. The Redskins owner has largely left the negotiations in the hands of Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer. If he decides that it’s in the long-term interest of the franchise to do whatever needs to be done to lock up Cousins, he may be able to forge an agreement. But even a major Snyder push would not guarantee a deal getting done.
What happens if they don’t reach an agreement?
They would move on to training camp and, as Cousins said in the same situation last year, "see you on the other side". After the season, the Redskins and Cousins could again start having contract talks. Washington would have exclusive negotiating rights until the start of the league year in early March. A couple of weeks before the league year, the Redskins will face a decision about tagging him. They could use the transition tag, which would carry a salary of $28.7 million and it would give the Redskins the right to match an offer sheet that Cousins could negotiate with another team after the start of the league year. If they decline to match there would be no compensation. Or they could put the franchise tag on him for $34.5 million and lock him up for the 2018 season. At that salary, the latter option seems to be unrealistic but there have been plenty of surprises in this saga. The third option would be to let Cousins become an unrestricted free agent.
If there is no deal will it be a distraction for the 2017 season?
It’s possible but I think that fears that the situation will be a big problem are overblown. Sure, there will be a flurry of media coverage and when the team is in Richmond, Cousins and Jay Gruden and others will be asked about it. But last year when Cousins was playing on the tag, the talk quickly turned to who was looking good in training camp, who was injured, who was going to get cut and, once the season started, the upcoming game. There is no reason to think it won’t unfold in a similar manner this year. The exception might be if Cousins goes through an extended slump. That might generate some questions. But if the same thing happened after he had signed a big money deal, the questions would be there as well.
Can they trade Cousins if they don’t reach a deal?
By the rules, yes. In any practical sense, no. Just like any player under a contract without a no-trade clause, Cousins can be traded. But if the Redskins were at all inclined to deal their quarterback they would have done it before the draft, when they could have received some immediate return and would have had more time to plan for a 2017 season without Cousins. If there is no deal today it would not really be a surprising development. They knew it was a strong possibility when they decided not to deal him before the draft so nothing really has changed. Plus, why would a team trade anything of value for a good but not great QB who is on a one-year, $24 million deal?
Tandler on Twitter
I’m not sure what will change between now and next January that will convince the Redskins to pay what it takes to keep Cousins. We’ll see.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) July 16, 2017
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