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Need to Know: Redskins look for Cousins to continue success in two-minute drives


Need to Know: Redskins look for Cousins to continue success in two-minute drives

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 10, one day before the Washington Redskins open their preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons.


Today's schedule: AM walkthrough before travel to Atlanta, no media availability

—The Redskins last played a game 213 days ago. It will be 33 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason vs. Jets @FedEx Field 9; Final roster cut 24; Cowboys @ Redskins 39

Cousins hopes to continue success in two-minute situations

In practice last week Kirk Cousins led an impressive two-minute drill that ended in a touchdown.

“He did good in that drive,” said Jay Gruden. “He does a good job of taking what the defense gives him. We just harp on that. He hit some check-downs, some underneath routes, and guys got up the field and got lined up and we can run off a lot of plays in that situation. As long as we don’t have any negative plays, we can move the ball and be quick and efficient and he was efficient today.”

Leading scoring drives as the clock is running down last in the first half or late in the game is not an area where Cousins needs a great deal of improvement. He was pretty good at the two-minute drill last year.

Cousins led the Redskins to a score on 13 drives that ended with two minutes or less remaining in the second and fourth quarters. Six of those drives either tied the game or put the Redskins in the lead. That includes the game-winning drives against the Eagles and Bucs and the 24-second, 46-yard drive that led to a Dustin Hopkins field goal to send the Atlanta game into overtime.

In all of his passes in the last two minutes of a half, Cousins completed 42 of 68 passes. That completion percentage of 61.8 is lower than his number on all passes for the season (69.8%). But he threw five touchdown passes and no interceptions and his passer rating was a solid 106.8.

All of the success he had doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t continue to work on it. In fact, practice is likely to be the only chance he has to take his two-minute efficiency to a new level. He won’t play long enough in the first two preseason games to reach the 2:00 mark of the first half and he won’t play at all in the fourth. He may get his hands on the ball late in the first half in preseason Week 3 against the Bills if he is still in the game and if the situation is right. But that one possible opportunity will be all until the start of the regular season.

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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


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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before they let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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