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Need to Know: Redskins start free agency on a slow roll

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Need to Know: Redskins start free agency on a slow roll

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 11, 50 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Redskins are slow rolling free agency

When free agency opened in the past the Redskins were frequently among the first to dive into the pool with a big transaction or two. That was not the case on Tuesday.

With trades and huge signings going on all over the league, the Redskins just dipped a foot into the shallow end and tested out the water a bit. They finalized what they had nailed down on Monday when they had agreed to terms with Bears defensive lineman Stephen Paea. But while they stayed on the phone and lined up some visits they were in no rush to hand out huge contracts to players who might sell a few jerseys but would not help the Redskins achieve their goal of becoming a perennial playoff contender.

It’s apparent that there is a new sheriff in town. Scot McCloughan does this differently from how Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan, Vinny Cerrato, and his other predecessors.

Here’s a look at what happened yesterday:

Paea formally agreed to terms, although the team has not yet announced the signing. He will play all over the line, at 3-4 end, nose tackle and at tackle when they go into a four-man front. There were other teams in pursuit and he said he left some money on the table for a better fit in Washington. “Other teams were offering me a little bit more, but the way Washington would use me in their defense was the reason I chose Washington,” he said via John Keim of ESPN. “But whatever they feel that I would fit best, they’ll put me in there. I’m there to help, not only playing the run but the pass. I’m all for that.”

—They are continuing to look for help on the defensive line. Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton is set to come in for a visit according to multiple reports including the Twitter account of his good friend Chris Baker, who has be lobbying for Knighton to come to the Redskins.

—They aren’t ignoring the secondary. Perrish Cox, 49ers cornerback, is set to visit on Wednesday as well. He became a starter for the first time in his career in 2014 and he picked off five passes and knocked down 18. Cox could start alongside Bashaud Breeland, pushing David Amerson to a nickel role or possibly to free safety. The team needs to be very wary of Cox’s past which has a record of some very serious sexual assault charges in 2010 (he was acquitted).

—The Redskins re-signed safety Trenton Robinson, who could have been a restricted free agent but he wasn’t likely to get the $1.5 million RFA tender. He may not contribute much on defense but he is a key special teams player; last year he led the team with 15 tackles on coverage units.

—They could be picking up the phone to find a running back as news came out that third-down back Roy Helu Jr. had agreed to terms with the Raiders. The Redskins’ second-leading rusher in the past two seasons signed for a reported two years and $4 million. That’s not a huge contract by any means and an indication that the Redskins did not make keeping Helu a priority. Washington could try to replace Helu in free agency (they have been connected to former Ravens running back Justin Forsett), in a draft that is deep at the running back position, or from within with Chris Thompson and Silas Redd.

—Don’t be surprised if they lose another member of that fast-disappearing draft class of 2011 today. Leonard Hankerson is set to pay a visit to the Falcons and their offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. If Hankerson leaves only Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul would be left from the 11 players to Redskins picked in 2011. Jarvis Jenkins, the second-round pick in that draft, remains an unrestricted free agent who could return.

—Brian Orakpo isn’t completely out of the picture for the Redskins but he is off visiting other teams. First stop is in Tennessee and if nothing is finalized there he will head to Arizona.

Timeline

—It’s been 73 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 186 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 40; 2015 NFL Draft 50; Redskins training camp starts 141

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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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.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

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

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: