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Need to Know: Situation could change quickly in Redskins-Cousins contract talks

Need to Know: Situation could change quickly in Redskins-Cousins contract talks

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 10, 18 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 182 days ago. It will be 64 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 5; Preseason opener @ Falcons 32; Final roster cut 55

The Redskins week that was

As you may have heard the deadline for the Redskins and their franchise tagged quarterback to reach a long-term deal is this Friday at 4 p.m. If a new contract is not signed, sealed, and delivered by then Kirk Cousins will play in 2016 for a guaranteed salary of $19.95 million and further negotiations will have to be put on hold until the end of the regular season.

You also may have seen reports that the deal won’t get done. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the following on Friday:
For Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, the deadline is irrelevant; an impasse exists that won’t be broken in the next eight days.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, nothing is happening by way of negotiations between Cousins and the team, and nothing will be happening. The two sides won’t be reaching a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.
Adam Schefter of ESPN has been saying essentially the same thing for at least a month as have others. So there won’t be a long-term deal between Cousins and the Redskins.

Unless there is.

Deadlines drive deals. You don’t have to go back further than one year to find a case where reports of no deal as the tag contract deadline approached turned into reports of a done deal in a hurry.

In 2015 Demaryius Thomas was the Broncos franchise player. Here is a chunk of a PFT report from Florio that is dated July 13, 2015 two days before the deadline to get a long-term deal done:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s currently “not likely” that the Broncos and Thomas will work out a new contract before the close of business on Wednesday.
[Note: The July 15 deadline fell on a Wednesday last year.]

About 48 hours later PFT was reporting that Thomas and the Broncos had agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract. Things went from “not likely” to signed, sealed, and delivered in a hurry.

The point here is not to bust on Florio for being wrong. His report on Thomas was not an outlier at the time nor is his reporting on the current situations with the Redskins and Cousins different from what others are saying. The point is that these situations can change rapidly and they often do.

There is always incentive to get a deal done. For the player it’s security; for the team it’s financial and roster certainty. Whether those incentives are enough to push the two sides to bridge the gap between them remains to be seen. But the door is not closed until the deadline passes on Saturday.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

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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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.