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Need to Know: The Redskins have never signed a tagged player long term

Need to Know: The Redskins have never signed a tagged player long term

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 14, 14 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 186 days ago. It will be 60 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 1; Preseason opener @ Falcons 28; Final roster cut 51

Long-term Cousins deal off of the tag would be a first for the Redskins

—I’m publishing this about 36 hours before the deadline for Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract with the Redskins. I would think that if something is going to happen that we’ll start hearing some rumblings of talk and movement at some point today. If we hear nothing but crickets today it’s hard to imagine anything happening on Friday.

—The Redskins are taking a risk by not locking up Cousins this year but it’s a risk they have taken before. In 2014 they put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo. He was coming off of his best season since his 2009 rookie year when his contract ran out. He was tagged and signed the tender. The Redskins never made a serious long-term contract offer to Orakpo and the deadline came and went. Had Orakpo duplicated his 2013 season (10 sacks and his first career interception) they would have had to pay high premium dollars to keep him. But in 2014 he had just a half of a sack before getting going on injured reserve after seven games. While you hate to say that anybody “wins” when a player gets injured, it turns out that the Redskins made the right move. Orakpo left as a free agent and Washington drafted Preston Smith.

—The Redskins have never signed a tagged player to a long-term contract. Their first franchised player was LB Wilber Marshall, who ended up with the Oilers after a contentious debate over compensation. A few years later transition-tagged CB Tom Carter signed an offer sheet with the Bears and the Redskins chose not to match. DT Sean Gilbert sat out a year rather than play on the franchise tag in 1997. He was tagged again in 1998 and eventually signed with the Panthers, giving the Redskins two first-round picks. CB Champ Bailey was on the tag for a few weeks before being traded to the Broncos in 2004. They didn’t use the tag again until 2012, when TE Fred Davis was franchised. He suffered a torn Achilles in Week 7, signed a one-year deal to return the next year, and hasn’t played since. Then came Orakpo.

—This doesn’t mean that Cousins isn’t long for Ashburn. For one thing, what happened with Marshall over 20 years ago has no bearing on what will take place in 2016. But the scarcity of quality quarterbacks in the NFL today makes Cousins more of a priority than the other tagged players were (although it must be said that CB’s like Bailey don’t grown on trees). I don’t think they’ll let him get away. If they don’t sign him by tomorrow at 4 p.m. they will get something done next year. It may cost them more but barring a total collapse in his performance they will pay the going rate and keep Cousins under center into the next decade.

Update: I left one tagged Redskin off the list. In 1995 they gave the transition tag to kicker Chip Lohmiller. The Redskins and Lohmiller never agreed on a contract and in August they rescinded the tag and let him go.

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Worried about the Redskins' schedule? Maybe you should be but schedules that look tough in July often look different when the games are played.

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An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

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An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

As high hopes for the Redskins season seem to be slowly slipping away, the high hopes for wide receiver Terrell Pryor can now officially end.

Jay Gruden announced Monday that Pryor will undergo ankle surgery and be placed on the injured reserve. That means Pryor will not be eligible to play for at least eight games, and considering it’s already late November, that closes the book on Pryor’s 2017 season.

When Pryor signed with Washington this offseason, fans grew quite excited. The 6-foot-5, 240 lbs. wideout went for more than 1,000 receiving yards last year on a terrible Browns team, and most expected that production to increase playing with Kirk Cousins.

It never happened.

MORE: KIRK COUSINS ISN'T THRILLED WITH NFL'S APOLOGY FOR MISSED CALL

In nine games for Washington, Pryor grabbed only 20 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown. What made matters worse for the former quarterback-turned-receiver, Pryor displayed subpar hands, and drops plagued him throughout the season. He was targeted 37 times, and barely caught more than 50 percent of those passes.

As things deteriorated for Pryor, he maintained a respectful professionalism. Eventually his ineffective play led him to the bench and reduced snaps, and in his final game of the season against the Vikings, Pryor did not even land a target.

Signed to a one-year deal, Pryor rolled the dice on a season in Washington to boost his free agent profile in 2018. It didn’t work, and now after surgery, it seems unlikely either the player or the organization would pursue a second contract.

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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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