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Need to Know: What is Cousins' future with the Redskins?

Need to Know: What is Cousins' future with the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 29, 10 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

What is Cousins' future?

If you’ll note the date stamp on this tweet, it’s from October 19, the day after the loss to the Jets. That was a “bad Kirk” day as he threw two interceptions and was off target on a number of other passes.

My response to Markian was that I would look at his question during the bye. And now, of course, Cousins is coming off of a “good Kirk” performance in leading the Redskins to a comeback win over the Bucs.

And it is the up-and-down nature of Cousins’ performances that makes predicting his future so difficult. It’s easy to sit here now and say that he’s turned the corner and his star is rising. But it sure didn’t look that way 10 days ago and it might not after the bye when the Redskins go on the road to play two undefeated teams, the Patriots and Panthers, in their first three games after the bye.

But if things were calm and stable, and certain I wouldn’t be putting casino chips on future events. So let’s go with an imaginary $100 in casino chips to lay down on the possible outcomes.

Cousins is slated to be an unrestricted free agent next year so “cut him” is not an option.

Let him walk—$10 This would mean letting him go without a contract offer or one that is such a lowball deal that he would be a fool to accept it. It would take about seven or eight “bad Kirk” performances in the last 11 games with maybe a couple of “horrible Kirk” games that we haven’t see this year but are in his past (see Thursday night vs. Giants in 2014).

Bring him back on a short-term deal—$65 I’m doing a post later today on free agents and I’ll go into what a deal like this might look like. It would be something that would tie Cousins to the team for the two years with perhaps a third-year option. This would be the scenario of Cousins continues to go along about like he has, mixing some good games with some that show that he is still a work in progress. The team likely would bring in some competition for Cousins if they take a wait and see stance such as this.

Bring him back on a long-term deal—$20 If you’ve been following along here, you can probably figure out that this is what happens if he copies and pastes the Bucs game several more times this year and cures the interception bug so that his lows are not nearly as low. The Redskins somehow sneaking into the playoffs in a weak NFC East and winning a home playoff game would help. This would be a four- or five-year deal worth something in the $15-$17 million range with escalators to bump his pay up if he exceeds expectations and escape hatches for the team to get out of it if he underperforms the deal.

Franchise tag—$5 This is worth a flyer because crazy things happen in the NFL. This would take Cousins hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and driving off the new car as the MVP. I’d probably go a little lower than five bucks this but this casino doesn’t do $1 chips.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Bye week

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 10; Saints @ Redskins 17; Redskins @ Panthers 24

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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: