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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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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