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One month 'til franchise tag deadline, two Kirk Cousins quotes stand out

One month 'til franchise tag deadline, two Kirk Cousins quotes stand out

By now every Redskins fan knows the story. Heck, every NFL fan knows the story. If the Redskins and Kirk Cousins can't get a long-term deal done in the next month, the quarterback will play his second straight season on the franchise tag. In turn he will make $24 million, guaranteed, and be eligible for free agency in 2018.

While the Redskins and Cousins have voiced positivity over the last several weeks about contract talks, still, little actual movement towards a deal has transpired. The team promoted Doug Williams to run football personnel this week, but Williams himself said Eric Schaffer would continue to run point on the Cousins contract, with the help of Bruce Allen and perhaps even Dan Snyder. 

What do the promotions mean to Cousins? 

This quote jumped out from Wednesday when Cousins was asked about his relationship with Schaffer.

Eric’s done a great job all along. He’s very smart. This isn’t his first rodeo. I have a lot of faith in him not only in handling my situation, but when my situation is handled, handling everybody else’s. I have faith in that. But make no mistake, there are titles ahead of him, you know? And those people make decisions too. So, yes, Eric has a big role. There are people above him who have bigger roles, and that’s why their titles are President and Head Coach and so on. So it’s a team effort making decisions and Eric certainly has a voice in that – a big voice.

Read it again. Cousins knows this decision will likely come from Allen and Snyder. That's fair too, as the organization will likely have to offer a contract with a value north of $120 million. That is crazy cash, even by NFL standards. 

It's also interesting Cousins mentioned the head coach's role. Jay Gruden named Cousins the Redskins starting QB before the 2015 season. The move rewarded both men and the team, yet, Cousins' statement almost suggests he questions if his coach has advocated for a deal. Or that as Gruden's role in the organization has grown - as has been reported by CSN and elsewhere - perhaps his increased clout can get a deal done. 

One other quote stood out. Cousins talked about his agent, Mike McCartney, and their saga.

I hired Mike [McCartney] because I trust him to do the job and I feel like he’s done a very good job all the way along and while things he’s told me I haven’t always liked to hear or they haven’t always been easy to act on, he’s always been right as I look back. So I have great trust in his counsel and his approach and I’ll definitely be leaning on him as we go forward all the way through it. 

McCartney has been steadfast that the franchise tag sets the annual value for any long-term contract. That means last year McCartney would not enter into negotiations with Cousins making less than $20 million per year. This year, that figures jumps to $24 million per year.

Asked about the $24 million annual salary, Schaffer said he could not talk about specific contract numbers. With the news that Snyder is growing more involved, perhaps the Redskins will get to that number, but the clock is ticking. 

Though he was fired by the organization in March, former general manager Scot McCloughan only said nice things about the Redskins since his exit. He did have some interesting comments about McCartney, however, as it related to Cousins' contract.

"It's a big business," McCloughan said (click here for full audio). "The agent's got to be understandable that they're involved in it too. It's not just us and the player, the agent has to be able to understand."

Speaking with people close to the Redskins, there has been some tension between McCartney and the brass. The perception is that Cousins' agent wants to squeeze every dime out of this contract, with the visibility of this deal magnified around the NFL. 

Listen to Cousins, and he clearly trusts McCartney. He should, in two seasons, Cousins stands to make $44 million. If you're the client, your agent's job is to get every dollar. 

The Redskins have one month to pay up for a long-term deal, or this saga will begin anew after the 2017 season. Just listen. 

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201