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One recurring theme from Kirk Cousins' camp: Market value

One recurring theme from Kirk Cousins' camp: Market value

Again bogged down in contract negotiations with their quarterback, it seems clear the Redskins and Kirk Cousins are having a tough time finding a dollar figure acceptable for both parties on a long-term deal.

Listening to comments about the contract talks, from Cousins himself and his agent, Mike McCartney, one recurring theme has emerged.

The Cousins' camp appreciates the franchise tag, and the high, fully-guaranteed salary it brings, but appears to resent the contractual mechanicism that keeps the quarterback from hitting the open market. 

McCartney made mention of the situation speaking to NFL Network at the combine:

At the end of the day [the Redskins are] the ones that placed the franchise tag on [Cousins]. A player, when his contract is up, looks forward to going to free agency to see what his value is on the open market. This is the second straight year that’s been taken away from Kirk so the Redskins did say something about, ‘hey, this guy is worth $24 million.’ Kirk didn’t ask for the franchise tag, I didn’t ask for the franchise tag. Still it’s a heck of a commitment from the club, and we view it that way.

Earlier this week, Cousins appeared on Adam Schefter's podcast. The headlines from that session came about Cousins' conversation with Redskins owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen about a possible trade and the club's commitment to their QB. Dig a little deeper into Cousins' comments, however, and the same market discussion emerged. From the podcast:

I see myself going through this negotiation process as there’s still time until the July 15 deadline. And from there you still have a whole 16-game season, and hopefully more games than that. And then from there, you can still be tagged again. And this entire process for me, from a contractual standpoint, has been framed by the franchise tag rules. It hasn’t really been framed by my market value. I would be content to go to the market and see what that value is and settle for whatever that is. But because of the franchise tag rules, and the team’s use of the tag, that just hasn’t taken place.​

And again:

As a result, my agent has had this whole negotiation from the perspective of the franchise tag rules. And until that system of the tag is removed from the equation, or removed from the collective bargaining agreement altogether, that’s gonna frame the entirety of my agent’s approach. We’ll just keep going. People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row.

Read it again. It's clear Cousins and his team see the tag in every part of the contract discussion. And within that framework, he is worth $24 million in 2017 and at least $28 million in 2018. Whether the Redskins agree with those terms are not, that is the framework of a deal that Cousins and his agent have repeatedly laid out. 

It's also interesting that Cousins nodded towards the elimination of the franchise tag in the CBA. Players generally hate being tagged because, like McCartney mentioned, they want to hit the open market and determine their value. Many players refuse to work out or show up for team functions when tagged. Cousins has not gone that route, but that comment, though subtle, likely shows his desire to hit the open market.

It's clear Cousins likes the tag, "I’ve always said the franchise tag is my friend, I’m not afraid of it," but free agency is the goal for almost every player. The tag prevents it from happening.

And in the Redskins case, the tag may be preventing a long-term deal for their franchise quarterback. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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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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League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

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USA TODAY Sports

League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

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.