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Redskins can franchise tag Cousins starting today

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Redskins can franchise tag Cousins starting today

Look at the headline above. A year ago nobody would have believed that that “Kirk Cousins” and “franchise tag” would appear in the same headline at any point in time. For that matter, nobody would have believed it six months ago, which was a couple of weeks before Jay Gruden declared, “It’s Kirk’s team” and Cousins became both the present and future for the Redskins.

Today is the first day that the quarterback and tag can move from a headline to a legal document in the form of a one-year contract tender. Teams can start franchising players at the open of business on February 16 and today is that day.

But I would say that it’s not necessary to check Twitter frequently or refresh your Facebook news feed over and over today to see if the Redskins have pulled the trigger on the tag. They have two weeks to continue to work on a long-term contract for Cousins before the deadline to tag players, which is March 1 at 4 p.m. They will use every bit of that time if they have to as they see a multi-year deal preferable to the one-year tag.

The tag would give Cousins a one-year contract worth about $19.6 million. The contract becomes fully guaranteed once Cousins signs it. He could refuse to sign it and sit out OTAs and minicamp in an effort to create some leverage towards a long-term contract. It seems unlikely that Cousins would do this since he has just one year as a starter under his belt and he needs to work but he would have the option. If the tag is used the player and team would have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract. After that date the tag is locked in for the year. 

It was reported recently that the Redskins and Cousins are "far apart" in their negotiations for a new deal. This to be expected. With two weeks to go there is really no reason for the team or Cousins' agent to move much. If we're still hearing that a day or two before March 1 then there might be cause for some concern that a new deal will get done. 

Regardless, the Redskins are nearly certain to use the tag on Cousins if they don’t reach a deal. If they don’t tag him his agent would be able to talk contract with any team starting on March 7 and he would be able to sign with any team starting at 4 p.m. on March 9. Since it appears that the Redskins are going to part ways with Robert Griffin III, a Cousins departure would leave them without a starting quarterback. They will not risk that happening. 

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Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the first episode above and more here.

When the NFL Draft comes around, you'll hear fans and analysts often say, "If Player X makes it to pick No. __, then Team Y should sprint to the podium to pick him."

Well, this Thursday, if Player X is Tremaine Edmunds, the pick is No. 13 and Team Y is the Washington Redskins, the Burgundy and Gold should sprint to the podium only if there's no other option to get there quicker. 

While the 'Skins already have two talented linebackers in Zach Brown and Mason Foster on the roster already, taking the Virginia Tech teenager shouldn't be ruled out. Now, the only problem is that Edmunds has to slide that far in the 2018 draft; the majority of mocks have him going before that spot.

Edmunds is the type of do-it-all LB that is especially valuable in today's NFL. He has the athleticism and ability to fit on the inside or outside, and is just as comfortable rushing the passer as he is in coverage. You know that issue the Redskins have when it comes to covering tight ends, the one that's lasted for like a decade now? Edmunds would help erase it, along with a host of other problems.

"They don't come like him," one NFC scout told NFL.com about Edmunds. "I don't think there has ever been a linebacker that has had his size and speed."

Redskins fans, go outside and start searching for your four-leaf clovers now. Last year, the franchise got lucky and landed Jonathan Allen. This time around, they're going to need even more of it to secure Edmunds. 

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The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

With the NFL schedule dropped last week, many fans and media types went through and predicted wins and losses for the teams they follow, just for fun. But others predict the records of teams and it’s not for laughs, it’s for very high stakes.

The betting houses in Las Vegas and offshore have established their lines for over/under in wins. They then take this a step further and go through the playoffs to establish the odds of winning the Super Bowl. 

Over the weekend, BetOnline published one of each and let’s just say that they do not like what the Redskins have done this offseason. Or, more accurately, they think that the public perception is that the Redskins will not be a very good team this year. 

Their over/under for wins is 5.5. They won seven games last year so the under would represent a decline of at least two wins. This line seems to be low. The Redskins won seven games last year with the worst injury situation in the league, per the numbers crunchers at Football Outsiders. They also faced one of the toughest schedules in the league in terms of opponent winning percentages. 

Yes, they did lose Kirk Cousins to free agency but they replaced him with Alex Smith, who, like Cousins, is not elite or even in the top 10 but in the category of solid, reliable quarterbacks. The QB exchange was close to a wash. But despite the fact that the chances are they will suffer fewer injuries and face a schedule that isn’t as much of a meat grinder, this over/under has the Redskins producing double-digit losses. They have managed to stay out of 10-plus loss territory for three straight years. 

There are more reasons to think that they will win at least as many games as they did last year than there are to think that they will win fewer. If I’m betting, which I’m not, I’d be tempted to hit the over on that pretty hard. 

I would keep my money in my pocket when it comes to betting on the Redskins’ chances of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’re close, but I think they’re much closer than the Browns but BetOnline has Cleveland and Washington with the same odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Redskins, Browns, and Bucs are at +6600 to win it all. The Redskins odds are worse than all but six other teams. 

Again, I don’t think that the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl. Winning a playoff game would be quite an accomplishment for them. But same could be said of the Colts, Giants, Chargers, and 49ers, but they all have considerably better odds than the Redskins. 

In fact, there may be some irrational exuberance with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. They have the seventh-best odds at +1600. Sure, Jimmy G was very good in five meaningless games at the end of last season. Let’s see how he does with some pressure on and after defensive coaches have had a chance to study how to take away his strengths. It just goes to show you how little real analysis goes into this. 

I get a little annoyed when teams play the disrespect card, especially when they have to look too hard to find it. But if the Redskins look at this, they certainly can embrace the underdog role if they want to. What they do with it, we will find out starting September 9. 

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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.