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Redskins GM McCloughan promised to take care of Kirk Cousins

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Redskins GM McCloughan promised to take care of Kirk Cousins

Playing in the last year of his rookie contract in 2015, Kirk Cousins ranked as one of the worst-paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL. That changed, significantly, this offseason when Cousins signed his franchise tender, a contract that guaranteed he would be paid nearly $20 million for the 2016 season.

"His wife must have hugged me for 10 minutes because he just went from making $600,000 to $19.9 million," Redskins GM Scot McCloughan told Bleacher Report of the moments surrounding Cousins signing his one-year deal. 

In a wide-ranging interview with BR, McCloughan talked about his philosophy of developing players, and when the time comes, doling out big contracts to players that have earned them. One such player could be Cousins, and McCloughan explained he's already had that talk with his QB.

MORE REDSKINS: McCLOUGHAN KNOWS WHO HE WANTS AT 21

"I told him, 'You take care of me and this organization, we’re going to take care of you. I promise,'" McCloughan said to Cousins. "'And we’re going to build this roster to where you can be average and still be good. I promise you.'"

The comments come at an interesting time in the negotiations on a long-term deal for Cousins. The Redskins have until mid-July to work a multi-year contract with Cousins before the franchise deal locks in for 2016, though what McCloughan's "promise" might mean could be interpreted a few different ways. Perhaps the GM needs to see the QB deliver another strong season for the 'Skins, and then he will get paid. The other side could argue that McCloughan needs Cousins to be reasonable in his demands for a long-term contract and both sides can reach an agreement.

Without parsing McCloughan's words too much, the "average" line also stands out. Likely, McCloughan is telling his quarterback that the team around him will continue to improve, so much that all the pressure will not fall to the quarterback. Washington's GM even said that his decision to franchise Cousins was panned elsewhere.

"We did the franchise tag, and I know everybody made fun of me, and that’s fine. But you know what? The guy won the division. They won nine games. They won four games the year before and turned around and won nine."

The reality of the NFL - despite the Broncos recent Super Bowl win with a very limited Peyton Manning at QB - is that to really compete at the highest level a team must have a strong passer.

"Let me overpay him if he’s good. If you have a productive guy, it helps everything, and it proves out," McCloughan said of the need for a great QB. "You look around this league and see the teams that are in the playoffs every year and look who the quarterbacks are. Look at the ones who win. It proves out."

Good quarterbacks do indeed tend to "prove out." Division titles, playoff wins, those types of things rarely occur with poor quarterback play. For a season, Cousins looked like that guy for Washington. If he can do it again, there will be lots of money for Cousins. McCloughan promised. 

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 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.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198