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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

It's easy to knock the Redskins - particularly for the way the team has handled the Kirk Cousins contract situation - but if you look at the core of the team, many of the best players have long-term contracts in place.

The organization has clearly established a system where they identify their best talent and work to get multiyear deals before those players hit free agency. Look at the team's best homegrown players while tabling the Cousins conversation for a moment: Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Jordan Reed all have signed contract extensions before their value would've skyrocketed in free agency.

Considering that, what player might join those ranks soon? A few candidates are emerging:

  • Chris Thompson - Playing on a one-year, $2.7 million deal after his restricted free agency in 2017, it would not be a shock if the team tries to get a deal done with Thompson before the end of the season. Thompson has a ton of value and the trust of coach Jay Gruden. This will be tricky, though, as the free agent market for running backs is not what it used to be. 
  • Bashaud Breeland - Coming off a disappointing 2016 season, Breeland knows he needs to play better to attract the big-money contracts next season in free agency. With a heavy investment in the draft, including back-to-back third-round corners in Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau, it seems unlikely the team will get a deal done with Breeland this season. Don't count it out, however, as Breeland was part of Bruce Allen's 2014 class that has produced well for the Redskins. 
  • Spencer Long - The Redskins staff really likes the continuity being developed along the offensive line. Long is a big part of that at center. The team also drafted Chase Roullier this year, and he could eventually push Long at the center spot. This one will be worth keeping an eye on in Richmond with Long a free agent after the season. Long's development at center has been a positive trend for the Redskins, and for the right price, keeping him in 2018 and beyond seems like something the organization would like to do. 
  • Trent Murphy - This is a tricky one. Murphy had by far his best season in 2016, getting nine sacks and showing he can be a disruptive pass rusher. Then, he was hit with a four-game suspension for PEDs. The Redskins have also invested at outside linebacker in the years since taking Murphy: Preston Smith and rookie Ryan Anderson play the same position. If Murphy can show the same burst once he returns from suspension, the Redskins might be forced to make a decision. No team can have enough pass rushers.

This is just a snapshot of players with expiring contracts. Plenty of others on the roster will be free agents after this season, though the above list is all guys drafted by the organization. Asked about any contract extensions in the works, Redskins SVP of Football Operations and contract guru Eric Schaffer declined much comment. 

No comment doesn't mean that new deals aren't in the works. Don't be surprised if a name from the above list becomes the next homegrown Redskins player with a new deal before free agency hits. 

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

Through six weeks of the NFL season, it's clear who the Super Bowl favorites are.

In the AFC, it's, um, well, OK, let's do the NFC first. In the NFC, you have to watch out for — actually, nevermind, this isn't that easy.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Chiefs and Eagles are the only two teams standing at 5-1, but there are quite a few 4-2 squads right behind them, as well as talented 3-win teams who can take any opponent down if they bring their best stuff. That means that as the halfway point approaches, both conferences are still open races.

And those races got a lot more interesting after a fun Week 6. The power rankings look a lot different than they did before the weekend because of Week 6's results, too.

So, click the link above or below to see who's moving up and who's sliding back. Or, in the case of the Browns, who's sliding but staying in the same spot simply because they can't be dropped any further.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

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Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-49ers game

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Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-49ers game

Did you guys know C.J. Beathard is related to former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard?

Of course you do, because that storyline, as well as others like the Vernon Davis fumble(?) and Pierre Garçon penalty have been talked about plenty following the Redskins' 26-24 W over the 49ers on Sunday.

But there are other angles that have been under analyzed from the Week 6 matchup. So as fun as it is to celebrate Chris Thompson's brilliance, put that on hold for a minute and think about these five discussion points.

1) A big recovery by a big man 

One of the most underappreciated plays in football is a fumble recovery by an offensive player. Most of the time, players and fans are just mad that the offense fumbled and ignore the fact that the outcome could've been a whole lot worse.

Do you remember Trent Williams falling on a Chris Thompson fumble early on the Redskins' first drive? Maybe some of you do, but plenty of others probably don't. But because Williams was aware and smothered the ball before a Niner defender could, the Redskins were able to continue their possession and eventually finish it with a touchdown.

MORE: WHERE JONATHAN ALLEN WILL BE MISSED MOST

2) Kirk's questionable decision

Kirk Cousins provided what proved to be the game's deciding points with his fourth quarter read option touchdown. But it was an earlier run that could've been much more important, and not for the right reason.

On Washington's previous possession — which concluded with a 21-yard field goal — Cousins scrambled for an 18-yard gain, but instead of sliding at the end, he decided to take on San Fran safety Jimmie Ward. The two collided and thumped each other pretty hard, and while the QB may have earned some respect, he also said postgame that Williams immediately reminded him that he should've slid instead.

Was it entertaining to watch a signal caller try and run over a safety? Sure. But was it smart? Not at all. The Packers saw their star quarterback come out on the wrong end of a punishing hit Sunday, and the Redskins just as easily could be feeling their pain.

3) Samaje's second effort

Samaje Perine has a long way to go before he becomes the player many hoped he'd be when the Redskins snagged him in April's draft. But it was him traveling a short distance in the fourth quarter against the 49ers that was a crucial yet overlooked play.

Six snaps before Cousins' rushing TD, the rookie barely converted on a third-and-2 by pushing the pile and refusing to be brought down short of the sticks. Again, his first year as a pro hasn't been excellent, but that was one he deserves credit for.

4) A way too powerful punt

The Redskins' execution after recovering that late onsides kick wasn't just bad on offense. Tress Way's touchback was unsightly, too.

Even after Washington took a delay of game penatly to give their punter more room, Way booted his kick well into the end zone instead of forcing the Niners' returner to fair catch or giving his gunners a chance to down it. Next time, Way needs to use a little less club and force the opposing offense to start farther back than their own 20.

RELATED: WHY CAN'T THE REDSKINS HOLD ON TO LEADS?

5) Dunbar delivers

Perhaps because of all the injuries in the secondary, as well as an abundance of other things to chat about, a really strong performance from Quinton Dunbar isn't getting the necessary recognition. 

The visitors threw at Josh Norman's replacement often — 14 instances, to be specific — but he more than held his own, ending the contest as PFF's highest-graded 'Skin. Jay Gruden said earlier in the week Dunbar thinks he can cover "anybody, anywhere, anytime," and for the most part on Sunday, No. 47 did just that.