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Report: Kirk Cousins "nowhere close" in contract talks with Redskins


Report: Kirk Cousins "nowhere close" in contract talks with Redskins

One huge issue hangs over the Washington Redskins offseason - what will happen with free agent QB Kirk Cousins. And, at least according to one report, the two sides are nowhere close to a deal. GM Scot McCloughan last talked to reporters at the Senior Bowl, and his message on Cousins was that he hoped the quarterback would stay in Washington but a new deal was not a certainty.

CBS' Jason La Canfora reported that "Cousins and the Washington Redskins were nowhere close to a new deal coming out of the Senior Bowl, sources said, and Washington very well might have to apply the franchise tag in order to retain primary negotiating rights on the quarterback."

On the surface, none of this is new. McCloughan has been crystal clear that the franchise tag is an option for Cousins, and some could argue that it's the correct course. While Cousins put up strong stats in 2015, he was up and down for much of the season before closing the year on a very impressive streak. It's not unheard of for a QB to roll off one great year and to fall back the following season; perhaps McCloughan wants to see Cousins produce for another year before opening up the bank vaults.


The flip side, however, is that if the Redskins do apply the franchise tag to Cousins, and the QB performs well again in 2016, the cost to keep Kirk will jump. Look at what happened to Baltimore with Joe Flacco when he was allowed to play out his contract as an example. Flacco delivered, mightily, and the subsequent $100 million plus deal has been an albatross to the Ravens ever since. The comparison isn't exact, but the point remains that trouble can arise letting Cousins play 2016 on a franchise tag.

Then there is the elephant in the Redskins room: Robert Griffin III. If the report is true and McCloughan and Cousins' representatives are truly nowhere close on a deal, might that have any impact on the 'Skins reluctance to release RG3? Sure, McCloughan has until March 9 to release Griffin, and the GM may just be taking his time. But if the negotiations between Washington and Cousins are truly breaking down, maybe Griffin is more in play for 2016 than most expect.

It seems a stretch. A big one. Smart money would still suggest that the Redskins work out a deal with Cousins, and this is all just negotiating tactics, but something to keep an eye on for the next few weeks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on and

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page

and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS