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Sorting out the Coles situation

Sorting out the Coles situation

Instead of getting clearer, the situation involving the Redskins and receiver Laveranues Coles continues to grow more confusing. Even an NFL suit couldn't provide any clarity to the murky situation. From a Washington Times article by Jody Foldesy:
NFL vice president of public relations Greg Aiello couldn't say whether Coles would be permitted to waive the final installment of his $13 million signing bonus, an unusual move that would facilitate his departure from Washington.

'I have no answer to that question,' Aiello said in a telephone interview. 'That totally depends on what is being proposed.' There are two proposals out there. One is for Coles to waive the $5 million bonus installment and get his outright release. This is the one that Coles' camp favors. The other scenario, the one that the Redskins want to execute, is for Coles to forego the five mill and allow the team to trade him.

For Coles to agree to the latter scenario, he's almost have to agree to a new contract with his new team. That's the only way he could recoup the forfieted $5 million. In the open market, of course, he would be able to get that back and then some.

While the situation is murky, one thing is clear: Coles must agree to waive the $5 million bonus payment by the start of free agency on March 2 in order to have the cap relief count towards the 2005 season. March 2 is the drop-dead date for something to happen; that part is set in stone.

Well, sort of. An alternate plan, one that could buy some time, was discussed in Foldesy's article.
The Redskins and Coles, according to sources familiar with the talks, were discussing alternate scenarios to make the trade palatable. One option was to have Coles convert the $5 million into a roster bonus, which would have the same cap effect without a possible roadblock from the NFL Management Council.The thinking is that the Redskins could make the roster bonus due on, say, March 17, allowing the team more time to work out a trade. This would be an extremely high-risk gamble by the Redskins, however. If they can't move Coles they would be forced to cut him on the eve of the deadline or absorb an $8 million + cap hit for his 2005 services.

It's not clear why Coles would agree to such a scenario either. The big bucks are spent in the opening days of the free agent signing period. If he were to be set free two weeks into it, his choices, and the money that teams have to spend on him, would be limited.

Of course it baffles the mind of most logical folks why anyone would be so unhappy playing for a Hall of Fame coach who is known as a player's coach that the player would be willing to risk over $8 million dollars in salary and bonus in one year in order to get out. It makes even less sense when the coach had many very successful wide receivers play for him and the player has a bad toe on which he refuses to get surgery.

It appears now that Coles will not get his main wish, a complete release. It seems now that the Redskins were prepared to do that over the weekend but changed their minds, perhaps when Gibbs returned from Daytona. If that offer is off the table, Coles will have just two options, accept the trade scenario and hope to be able to redo his contract in the process or remain a Redskin.

Coles' value in a trade is hard to pin down. A lot would depend on whether or not the team that trades for him would have to give him a new contract with a new signing bonus. Should a team have to shell out a SB of, say, $8 million it would be inclined to give the Redskins less in compensation than it would if it got Coles for his current contract which has a 2005 salary of about $3 million and no cap consequenses should they decide to cut Coles at any time.

Bear in mind that it would not be disastrous for the team if Coles were to remain with the Redskins, be he happy or not. He was not happy for most of last year and still caught 90 passes. Ty Law vowed that he would never play for the Patriots again, a pledge that Coles has not taken in regards to the Redskins, when New England refused to redo his contract last year. Not all professional athletes--or people in any job--are happy with their current situations, but they go out and make the best of it. And if the employers are aware of the discontent, they will sometimes take measures to minimize that unhappiness. Surely Gibbs and company would make every effort to do so.

For the past 48 hours or so the thinking here is that Coles is a goner, a dead Skin walking. That view is evolving more towards the Coles is staying scenario. There is still a chance that he'll be gone before the end of next season but I'd say it's about 60/40 that he stays. Included in that 40% chance of departure is about a 2% chance he will get his outright release with the rest if it being some sort of trade.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?


Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 


Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.


So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

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.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.