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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

Mike Shanahan'sdeclaration on Sunday that rookie Robert Griffin III was indeed the Redskins starting quarterback surprised nobody. The timing of said announcement, thats another story.After a single three-day rookie camp and before veterans report, the coach made it clear who would be the passer taking snaps with the first team. Not the veteran Rex Grossman, but the electric Heisman Trophy winner the team paid a hefty price to acquire.Any time you pick a player with the second pick of the draft and you give up two No. 1s and a No. 2 to move up four spots youve got a game plan in mind, Shanahan said.Whetheranyone previouslybelieved RG3 would start from day one of camp, the regular season opener against the Saints ortake over afew games into the campaign, there was no doubt who was truly atop the depth chart. With everyone in on the secret, there did not appear a reason to formally anoint Griffin the starter.That's why Shanahan's decision to make it official so soon in the off-season process was a bit of a head scratcher, at least to one former NFL quarterback.I wish they would have waited a little bit longer," Kurt Warner said Monday on the NFL Network. "We all understand the pressure that this young man is feeling already with all they gave up to get him, the excitement that he brings to Washington, D.C. But I would have loved for them to hold off on putting more pressure on him. The starter pressure, having to answer those questions, having to go into the second camp, third camp knowing that hes in that position and whats all on his shoulders."The Super Bowl-winning passer starred for the Rams and Cardinals. Warner was also the veteran in camp when the Giantsbrokein the 2004 number one overall pick, Eli Mannning. Warner started early that season before giving way to the rookie. In the Redskins case, add him to the list of those who simply assumed RG3 would get the Week 1 call."But we have to be honest: I dont think anybody expected Rex Grossman to be the starter opening day. We knew Griffin was going to be that guy; they assembled a team around him that they feel can win right now, and so why hesitate? Why hold off for any amount of time? Lets throw him in there, lets let his teammates know that hes going to be the guy and lets rally around him.Warner added that Shanahan's announcement could be curious if RG3 struggles early. However, by backing the new guy now,the coach hasalso made it clear to the team who is the starter should those struggles exist.This leaves little wiggle room at this point," Warner said. "You have franchised everything to get this guy, you have made the moves in the off-season, you have a tough schedule. Everyone believes that even if hes not the best snap-in, snap-out on day one that he gives them the best opportunity to win because of the way that he plays the game. "Thats why coach Mike Shanahan made this decision: He knew regardless of how it played out that he wanted this guy in there Day 1 building, learning, growing together with his teammates in the hopes that even if it isnt Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3, by the time they get to midseason they can be competitive with everybody else in the league.No mention of the Kirk Cousins brouhaha by Warner, which by my ears was the catalyst for the May 6 depth chart reveal. Not that it mattered. Whether it was May 6, July 6 or Sept. 6, we all knewRG3 the starter was going to happen anyway.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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