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Way too early to discuss a Cousins contract for 2016

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Way too early to discuss a Cousins contract for 2016

We need to slow the roll on Kirk Cousins’ contract for 2016 and beyond.

Former Redskins cornerback (and sometimes Comcast SportsNet analyst) Shawn Springs suggested that the team needs to sign him to an extension during the bye week in early November. Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly said on NFL Network this week that the Redskins will need to consider slapping the franchise tag on Cousins next spring.

“You play well, the Redskins have to franchise you at close to $20 million for next year,” said Casserly via Scott Allen of the DC Sports Bog. “They can’t let him become a free agent if he plays well. There’s eight to nine teams that would be knocking on the door. Mr. Cousins right now is playing for $16-$20 million a year, and he’s ahead in that race because he’s had two good games and the Redskins have no other options.”

The franchise tag will pay about $18.5 million for a quarterback for one year. Even given the fact that even mediocre quarterbacks make a ton of money in the NFL, that is a lot to pay for a quarterback who is still upside down in his career touchdown (20) to interception (21) ratio and who has started and finished two games that the Redskins have won in his four years in the league.

He could well prove to be worth a nice contract even if the Redskins continue their very early season pattern of winning one and losing one. If he chugs along with a passer rating in the 90’s and can get a fairly positive TD to INT ratio, I’d look to fellow 2012 draft pick Nick Foles for a model for a deal with him. After trading for him the Rams signed him to a two-year extension worth $24.5 million with $13.7 million in guarantees. The value of the contract is inflated somewhat by a 2017 salary of $10.75 million that is not guaranteed. It really boils down to two years and about $13 million. It’s a prove-it deal and the idea is that he can cash in with one of those nine-figure deals if he is a consistent performer over the next two years.

Something similar might work for Cousins if he plays well enough for the Redskins to want him to be their starter. While there are plenty of teams in need of quarterbacks, not many of them are going to be waving $15-$20 million per year deals at him. And quarterbacks tend to like to stay where they are, in the system and environment that brought them success.

This doesn’t mean that the Redskins will be able to keep Cousins with a lowball offer. But unless he has some unexpected success and leads the team on a playoff run they should be able to keep him for less than the $18.5 million franchise tag and probably for less than $10 million per year. 

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it