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What impact does Tyrod Taylor deal have on Redskins contract talks with Kirk Cousins?

What impact does Tyrod Taylor deal have on Redskins contract talks with Kirk Cousins?

Count the Buffalo Bills as one team able to accomplish something the Redskins could not this summer: Agree to a long-term contract with their quarterback. Friday's news that the Bills signed Tyrod Taylor to a six-year contract worth roughly $90 million will undoubtedly be looked at in the halls of Redskins Park.

The situations surrounding Taylor and Cousins are different. The Redskins QB entered the 2016 offseason without a contract before Washington placed the franchise tag on him, whereas Taylor had one-year left on a deal that would have paid him $1 million for the 2016 season, the lowest salary of any starting passer in the NFL. Taylor and the Bills agreed to a contract extension, not a new deal. But after the contractual differences, the circumstances are fairly similar.

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After spending four seasons as a backup in Baltimore, Taylor took over the starting role for the 2015 season in Buffalo - he missed two games with injury - and led the team to a 7-6 record. The former Hokie completed nearly 64 percent of his passes for more than 3,000 yards to go with 20 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions. He also ran for 568 yards and another four TDs.

Cousins - in his first chance as the undisputed starter - passed for 4,166 yards, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes to go with 29 TDs and 11 INTs. Cousins broke numerous Redskins passing records as he led his team to the NFC East title with a 9-7 record. 

While the playing styles are much different - Cousins relies on quick reads from the pocket, Taylor is mobile and makes plays on the run - the contract is very intriguing. Reports showed that the Redskins only offered $24 million in guarantees in a long-term deal for Cousins, just slightly more than his franchise tag would pay him. The guaranteed money is what matters most in all NFL contracts, and that remains unknown in Taylor's deal at this time. His contract calls for an average of $15 million per year, with incentives that could drive the price higher. 

In Redskins Park, the contract could be seen a few different ways. The structure is what's most important from the team perspective, where the organization wants monetary outs shuld the QB begin to underperform.

Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton signed similar deals in San Francisco and Cincinnati, respectively, where their teams could release the players without accruing a significant salary cap penalty. While that may be what NFL teams want, obviously, players certainly won't.

Truth is the Taylor deal likely means little for Cousins. What will drive Cousins contract talks next offseason - remember the Skins and Cousins cannot negotiate in season on a franchise tag - is his play on the field this year. If the quarterback repeats his performance from the second half of 2015, he will get paid with a contract comparable to the top passers in the league. If Cousins struggles, the door will be open to different types of deals, whether incentive driven or team-friendly with outs.

Throughout the contract process, Cousins has made it clear he is willing to bet on himself. Tyrod's deal does little to change that.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

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) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197