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Need to Know: Can the Redskins tag and trade Cousins?

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Need to Know: Can the Redskins tag and trade Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 26, 47 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 34
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 39
—NFL Draft (4/26) 90
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 226

Answer fan questions--Can the Redskins tag and trade Cousins

A couple of days ago I answered questions from some fans on Facebook. Today it’s Twitter’s turn.

The Redskins do have Ziggy Hood, who started 15 games at nose tackle last year, under contract for 2018. But he is more suited to playing a rotational end role, so your question is a good one. A.J. Francis, who has been on and off the roster for the past few years, has stated that it is his goal to earn the starting nose tackle job. Maybe he can do it but the Redskins shouldn’t rely on him exclusively.

Bennie Logan, who was a target of the Redskins last year before he signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs, will be on the market and presumably, he will draw the interest of Washington. As far as the draft, Vita Vea of Washington could be an interesting prospect in the first round. The Redskins will have to make sure that he can contribute in nickel before investing a high draft pick in him.

If the Redskins want to try to tag and trade Cousins, the transition tag would be a much better vehicle to use. The practical effect would be the same and the Redskins would not have as much cap space tied up during the process.

There doesn’t really need to be any winking and nodding involved; the Redskins can give Cousins’ agent permission to talk to any or all teams at any time. Here is my understanding of how it could work out after the Redskins put the tag on him. 1) Cousins works out a deal with, say, Denver. No offer sheet is signed. 2) Cousins goes back to the Redskins, signs the tag, and the teams execute a trade that was agreed to beforehand. 3) Cousins signs the new deal with the Broncos.

There are a lot of moving parts to such a deal but there would be benefits for all three parties. Cousins appears to want out and this would assure him that the Redskins won’t match an offer sheet. The Broncos will be able to get their man without needing to use a heavily frontloaded contract, which they really can’t afford. And the Redskins would be able to get compensation for Cousins. A lot can go wrong here so there is no guarantee they could pull this off, but it is the best-case scenario of Cousins’ departure is inevitable.

I would say it’s at left guard. The word is that the Redskins don’t want to bring back Spencer Long to play there and Shawn Lauvao is almost certainly not going to be back. Arie Kouandjio started six games at left guard last year and while he is improving I think the Redskins want an upgrade there.

Quality guards are expensive on the free agent market and the Redskins will have to give Brandon Scherff a deal in excess of $10 million per year. They are better off taking a guard in the third or fourth round and putting him in with the first team from the first OTA on. I haven’t had a chance to dive into the draft pool on the O-line yet but Taylor Hearn, 6-5, 325 out of Clemson, looks like a solid prospect who will be available in the middle rounds. I’ll have more on this as we go through the combine and the group starts to take shape.

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.

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This exchange was in response to a series of positive reports about Baker Mayfield that have come out of the Senior Bowl.

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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

FEDEX FIELD -- There's an age-old saying, 'there's no place like home.'

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder called FedEx Field home for four seasons but departed this past offseason for New York on a lucrative three-year, $28.5 million deal. At the time, letting Crowder walk did not seem like a big deal for Washington. His final season with the Burgundy and Gold was injury-shortened and unproductive, and the price tag seemed a little steep for a slot receiver.

On Sunday, Crowder returned to Washington for the first time as a visitor, and he certainly felt right back at home. The 26-year-old receiver finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 34-17 victory over Washington, a game that was not really close at all.

"It means a lot. Great team win," Crowder said on the victory. "Just to come back here to FedEx [Field] against the Redskins, for me, it's a great feeling. I'm just glad to be winning."

In his first year sporting green and white instead of burgundy and gold, the slot receiver has been a valuable asset for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Through 10 games, Crowder has recorded 53 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns with a 73.8 percent catch rate. He's on pace for 85 catches and just under 900 yards on the season, both of which would be career highs. 

"Crowder did a great job of making catches when [he] needed to," Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said. 

Meanwhile, his former team has struggled mightily on offense, especially over the last month of the season. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' 45-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Guice snapped a 16 quarter touchdown-less streak Washington had been on. That's four full games without a touchdown. The streak was the longest of such in nearly two decades.

Crowder, who played in a relatively high-scoring offense during his time in Washington, was asked whether he was surprised about the team's struggles. 

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much," Crowder said. "I think they have a really good ball team over there across the board. Especially on defense, they have a lot of guys that are really good. Offensively, they got a lot of guys that make plays, young guys that make plays. I haven't really thought about what's going on with them."

With Crowder's departure, the Redskins expected second-year receiver Trey Quinn to fill the void. Quinn has been unproductive and disappointing. He finished Sunday's contest with just two catches for nine yards, an unacceptable performance from someone who Washington counted on to make a leap in 2019. In 10 games, Quinn has a total of 198 receiving yards, with no more than 36 yards in any contest. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin's emergence as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise lost season for Washington, but even his production doesn't match Crowder's. 

Crowder was certainly happy to defeat his old team but downplayed having any extra juice entering the matchup.

"There wasn't any extra motivation. I just approached it as another game," Crowder said. "It was just a little different going against the guys that I played four years with. I'm familiar with a lot of guys over there. For me, that's the only thing. For my preparation, I just approached it as another game."

Crowder may have seen Sunday as just another game, but the Redskins should look at his performance and see a player they maybe should have kept.

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In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

Getting blown out by the New York Jets, one would think that any touchdown the Redskins would potentially score when trailing 34-3 would mean nothing. In most cases, that would be correct.

But when Dwayne Haskins connected with Derrius Guice for a 45-yard score, it was actually a very notable touchdown.

The touchdown is important for multiple reasons. One being that it is Haskins' first NFL touchdown. Making his first home start, the quarterback didn't have the performance many would have hoped for. But, he does now have one touchdown.

While it was the first for Haskins, it was also the first for Guice. The second-year running back who has missed a lot of time with injuries returned for the Week 11 battle and show the playmaking ability that has many excited to see him on the field.

Last, but definitely not least, the score put an end to the horrid touchdown-drought the Redskins had been in. Before Guice crossed the goal line, Washington hadn't scored in 16 quarters. Yes, that is the equivalent to four games.

But alas, the Redskins have a touchdown and so do Haskins and Guice. Sunday was a disappointing day, but at least there was this moment.

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