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Not signing Amari Cooper hurts, but how the Redskins lost Amari Cooper might hurt worse

Not signing Amari Cooper hurts, but how the Redskins lost Amari Cooper might hurt worse

If perception really does become reality, the Redskins might have a significant problem. 

Late Monday night news emerged that wide receiver Amari Cooper chose to stay with the Dallas Cowboys instead of taking more money to play for the Washington Redskins

That’s troubling. 

Age old proxy suggests that people go where the money is highest. That’s mostly true for accountants and architects and plumbers and contractors. It’s also mostly true, almost always true, in the NFL. 

Cooper choosing to stay with the Cowboys despite the Redskins making a very strong offer could suggest many different things, but the overarching message will be Dallas > Washington. That's a problem, because while Redskins fans have almost fully embraced Ron Rivera as the leader to bring the organization out of the Bruce Allen era of darkness, maybe the rest of the NFL hasn't. 

Even with Allen gone, Trent Williams is still requesting a trade. Washington whiffed on almost every big name free agent they seemed interested in, notably Cooper but also tight end Austin Hooper

The narrative that top players don't want to land in Burgundy and Gold will persist, but it doesn't mean it's true. 

For months, Cooper talked about wanting to stay with the Cowboys. Sure, most NFL free agents say that about their incumbent team, but it's usually followed with some form of, "But I have to do what's right for my family." Usually the highest bidder wins. With Cooper that wasn't the case, and it seems like he really did just want to stay with Dallas. 

Add in the fact that the Cowboys' offense is much further along than the Redskins'. Dallas has a strong offensive line, one of the best running backs in the NFL in Zeke Elliott and a quarterback in Dak Prescott that got Cooper to his best ever season in 2019. Looking at that, the Cowboys offense ranked first in yards in 2019, compared to a Redskins offense that struggled for most of 2019, and it's easy to see why a receiver might elect to stay in silver and blue. 

Plus the state of Texas collects no state income tax. The Commonwealth of Virginia would likely charge Cooper close to six percent income tax. On a $100 million contract, that's a big difference, and that's before the Virginia personal property tax gets involved. 

From a football perspective, Cooper's decision makes sense. And from a money perspective, Cooper's decision might make sense, depending how much higher the Redskins' offer was than the Cowboys'. 

That's the nuanced information to provide Redskins fans some sense of relief. Still, it's not enough.

Washington swung big on Cooper, and missed. The Redskins asked the prettiest girl in high school to the homecoming dance, and really thought they had a date. At the last second, the girl went with her old boyfriend, and Washington was left holding a very expensive corsage and no date. 

There will be other options at wide receiver, with Emmanuel Sanders and Robby Anderson topping the list, but neither is Cooper. Sanders is much older, while Anderson has significant off-field baggage. 

Cooper was the real deal, a playmaker on a team that needs more of them. And he didn't just not pick the Redskins, he chose to stay with the Cowboys where he will face Washington twice a year. 

For Redskins fans staring into the abyss, realize it's just the second day of the NFL's legal tampering period. Many more deals are there to be made. Beyond Cooper, DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs got traded on Monday. There could be more trades on the horizon. 

There was also the good news of a reunion with Kendall Fuller. A local product out of Good Counsel High School and Virginia Tech, many fans hated to see Fuller traded three years ago. Now he's back and will bring professionalism and verstility to the Redskins secondary. 

More secondary help could be on the way, as well as offensive line depth and tight end help. Hooper is gone, signed by the Browns, but guys like Eric Ebron and Tylr Eifert are still available. 

Losing Cooper hurts, be honest about that. But it also isn't the end of the world. Terry McLaurin can ball. That much is known. The 2020 NFL Draft is deep at wideout, and Washington has other young options that could still develop. 

The perception of losing Cooper, especially with more money on the table, may prove worse than the reality of losing Cooper. 

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Two examples of why ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky believes Dwayne Haskins will excite Redskins fans

Two examples of why ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky believes Dwayne Haskins will excite Redskins fans

Scott Turner was asked about quarterback Dwayne Haskins' growth this offseason during a Zoom call with local media earlier this week, and the new Redskins offensive coordinator explained he was pleased with both Haskins' physical and mental progress.

Besides raving about the second-year quarterbacks imposing size and natural arm strength, Turner also dove into specific detail about one other thing that really stood out to him about Haskins: his ability to stand tall in the pocket and deliver a throw without much space.

Former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky took to Twitter on Friday, tweeting out two video examples from Haskins' rookie season where the quarterback demonstrated the qualities Turner raved about.

The first example was a clip from the Redskins Week 11 contest against the Jets. The play went down in the scorebook as a 24-yard completion to Kelvin Harmon, but what the quarterback had to do in order to make this play successful was quite impressive.

For this play, Orlovsky explained how Haskins identified where the pressure was coming from pre-snap, causing him to shift the entire protection to the left. After the running back missed his block, Haskins didn't panic. The then-rookie QB stepped up in the pocket and fired a dart to Harmon on the in-route as the receiver broke open in the middle of the field.

"This is one of my favorite plays by him last year," Orlovsky explained. "It really is an example of the intellectual aspect of quarterback play with the feel aspect of quarterback play."

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The second clip was from Washington's clash in Green Bay last season. On this particular snap, Haskins showed his mastery of the Packers' defense.

Haskins' initial read was to the right side, where Harmon was running an inside post route. But once the quarterback saw his first read was covered, he continued to look right, forcing Packers' safety Darnell Savage to slide in that direction. The passer then immediately turned to his backside, which created an open throwing lane to find Terry McLaurin in the middle of the field.

"It really shows a complete understanding of what the defense is, what the coverage is, and then a complete understanding of who on the defense he needs to move with his eyes to open up a window," Orlovsky said.

It's fair to mention that the Redskins would not win either of these games and that the rookie passer had his struggles in each of these contests. It's no secret that Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie, and there were examples of such in each of these matchups, too.

But Haskins did finish the season playing the best football of his young career, giving some hope for the future. Count Orlovsky in on those who are optimistic about the quarterback as he enters his second season with the team and his first as the team's true starter.

"There are so many examples on his tape that show how smart he actually is," Orlovsky said. 

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Kirk Cousins ranked ninth on Forbes' top 100 highest-paid athletes in 2020

Kirk Cousins ranked ninth on Forbes' top 100 highest-paid athletes in 2020

Former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is among the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2020, according to Forbes.

Cousins, who came in as the ninth highest-paid athlete overall, is the top-ranked NFL athlete on the list, coming in one spot above Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Forbes estimated the Vikings QB's earnings at $60.5 million, with $58 million coming from his salary and $2.5 million from his endorsements.

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In March, Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million extension with the Vikings, one that included a $30 million signing bonus. The signal-caller originally signed with the Vikings in 2018 on a three-year, fully-guaranteed $84 million deal that at the time made him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The Vikings signal-caller has earned over $130 million in his career thus far, according to OverTheCap.

Cousins spent the first six seasons of his career with the Redskins, with three of those years as the team's starter. The quarterback set the franchise's single-season passing yards record in 2016 when he threw for 4,917 yards for Washington. His 29 touchdown passes in 2017 were the second-most by any Redskins quarterback in a single-season.

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