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The Redskins made a big mistake with Kirk Cousins, but it's not what you think

The Redskins made a big mistake with Kirk Cousins, but it's not what you think

Kirk Cousins broke numerous Redskins passing records in three seasons as the starting quarterback. He stabilized the most important position on the field in a way that hadn't happened for more than 20 years. 

And now Cousins will play for another team.

For two straight offseasons, in 2016 and 2017, the Washington front office proved unable to get a long-term contract done with Cousins. This offseason, the team moved forward, acquiring Alex Smith from Kansas City and setting the scene for Cousins to walk in free agency.

For some fans, the biggest Redskins error came in not locking Cousins to the team for a multi-year deal. 

That's the overly simplisitc view. 

Sure, Washington messed up by not getting a deal done in 2016. Reports show Cousins wanted $19 million per season then, which would look like a bargain now. But at the time, Cousins was hardly a proven commodity. He played very well to finish the 2015 season, but that was a four-game stretch after an up-and-down 12 game start. 

MORE REDSKINS: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0 

Cousins has since proved unequivocally he was a top half of the league NFL starter, and maybe Top 10.  But before the 2016 season, plenty of folks around the NFL weren't so sure. 

It was certainly a mistake, and it looks much worse in hindsight, but not egregious at the time.

By the 2017 offseason, Cousins made it clear he wasn't signing long-term in Washington. And that's when the mistakes got egregious. 

Rather than waiting out the entire negotiating period before issuing an odd proclamation that Cousins would not negotiate with the team, which was true, the Redskins should have proactively tried to trade their QB last year. 

Cousins had value on the trade market in 2015. He had more value on the trade market in 2016. 

He ABSOLUTELY had value on the trade market in 2017.

Washington will now likely get a compensatory third-round pick in 2019 when Cousins signs with a new team. Roughly the 97th pick. The Redskins could have done much better than that if they traded Cousins last season, when both sides knew the awkward, forced marriage was likely to dissolve one year later. 

Fans can berate the Redskins about not getting a long-term deal done with Cousins in 2016, but things weren't as certain then as they're made to be now. 

If there's one thing to be mad about, it's the lack of compensation for Cousins' departure. 

Stop debating if Kirk deserves the cash. That's irrelevant now. The machine is in motion, and it won't be stopped. 

In all likelihood, about a week from now Kirk Cousins will sign the richest NFL contract in history. Clearly, the marketplace values his skillset. 

The Redskins didn't. What could have netted the organization a bevy of draft picks will result in much less. That's where the team missed the mark. 

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Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 22, 34 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins stock watch: Three up, three down

For some Redskins players, the outlook looks much brighter now than it did when last season ended. Others have seen their stocks decline. Here is a look at three players in each category.

Stock up

CB Quinton Dunbar—His rise started the day after the season ended when he signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract. It continued when the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland opened up more opportunity at his position. Then the only additions at corner were veteran Orlando Scandrick and seventh-round pick Greg Stroman. Dunbar has a clear path to a starting job, perhaps for the next few years. 

G Shawn Lauvao—At the end of the season, he was coming off of injured reserve. It was the second time in his four seasons in Washington that he finished the season on the sideline. He turned 30 last year and as the prime weeks of free agency passed, he didn’t get much attention. His fortunes started to turn when the team didn’t sign or draft a guard. Then on May 4 when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Washington. Shortly after that Arie Kouandjio, his primary competition at left guard, was lost for the season with a quad injury. While there is no guarantee that the Redskins won’t look at other options at left guard, for right now it’s Lauvao’s job to lose. 

S Montae Nicholson—It was hard to make much out of his rookie 2017 season as he spent half of it on the sideline with injuries. But early in the offseason, Jay Gruden said that Nicholson was as important to the defense as Jordan Reed is to the offense. Given that Reed has made one Pro Bowl on his resume and could get more if he stays healthy and that his presence on the field tends to lift his teammates, that’s high praise. It means that Nicholson is at the top of the depth chart in Sharpie. He still needs to stay healthy, but he is not a player who is at risk of losing his job due to an injury. 

Stock down

RB Rob Kelley—This one of pretty obvious. He finished the year on injured reserve and a couple of the running backs signed as injury replacements, Kapri Bibbs and Byron Marshall, looked pretty good. Then came the draft and Derrius Guice as the second-round pick. Right now, he looks like the No. 4 back and he will have to fight hard to keep a roster spot. 

DL Ziggy Hood—Most expected the Redskins to draft a nose tackle early and that’s what happened when they took Daron Payne in the first round. That didn’t hurt Hood’s stock much. But they followed up by taking Tim Settle later in the draft and that made the depth chart very crowded. Hood is the seventh D-lineman and they usually only keep six. Even if he makes it he could spend a lot of time on the game-day inactive list. 

S Deshazor Everett—Nobody expected the Redskins to draft a safety, but they found the speed and athleticism of Troy Apke too attractive to turn down in the fourth round of the draft. The rookie needs some work on his game, so it appears that Everett, who started eight games last year, will be the first safety off of the bench early in the season. But it’s likely that they will want to get Apke in games as soon as he’s ready and that could leave Everett on the bench. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey was born on this date in 1978. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 34
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 48
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 71

The Redskins last played a game 173 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 79 days. 

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here