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Are the Redskins firing the first shot in 2017 Cousins negotiations?

Are the Redskins firing the first shot in 2017 Cousins negotiations?

One of the reasons that many advocated for the Redskins to get a long-term deal done with Kirk Cousins before last Friday’s deadline is that they will have to pay up eventually.

With supply and demand pushing quarterback contracts higher and higher, almost regardless of performance, the Redskins surely would have saved money by getting something done right now.

But another way to save money, a lot of money, is to draft another quarterback and have a starter who is playing on his rookie contract.

That could be Scot McCloughan’s plan, or at least his Plan B, according to Mike Florio, who penned the following during his fill-in stint writing the Monday Morning Quarterback column:

The team believes that, by 2017 or 2018, it will have found a quarterback on a slotted, low-money rookie four-year deal who can do what Cousins does, or close to it. That could be 2016 rookie sixth-rounder Nate Sudfeld, or it could be someone else. Regardless, Washington believes that someone younger, cheaper, and just as good if not better can be found, if Cousins still insists after 2016 or 2017 on breaking the bank.

RELATED: NO DEAL PUTS MORE PRESSURE ON COUSINS, FACT OR FICTION?

This jibes with the thinking of many critics of Cousins out there who believe that he is no more than a system quarterback, that many players could do what he did executing the short passes that are the staple of Jay Gruden’s offense.

After all when Gruden was the offensive coordinator of the Bengals they made the playoffs three straight years with second-round pick Andy Dalton under center. Dalton was able to parlay those accomplishments into a nice, but very team-friendly contract.

So why should McCloughan pay in excess of $20 million per year because of quarterback supply and demand if he believes that the supply of quarterbacks who can be successful in his coach’s system is greater than the demand for them?

Well, for one thing it creates a series of short-term solutions at a position that historically favors players who last over the long haul. Let’s say Sudfeld is the guy they are going to use to replace Cousins and the target is to have him ready in 2018.

By then Sudfeld will be two years into his rookie contract and he will have two years left. If he is successful the Redskins will have to either have to pay up or start the cycle again and find another quarterback. Maybe they can pull it off but it would fly in the face of recent NFL history.

And the Redskins have a lot of work to do to before they can win with a pedestrian quarterback. Those Bengals teams that won with Dalton never had a defense that ranked outside of the top 12 in points against and had a strong running game. As of now, the Redskins have neither.

This seems like a leak from the Redskins organization to send a message that the Redskins to believe they have alternatives to Cousins, that they don’t have to be held hostage to whatever he might demand in a contract next year or, if he is tagged again in 2017, in 2018.

If you don’t want to get taken to the cleaners in a negotiation you need to have alternatives. This is letting Cousins’ camp know that they are willing to go in another direction if they have to.

Now, saying you’re willing to put someone else behind center and actually having someone who is capable of handling the position are two different things. They may reach a true drop-dead deadline with Cousins and not have a superior or even an acceptable alternative to him and end up having to hand Cousins a blank check.

But that is a hypothetical that is a year or two down the road. For right now it’s a good strategy to have an alternative solution in mind if the quarterback does ask too much. And to let the other side in the coming negotiation know that you’re not afraid to use it.

RELATED: REDSKINS LOWBALLED COUSINS, BUT DID HE ASK FOR TOO MUCH?

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.

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