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Contract projection puts Redskins' Cousins near the top in pay

Contract projection puts Redskins' Cousins near the top in pay

After Kirk Cousins’ big game against the Packers on national television, the quarterback’s contract status for 2017 has become a topic of national conversation. One thing that everyone agrees on is that the five-year veteran in his second full season as a starter is going to get paid.

And he should. Since becoming a starter, even counting his “slow” start prior to the “You like that!” comeback win over the Bucs, Redskins are 15-10-1. The team’s defense and running game have not been outstanding. Cousins has completed 68 percent of his passes for an average of 7.8 per attempt with 46 touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating of 100.4. His full resume at this point is not that of an elite quarterback at this point but those are elite numbers.

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Some think that it is not a slam dunk that Cousins will be back with the Redskins next year, that some in the organization believe that Cousins’ numbers are the result of Jay Gruden’s offensive system and a talented group of receivers. The theory is that they can get comparable production from another quarterback for a lot less money.

I think it’s hard to imagine that the Redskins will let Cousins walk in 2017 especially when they have the option to use the franchise tag on him again for $24 million. I’m not going to rule it out but I think it’s unlikely. But let’s leave the tag aside for the moment and go on the premise that he will sign a long-term deal with the Redskins at some point next year.

We are starting to get some thoughts on what “getting paid” will look like if Cousins signs a new deal. Spotrac, a website that tracks and projects player deals in most major sports, tweeted out this chart outlining their projection of Cousins’ next contract:

(click on the tweet to expand graphic on Twitter.com)

The top-line numbers on the deal are $115 million over five years, an average of $23 million per year. Total guarantees are $62.5 million with a $23 million signing bonus and a total of $40 million fully guaranteed at signing. The prosed deal would have Cousins under contract through the 2021 season, when Cousins will be 33 years old.

The proposed deal doesn’t have any easy exit points. It looks like they could let him go after the 2019 season with a dead cap hit of $17 million or after 2020 for “only” $12 million in dead cap.

The cap hits of $31.25 million in the last two years of the deal look alarming but they’re not. It would be about 15 percent of a 2020 salary cap that early projections have at around $205 million. An equivalent cap hit under today’s $155 million spending limit is around $23 million. It’s a bit of a squeeze but not unmanageable.

Besides, I don’t see the Redskins squeezing a $115 million deal into a cap hit of just $7 million in 2017. They are going to have at least $60 million in cap space available next year. The smarter cap move might be to frontload the contract and make the 2017 cap hit something closer to $20 million by giving Cousins a higher guaranteed salary in the early years instead of the some of the signing bonus, roster bonus, and option bonus.

MORE REDSKINS: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

Except for those few details, numbers like these are going to be on the table starting shortly after the Redskins season ends, whenever that may be. The $23 million per year is about where his market value will be barring a severe slump or a deep playoff run. Yes, it’s higher than the average annual values of all but two quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. But as the cap goes up and paydays for quarterbacks like Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota come up, and Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning negottiate extensions, Cousins’ deal will not compare as favorably.

We will see if the Redskins are willing to pay up or if they will again go down the rabbit hole chasing after a competent quarterback.

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Running back is one position where things could look very different for the 2020 Redskins

Running back is one position where things could look very different for the 2020 Redskins

Not much has gone to plan for the 2019 Redskins. Congratulations, you won't read a more obvious thing all day.

Running back is one such spot on the team where the preseason expectations haven't been met. A surprise benching in Week 1, injuries and inconsistent production have plagued what was supposed to be one of the most stacked positions on the roster.

Because of those issues, there may be a lot of RB turnover this offseason, leading to what could be a different-looking depth chart in 2020.

The main reason for that possible shuffling is Derrius Guice's unfortunate health problems. Guice has actually been placed on injured reserve twice since Week 1, with the second trip to I.R. ending his year. If you count exhibition contests, he's suited up for the Burgundy and Gold seven times as a pro and has had to leave three of those contests with knee injuries.

There was so much hope that Guice would be able to prove himself this time around and convince the Redskins he could be their go-to option for the future, and when he dominated the Panthers for 129 yards and two scores, his long-discussed talent and potential popped.

But with a torn ACL, a torn meniscus and a sprained MCL already in the NFL, the franchise can't move forward with him as their surefire No. 1 back. This was the season where he could've seized the job, yet instead, indications are he'll need to be grouped together with other pieces.

Elsewhere in the backfield, Chris Thompson very well could be playing in his last three games for Washington. The 29-year-old is incredibly helpful in a lot of ways, but he, too, has difficulty staying on the field. After seven campaigns with the organization, it might be time for both sides to move on.

Then there's Bryce Love, the team's fourth-rounder who's essentially been redshirted as a rookie. The Stanford product has to show that he can recover from his own knee struggles — he had another surgery on it in late October — but he's got a lot of speed and should be more than ready to be a factor in 2020.

Oddly enough, Adrian Peterson has yet again been the steadiest running back for the Redskins. After Jay Gruden's decision to sit him for the opener, the 34-year-old has rebounded and shown he still can be a valuable asset. He's under contract and seems like a logical choice to keep in town for one more season. 

So, when added all together, the team has quite a few questions at running back. They've got to decide whom to trust out of a crop that includes someone who's super-skilled but often dinged up, a mainstay who could be on his way out, a totally unproven draft selection and an aging but still useful veteran, while also considering possibly acquiring other bodies.

Coming into 2019, RB looked like an area of strength for the Redskins. Now, nearing the end of 2019, it appears to be an area of mystery.

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DeAngelo Hall wants to rejoin the Redskins, but this time, in the front office

DeAngelo Hall wants to rejoin the Redskins, but this time, in the front office

Plenty of signs point to the Redskins making significant changes in the front office and coaching staff this offseason and former Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall wants to help rebuild the organization. 

"I've always wanted to be a part of this front office and help make the Redskins a dominant team again," Hall said via text message to NBC Sports Washington. 

Hall's comments come amid speculation that Redskins' team president Bruce Allen could be on his way out. Allen has run the Redskins for a decade, and in that time the team has no playoff wins and a record of nearly 30 games under .500. 

Since his playing career ended in 2017, Hall has kept plenty busy working with NFL Network (and for one season at NBC Sports Washington). He was also connected to potential coaching jobs with the Redskins and at the University of Maryland. As a player, Hall lined up at cornerback and safety for the Redskins during 10 seasons in the Burgundy and Gold. He made 23 career interceptions in Washington and made the Pro Bowl in 2010. Injuries marred his last four seasons as a Redskins, but from 2009 to 2013 Hall was a serious playmaker.

As an analyst Hall seems highly capable of breaking down defenses as well as grading personnel. And while he doesn't have personnel experience, multiple young players in the Redskins organization credited Hall for helping their careers develop, including Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar. Hall made such an impact on Dunbar that he changed his number to 23 after Hall retired. 

Hall made clear he's not trying to replace Allen and that he could work with the current team president should he stay in position. Hall also doesn't expect to be named general manager; he just wants a role that can help the organization.

One big spot Hall could help? The Trent Williams' situation.

It might be impossible to fix the relationship between Williams and the Redskins, but if anybody could, Hall would be the guy. Throughout Williams' contract holdout this fall, Hall had the best pulse of the situation. In fact, for a while, it seemed like Hall was the only person with ties to ties to the Redskins organization speaking with Williams. 

Now, obviously Williams won't come back to Washington as long as Allen is in charge. His recent comments have made that abundantly clear. Should Allen get fired, however, Williams does have one year remaining on his contract in Washington. Maybe Hall, in a front-office role, could convince Williams to come back to Ashburn and rescind his trade demand. Stranger things have happened. 

The Redskins have a number of young players in the secondary with Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland leading the way. Hall in the building every day could help those players. 

Hall played for 14 seasons in the NFL, many of them at a high level. He's open about some of his missteps from when he was a young player and has a natural charisma that is hard to replicate. Ask Breeland or Dunbar how Hall helped their career. Ask Williams what Hall means to him on a personal level. 

For a team that has burned many bridges with players, current and former, a guy like Hall could be a big asset. 

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