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Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

A lot of Redskins fans were encouraged when Kirk Cousins broke out into praise of almost everything Redskins when talking about his prospects for a new contract earlier this week.

“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches," he told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation on Wednesday.

I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games,”

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This is not the first time we have heard such talk from Cousins in recent weeks. Last month he was on a podcast with Peter King of TheMMQB.com.

“This is an incredible fan base; it’s one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from,” he told King.

“I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere.”

Saying “I love this organization” and talking about a desire to return the team to the glory days is quite a leap from the cold response he gave to a question about his future in Washington asked right after the Redskins’ season ended.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

It should be noted that this question came minutes after a gut-wrenching loss and the outcome had been sealed when Cousins threw a late interception. But the comments were in line with what he said often in the previous several months when asked about his future in Washington. It sounded like he would only stay if forced to via a second application of the franchise tag.

So, should Cousins’ recent change of tone be taken as a sign that the persistent reports that he is very reluctant to commit to staying with the Reskins are no longer valid? Has he changed his mind?

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Circumstances have changed since Cousins said that staying wasn’t his decision to make. Gruden got an extension and he is now under contract through the 2020 season. As he approaches his age 29 season he may be growing reluctant to pull up stakes and start all over again

But all the positive talk is just that, talk. Showing a desire to stay in Washington increases his leverage. It may all be a negotiating tactic.

In addition, no matter what happens on Cousins’ end a deal will not get done if the Redskins don’t come forward with a serious offer.

The last reported offer made by the Redskins was about $20 million per year. Considering that Cousins’ salary this year is nearly $24 million and the next tag will net him anywhere from $28 million to $34 million, that’s not an offer that is going to make anything happen.

So, while it is better for Cousins to be talking up the Redskins organization than it is for him to be utterly non-committal there is still a long way to go until a long-term contract might be signed.

It still would be surprising if a deal got done by the July 15 deadline.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

What should the Redskins do with the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? 

Some believe Washington has an easy choice and should take Chase Young. Some think they should consider taking Tua Tagovailoa despite drafting Dwayne Haskins a year ago. ESPN's Mel Kiper is a proponent of both.

"You can have all the Chase Young's you want," Kiper said Thursday. "This is a quarterback league all the way.

"If the medical staff clears [Tagovailoa], and the medical staff is going to be key to this," he continued. "If they sign off, you take Tua at No. 2. You don't trade the pick, you don't take Chase Young. And if Haskins turns out to better, than great then we can trade Tua."

This goes against what Kiper said just a month ago. In a mock draft from January 24, Kiper wrote, "If you scanned Washington's depth chart, you probably wouldn't pick out an edge rusher as its top need. It might not even be in the top three. And yet, the Redskins absolutely can't pass on Young -- unless they get bowled over with an offer from a team trading up."

Anyway, The Sports Junkies took time to react to Kiper's comments on their Friday show. Eric Bickel, J.P. Flaim and Jason Bishop had particularly interesting takes on whether the Redskins should consider drafting a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back years.

That's preposterous," Bickel said. "That's the part where it falls apart."

"You can't draft quarterbacks back to back in the first round and have them battle it out," Bishop said. 

"It would be just like what happened in Arizona," Bickel said in response. "They'd have to unload Haskins and get what they could."

The Cardinals did exactly what Kiper is proposing for the Redskins last season when they took Kyler Murray with the first pick despite drafting Josh Rosen in the top-10 the year prior. Arizona, similar to the Redskins this year, hired a new head coach after taking Rosen. 

The Cardinals then traded Rosen to the Dolphins on Day 2 of the draft last year in exchange for a second-round pick (Andy Isabella) and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Murray went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rosen only made three starts for the Dolphins in 2019. 

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if the Redskins believe Tagovailoa gives them a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl than Dwayne Haskins, then they shouldn't worry about taking a quarterback in back-to-back drafts. It's certainly worked out for the Cardinals so far. But there are no certainties in the draft, as Flaim points out. 

"I think [Kiper's] just saying that," Flaim said. "The reality is if you really believe Tua is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Like, if you're evaluation is Tua's going to be a Russell Wilson, he's going to be an Aaron Rodgers, he's going to be an elite quarterback in the league, and Haskins is just going to be a guy, he could be a starter, then you take Tua. But it's so inexact you have no idea."

Washington's interest in Tagovailoa is unknown at this point, though they will be meeting with him and Joe Burrow prior to the draft. Head coach Ron Rivera did say however, the Redskins are, 'just doing our due diligence,' in meeting with the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft. 

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Report: NFL teams haven't contacted the Redskins about a Trent Williams trade

Report: NFL teams haven't contacted the Redskins about a Trent Williams trade

Trent Williams reportedly made his demands clear. He either wants a new contract or he wants to be traded, according to a report from NFL Network on Thursday. 

As the situation for the disgruntled left tackle continues to play out, the Redskins haven't received any trade inquiries about Williams, according to Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver.

"Has there been any trade interest around the league? So far, no," Silver said on an NFL Network appearance Friday. "Nobody has called Washington saying 'We'd like to talk about coming and getting Trent Williams.' Maybe that'll change."

Following up on earlier reports, Silver acknowledged that there has been a line of communication between Williams and new head coach Ron Rivera after changes to the medical staff — the root cause of the offensive lineman's original rife and distrust with the team. 

Rivera is widely regarded as a coach that players can trust and enjoy playing for. Silver commented on how that may impact Washington's direction with Williams' future.

"I think organizationally the feeling is 'Look, if Trent Williams doesn't feel comfortable with this situation, and doesn't want to be there for Ron Rivera, we're not going to spend a lot of time trying to appease him," Silver said.

After sitting out for the entirety of the 2019 season, Williams has one year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $14.5 million, none of which is guaranteed.

When Williams signed the deal in 2015, he set an NFL record for the highest-paid offensive tackle in league history. But as value has increased, the seven-time Pro Bowler has slid further down the list of highest-paid tackles, currently ranking eighth in highest average salary, according to Over the Cap.

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