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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

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Loudoun County Sheriff's Office

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson was arrested on assault charges early Tuesday morning in Loudoun County, Va.

The 23-year-old Nicholson was charged with assault and battery and public intoxication following an incident on the morning of Dec. 18 at the One Loudon development.

A female suspect, 24-year-old Sydney A. Maggiore of Vienna, Va. was reportedly with Nicholson at the scene. 

According to police, via NBC 4,  the incident began after Nicholson and a women "pulled up in a vehicle and honked the horn" at a man and women.

"We are aware of the arrest of Montae Nicholson," Redskins spokesman Tony Wylie said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "We are gathering more information and will not comment until we have further details.”

Nicholson started the first seven games of the 2018 season and has appeared in all 14, amassing 21 solo tackles. The Redskins selected Nicholson out of Michigan State in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

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Despite broken leg, belief growing that Colt McCoy will return for Week 17

Despite broken leg, belief growing that Colt McCoy will return for Week 17

A few weeks back when Jay Gruden explained that his Redskins decided not to place quarterback Colt McCoy on the injured reserve list despite a broken leg, most greeted the news with a scoff. 

Surely, McCoy would not actually return to play again in 2018 after suffering the broken fibula in early December. It's a broken leg, and only four games remained on the schedule. 

Well, think again. Asked the odds of McCoy's return for Week 17 on a scale of 1-10, Gruden didn't hesitate.

"I’d say 10 for Colt," the coach said. "That’s just my opinion. I just think Colt’s a crazy dude."

While Josh Johnson played reasonably well in a Week 14 win in Jacksonville, McCoy knows the Redskins offensive system inside and out. If he can get back on the field, it could be a big boost for Washington. 

That doesn't mean Gruden will push it though.

"It wouldn’t surprise me either way. It’s a tough injury to come back from and if he can’t make it back we won’t force him back," Gruden said via the Redskins Talk podcast. "It’s all up to the doctors. It’s not up to me. It’s up to the doctors. Even if Colt says, ‘hey, i can go, I can go,’ it’ will be up to the doctors."

In limited action over three games, McCoy is completing 63 percent of his passes for 373 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. 

Might the playoffs be a part of McCoy's quest to return? Sure, but Gruden made clear that won't skew his decision to bring him back. 

"If it’s safe for him to play, then of course he will play," Gruden said. "If there’s any kind of risk whatsoever there’s not a chance I will let him play."

The Redskins face the Titans on Saturday night in Nashville. Sitting at 7-7, Gruden's team is competing for the final NFC Wild Card spot, as well as holding an outside chance to get back in the NFC East contest. 

To make the playoffs, the overwhelming odds suggest the 'Skins need to win their remaining two games, in Tennessee and home for a Week 17 matchup against the Eagles. 

If Johnson pulls off another win this weekend, on the road, it's possible Gruden might want to ride the hot hand. For now, however, the coach isn't worried about that possible scenario. The team is just focused on the Titans. 

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