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The evolution of 'You Like That' to 'How do you like me now?!' — and what it means for Cousins, Redskins

The evolution of 'You Like That' to 'How do you like me now?!' — and what it means for Cousins, Redskins

The folks at Vine should send Kirk Cousins a check. 

Last season, he exclaimed his famous 'You Like That?!' The Vine went viral, and became a Redskins marketing slogan as the team marched to the NFC East title and a playoff berth.

Last week, Cousins sang 'ooooowwwweee' and the Vine again went viral, putting the Washington passer back in the six-second clip rotation. 

Sunday night, after a 42-24 win over the Packers and a monster stat line that included 375 yards and three touchdowns, Cousins made it virtually rain.

Watching the clip, six seconds captures everything. By this point, Redskins fans are well versed in the contract situation surrounding Cousins and GM Scot McCloughan. As good as the quarterback played in 2015 - and he was very good, breaking numerous team passing records - the franchise could not get a long-term deal done with their passer, and Cousins is playing the 2016 season on a one-year, $20 million franchise tag.

While that is great money, a top-tier starting quarterback is worth much more. And that's what makes 'How do you like me know' so interesting.

The spirit behind 'You like that' was wholly different from 'How do you like me know.' Last season, Cousins was proving to the NFL that he belonged as a starting quarterback, but he was also proving it to himself.

This season? Cousins knows he belongs, and knows he is going to be paid handsomely for it, whether that money comes from Washington or not.

MORE REDSKINS: THE BEST PHOTOS FROM WASHINGTON'S WIN OVER GREEN BAY

This past offseason, Cousins was eager to sign the franchise tender and work to negotiate with the 'Skins. When a long-term deal couldn't be reached, and the Skins offered money well short of market rate, Cousins bet on himself.

That bet looks to be paying off, big time. In 10 games, Cousins has more than 3,000 passing yards to go with 17 TDs against seven INTs. Cousins shredded the Packers, showcasing his accuracy and ability to go deep. He also spread the ball out and continued to run the offense in an efficient and crisp manor.

In other words, he played like a nine-figure QB, and in a few months, he will be paid like one. 

If 'You like that' served as Cousins' announcement to the football world that he could compete on the highest levels, 'How do you like me know' announced to the Redskins organization, and others, that Cousins can win games on the biggest stages. 

"I'm just always trying to prove myself and I'm always being evaluated and I will always be trying to improve myself as long as I'm playing this game," Cousins said following the game.

A normally mild-mannered guy, Cousins' outburst late Sunday night was no accident. He knows the pressure he faces, and how hard it is to succeed in the NFL. 

And he's right - there is constant evaluation of his play. Throw by throw, game by game, his every move is being disected. 

How's he doing? Good enough to rub his GM's head and yell 'How do you like me know?' 

In other words, pretty damn good. 

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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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Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

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USA TODAY Sports

Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

More than 100 days remain before the Redskins take the field in meaningful NFL action.

Any and all excitement needs to be tempered, significantly, because what happens on a practice field in May without pads does not represent what will happen in September, October and beyond. 

Still, the Redskins group that took the field this week for OTAs showed promise. 

New quarterback Alex Smith looked crisp, connecting with a variety of wideouts and commanding the huddle. New wideout Paul Richardson made the best play of the session when he streaked down the field past rookie cornerback Greg Stroman and hauled in a deep pass from Smith. The play showed Smith's ability to identify open receivers downfield, as well as Richardson's ability to go up and grab a contested catch. Even Stroman, the seventh-round rookie, positioned himself well, he just fell victim to a perfect pass and tremendous athleticism.

That was only one play in a two-hour session. Again, don't take too much from May, when players don't wear pads or engage in any of the violence that the NFL is predicated upon. But the OTAs do serve a purpose, both for players and coaches, and there were nuggets to absorb and try to project for the fall. Here they are:

  • Jay Gruden made clear he's not concerned about the health of his offensive line. Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are recuperating from offseason surgery, but Gruden believes both are on track for when things start to matter. It's a good thing the coach isn't concerned because this was the 'Skins line in OTAs (left to right): Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, John Kling. Should that lineup take the field this fall, there will be trouble. 
     
  • The Redskins lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, and the secondary depth will be something to watch throughout training camp. At OTAs, newly signed veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick lined up opposite Josh Norman in the team's base 3-4 defense. In nickel and dime coverage, Quinton Dunbar lined up opposite Norman and Scandrick moved to the slot. As things progress, it will be interesting to see if Dunbar surpasses Scandrick in base coverage, and what becomes of 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau. Stay tuned.  
     
  • Rookie running back Derrius Guice looked every part of the first-round talent many judged him to be before draft season rumors caused him to slide to the late second round. Guice cuts with authority and is able to see holes before they form and patiently wait to hit the open space. Guice also looked fine in pass-catching drills, one area that was a question coming out of LSU (but that says more about LSU's prehistoric offense). Watching the Redskins offense work, it seems clear Guice will be the heaviest used runner this fall.
     
  • That said, don't count out Robert Kelley. He looks leaner and plenty quick, showing a few impressive runs during the session. Byron Marshall also looked good, and Gruden pointed out his success in his post-OTA press conference. The running back group will have plenty of competition all the way through Richmond. 
     
  • Jonathan Allen has switched jersey numbers from 95 to 93. Rookie Daron Payne is now wearing 95. Payne and Allen both went to Alabama, both are huge, and both play defensive line. The number switch will take some getting used to. 
     
  • Zach Brown missed the OTA session as he was moving, and interestingly in his spot with the starting defense was Josh Harvey-Clemons. The second-year pro out of Louisville showed impressive speed in coverage, and remember he played safety in college and performed quite well. He has ball skills and great size to be a coverage linebacker. Some were surprised when the Redskins kept JHC last season at the cut to 53, but his development appears to be paying off for the organization. 
     
  • Another linebacker that made a play was Zach Vigil. He impressed for the Redskins late last season and was running the Washington second-team defensive huddle. At one point, Vigil broke through the line of scrimmage and blew up a run play. That prompted D.J. Swearinger to yell from the sideline, "OK Zach. OK ZACH!"
     
  • Speaking of Swearinger, the Redskins defensive captain seemed in midseason form when it comes to yelling encouragement on the field. Nobody hypes up the defense like Swearinger, particularly when the secondary makes a big play. On one pass Dunbar made a nice diving play to break up a pass, and Swearinger and Josh Norman got very fired up, shouting and jumping around. The entire defense responded. Little stuff like that helps disrupt the monotony of offseason work. 
     
  • Jamison Crowder looks jacked and quick. The end. 

 

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