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Gruden extension doesn't necessarily equal good news for Cousins long-term deal

Gruden extension doesn't necessarily equal good news for Cousins long-term deal

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden installed Kirk Cousins at starting quarterback before the 2015 season. It was unpopular with some at the time, but in the two subsequent seasons, the move to bench Robert Griffin III for Cousins looks good, and the results have been strong enough to make both men wildly rich.

Gruden landed a two-year contract extension over the weekend, which extends his deal with the Redskins through 2020. His original deal pays him more than $4 million per season, and while terms of the extension have not been released, there is zero reason to expect Gruden will take a pay cut. 

Cousins played the 2015 season on the last year of his rookie deal, and made just $660,000. While that's a lot of money for regular folks, for NFL quarterbacks, it's peanuts. In 2016, playing on the franchise tag, Cousins made nearly $20 million. This season, Cousins could make $24 million playing on another franchise tag, and if he signs a multi-year deal, that money will increase exponentially.

Considering their mutual success, a 17-14-1 record over the last two seasons to go with a 2015 NFC East title, it's easy to assume that Gruden's extension could be helpful as the Redskins work to secure Cousins to a long-term contract.

It even makes sense. Knowing that the coach and offensive system that's been crucial to his success are locked in place for the 'Skins, Cousins could feel increased security in commiting to a future with Washington. 

Unless it doesn't.

Think about this from a different angle: If the Redskins really are considering trading Cousins, as multiple reports have suggested, locking up their coach for the next phase is a must. 

As CSN reported in January, 'Skins backup QB Colt McCoy is viewed as a viable, significantly cheaper alternative to Cousins by some at Redskins Park. MMQB's Albert Breer expanded on that mindset,

"The Redskins do believe they can win in the short term with McCoy, and there’s a feeling that it’d be better to just resolve the Cousins situation now—whether it’s giving him a new deal or trading him—and not setting up to be in this position again in spring 2018."

In addition to the threat of losing Cousins, the Redskins stand to lose one or both of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon. Both were 1,000 yard receivers for Washington in 2016, and losing either would be a blow for the offense.

For Gruden, knowing that losing one or both of his top wideouts, not to mention a possible Cousins trade, remains on the horizon, a contract extension seems downright neccesary. If the 'Skins go into 2017 with McCoy at QB and without Jackson and/or Garçon, it seems the team could take a step back from the progress of the last two years. And a step back, in the fourth year of a five-year deal, likely would mean saying goodbye to the coach. 

Instead, Gruden gets an extension. In turn, hypothetically, he knows he has the security to withstand an offensive shift at quarterback. 

If a situation arises where the Redskins cannot get a deal done with Cousins, trading him this offseason makes sense. Get something now before next offseason when the team would get nothing. 

Gruden might not want the Redskins to trade Cousins, at all, but it would be very hard for Gruden to support a trade going into the 4th year of a 5-year deal. In the 4th year of a 7-year deal, however, things look quite different. 

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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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