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If Redskins don't sign Kirk Cousins to multi-year deal, transition tag could be in his future

If Redskins don't sign Kirk Cousins to multi-year deal, transition tag could be in his future

The big offseason storyline for the Redskins is what they'll do with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Washington has signaled that it plans to have Cousins back next year, but the way that happens is still up in the air. 

Generally speaking, speculation has centered on whether the Redskins will sign Cousins to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag to keep him for 2017. 

But according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Washington should be able to keep the Michigan State product for two years using tags alone. The team could do that by using the franchise tag in 2017 and the lesser-known transition tag in 2018. 

First Florio explains that using the franchise tag in 2017 and 2018 wouldn't make financial sense. 

In 2017, the franchise tag would give Cousins a 20-percent raise over his $19.95 million franchise tag from 2016, which becomes $23.94 million for 16 games. Next year, the franchise tag would result in a 44-percent raise, which would be $34.47 million. This means that Washington, as a practical matter, wouldn’t use the franchise tag on Cousins in 2018 — if they use it in 2017.

However, what happens if the Redskins tag him in 2017, but still don't re-sign him to a long-term deal in 2018? They don't necessarily have to let him walk. Enter the transition tag. 

Washington could apply the franchise tag this year and the transition tag in 2018. By rule, this would result in only a 20-percent increase over Cousins’ $23.94 million compensation in 2017. That approach would cost $28.78 million in 2018, but that would be nearly $6 million less than a third use of the franchise tag. More importantly, it would make the formula for a long-term deal based on the franchise tag more affordable (or less unaffordable) than it otherwise would be.

The snag with the transition tag is that, while Washington has the option to match any offer sheet Cousins receives from other teams, the team would not get any compensation if it declines to match and Cousins leaves. 

There are reasons the Redskins could decide to go the tagging route instead of signing Cousins to a long-term deal. Example: What if the team drafts a developmental quarterback this year or next year, then decides that guy will be ready to start in 2019? 

In summation, the tagging drama may not be over for Cousins this summer. 

MORE REDSKINS: Fans say Redskins are NFL's 3rd-best looking team

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Updated Redskins offensive depth chart after Jamison Crowder's MRI, plus Trey Quinn news

Updated Redskins offensive depth chart after Jamison Crowder's MRI, plus Trey Quinn news

Nothing comes simple in the NFL, and for the Redskins offense, nothing comes easy either. The unit struggles to score, and the injuries continue to pile up on that side of the ball too. 

With a red-hot Texans team coming to FedEx Field this Sunday, the Washington offense will again be undermanned. 

Jay Gruden already ruled out six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams for this week's matchup against Houston, and the coach said there was a "pretty good chance" Chris Thompson would miss the game as well. 

Expect the Redskins to roll out the same offensive line that played for most of the win against Tampa:

LT: Ty Nsekhe
LG: Jonathan Cooper
C: Chase Roullier
RG: Tony Bergstrom
RT: Morgan Moses

Just because the same starting five will take the field against Houston doesn't mean there hasn't been more upheaval on the Redskins offensive line. Rookie tackle Geron Christian injured his knee in temporary work against Tampa and is now out for the season. That means the Redskins third tackle for Houston will be Austin Howard, who was signed last week. 

More importantly, it means right now the Redskins are living on the edge. Literally. With Williams already ruled out, Washington only has three tackles on the roster for Sunday, and both Nsekhe and Moses were limited in Wednesday's practice and are playing through a number of injuries. 

While things seem one injury away from a dire situation on the O-line, the situation seems more fluid at wide receiver.

Rookie wide receiver Trey Quinn got moved to the active roster on Wednesday after news came out of another MRI for Jamison Crowder.

Quinn was injured in the season opener in Arizona and moved to injured reserve. He's missed the last eight games but could give the passing game a boost, especially because it sounds like Crowder will miss his sixth straight game.

Gruden revealed that Crowder had another MRI on his ankle "to make sure that we’re not putting too much work on him right now, make sure he gets healed. We don’t think it’s that far away but we do probably need to take a little more time."

Asked if Crowder could eventually land on the IR, ending his season, Gruden said, "we hope not."

Not having Thompson and Crowder are two huge losses for QB Alex Smith. Kapri Bibbs has been a solid stand-in for Thompson, but it's not the same. Quinn now has a chance to help in place of Crowder, and in turn, let Maurice Harris get back to working in outside. 

For Sunday's game against Houston, Josh Doctson will start and play the X receiver position. If Quinn can get up to speed quickly and work in the slot WR role on Sunday, then Harris will lineup opposite Doctson at the Z position. 

If there is any good news, or at least stable news, Alex Smith, Adrian Peterson, and Jordan Reed all seem healthy. In fact, Reed wasn't on Wednesday's injury report at all, and Peterson said he's beginning to "feel all the way healthy."



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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10


2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10

The most surprising outcome from Week 10 in the NFL season was the Tennessee Titans 34-10 thrashing of the New England Patriots.

How far did New England fall? How high did the Patriots rise?


Despite missing three starting offensive lineman and several other key contributors due to injury, the Redskins got back in the win column with a 16-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a two game lead in the NFC East, their stock rose a tad.

Coming off their bye week, the Eagles fell to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. How were each of their rankings affected?

The Saints won their eighth straight, while the Steelers won their fifth straight. Where do these two rank in the Top 5?


The battle for No. 32 is perhaps more interesting than the battle for No. 1, but the Raiders stay in control of the bottom spot for now.