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To Kevin Durant, it's simple: Kirk Cousins deserves a rich contract

To Kevin Durant, it's simple: Kirk Cousins deserves a rich contract

If Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Durant were in charge of the Redskins, Kirk Cousins' future in Washington would not be in doubt like it currently is. 

A handful of days after NASCAR's most popular driver said he's "tired of waiting" for the Burgundy and Gold to decide on the quarterback's next contract, one of the NBA's top players echoed his fellow fan's opinion.

"I love Cousins," Durant told the Washington Post. "I think he deserves a long-term deal. I think so. I think he’s the future for us."

To Durant, the stability that comes from a multiyear-deal would go a long way in providing the 28-year-old passer more comfort and confidence under center for the 'Skins.

"I think he’ll play better knowing that, ‘I’m here, this is my team. I’m rooted in this city,'" Durant said. "I think that all factors in to making a good player, so hopefully we sign him to a long-term deal."

Last summer, as Durant was looking for his next home in the Association, people in the DMV strongly supported the #KD2DC movement. That one obviously didn't work out, but if the Warriors star is able to pitch in on the #KC2DC movement, perhaps he'll win back at least some love from his hometown fans.

MORE REDSKINS: THESE KIRK COUSINS NEGOTIATIONS ARE UNCHARTERED WATERS

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Ryan Kerrigan electrifies crowd, chugs beer through his shirt in nod to T.J. Oshie

Ryan Kerrigan electrifies crowd, chugs beer through his shirt in nod to T.J. Oshie

There was only one way for Redskins linebacker and Capitals fan Ryan Kerrigan to show his support for TJ Oshie and the Caps prior to Game 5 when he led fans in the "Let's Go Caps" chant at Capital One Arena. 

He chugged some beer through his shirt - a nod to the move Oshie introduced to Caps fans and the world during last summer's Stanley Cup celebration.

Kerrigan joined fans and the Capitals showing support for the Capitals forward heading into Game 5 of the series between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, following an injury he suffered in Game 4.

While Kerrigan will be spending Game 5 in the stands hoping to help the team through motivation, he was also prepared to take a much more hands-on approach in order to try and get a victory.

Ahead of Saturday's Game 5 matchup between the Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, Kerrigan stopped by NBC Sports Washington's Caps Pregame Live coverage to explain how he's ready to suit up and throw his body around on the ice if the Caps need him.

"I'm here, I got a jersey on. I'm ready to roll," Kerrigan said.

His services may be of interest to Washington, as the series has proven to be a physical one. However, there is one little piece of adversity both sides might have to overcome.

"I can't skate very well," Kerrigan admitted. "So that might be a little bit of a hiccup there."

So while Kerrigan may not be exactly what the Caps need, the Redskin's willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win is a testament to his fandom of Washington's hockey team. Since he became a part of the D.C. sports community 2011, he's grown fond of a sport he didn't follow much growing up.

"Growing up in Indiana, we don't have a team there, it was all basketball for us in Indiana," Kerrigan said. "Since I got here, everyone is so passionate about the Caps, it was easy to become a fan and really dive into hockey."

Now immersed in the sport, Kerrigan tried out his analyst skills as well prior to the matchup.

"I think they got to come out the gates hot, I think they got to come out physical," Kerrigan said. "They got to come out and be physical. I'm a defensive guy, you got to be physical."

He also predicted that Nicklas Backstrom would have an impact on the game, and with Backstrom opening up the scoring early on in the contest, it seems as if Kerrigan may have a profession to fall back on after football.

Yet when the puck drops, Kerrigan will act just like the thousands of other Caps fans packed into Capital One Arena. One the edge of his seat, living and dying with every second that ticks, Kerrigan is more into the game than ever before.

"Especially coming off the Stanley Cup last year, we're wanting to go back-to-back now," Kerrigan said. "My wife and I watched every game last year during the postseason run. We were yelling really loud when they were winning, we were really focused when things weren't going so well.  No different this postseason."

Speaking of his wife and family, Kerrigan also took some time to talk about his new life as a father following the birth of his daughter Lincoln last month. Just around 40 days into parenting, it's safe to say that the bruising linebacker has found a soft spot for his little girl.

"That's all I heard going up to it. Little girl will change your life, little girl will melt your heart and I'm like, 'yeah yeah whatever,'" Kerrigan said. "And then I held her for the first time and I'm crying, this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Though Kerrigan may have a soft spot there, opposing quarterbacks shouldn't get their hopes up. According to him, he's still ready to be as physical as ever when he hits the gridiron.

"Only she can get the soft dad," Kerrigan said with a smile.

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After years of neglect on defensive line, Redskins continue smart moves with Matt Ioannidis deal

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USA Today Sports

After years of neglect on defensive line, Redskins continue smart moves with Matt Ioannidis deal

For two decades the Redskins bounced back and forth between neglect and negligence along their defensive line. 

Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, Washington hadn't selected a defensive lineman in the first round since the 1990s. The team just did not invest in the draft in the interior of their defensive line. During that time, there were some big-name free agent acquisitions up front, but those didn't work out either. In fact, the Albert Haynesworth contract might be the worst in the history of the sport. 

The result, largely, was bad play along the defensive front and an inability to stop the run, and that largely coincided with losing football teams. There is a direct correlation. 

In the last two seasons, however, the Redskins dramatically changed their approach.

In 2017, Washington selected defensive tackle Jonathan Allen out of Alabama in the first round. In 2018, Washington again took an Alabama defensive linemen in the first round in Daron Payne. The team also added fifth-rounder Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech. 

This week news emerged from Ashburn that the 'Skins took care of another defensive linemen, 2016 fifth-rounder Matt Ioannidis, with a three-year contract extension with $14 million guaranteed. 

Of all the moves to bolster the defensive line, the new deal for Ioannidis should make 'Skins fans the most excited. 

When Allen slipped to middle of the first round in 2017, it was a no-brainer to pick him. When the Redskins added Payne last season, he was the highest player on their draft board at a position of need. 

Those moves were good, but obvious. 

Inking Ioannidis to a contract extension was anything but obvious, and that's why this move looks so good. 

This is a late-round pick out of Temple, hardly a football factory like Alabama. Ioannidis was cut as a rookie after his first training camp, and the team signed him back to their practice squad. Eventually, he made the active roster in 2016 and played sparingly in parts of 10 games. He finished that year with seven tackles. 

Then, something happened.

The Redskins developed a late-round pick, and while Ioannidis deserves a ton of credit for turning his body into 300 lbs. of bull-rushing muscle, the organization deserves credit too, particularly defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

In his second NFL season, Ioannidis logged 4.5 sacks an 27 tackles in 14 games. Last year, he got 7.5 sacks and 31 tackles in 14 games. 2018 marked the real turning point for Ioannidis. Early on, he ws a beast, and his sack-per-snap numbers ranked among the best in the league. 

Injuries have been an issue for the 25-year-old, but beyond that, Washington was wise to lock Ioannidis up now. 

2019 would be the final season on his rookie deal, and if he performs similarly this year as he did last year, his potential free agent market would have been hot. If he improves this fall, Ioannidis would have commanded a significantly higher deal next offseason than the one he just signed to stay in Washington. 

There's also the precedent that the Redskins front office can identify their valuable young talent and take care of those players. The last two offseasons, Washington has let a number of draft picks walk in free agency. Players like Jamison Crowder, Preston Smith, Ryan Grant, Trent Murphy and Spencer Long are just some of the names. Getting an extension done with Ioannidis reinforces for other players in the 'Skins locker room that the money will come if they work hard and play well. 

Don't forget either that it was head coach Jay Gruden that pushed hard for the team to draft Matt Ioannidis back in 2016. While the head coach faces significant pressure this fall to find a playoff bid, this is a good example of the coach's personnel acumen. 

There's also some long-term roster construction in play. 

The Redskins have three more years of contractual control for 24-year-old Allen, and four more years for the 21-year-old Payne. Now, Ioannidis is under contract for four more seasons. 

That's three high impact players on the defensive line, all under 25 years old, that will be in Burgundy and Gold through at least the 2021-22 season. 

It wasn't long ago that the defensive line was by far the Redskins worst position group on the team. In 2016, they had the worst run defense in the league. 

Credit to the team for fixing that, finally. 

And credit to the team for recognizing young talent, and proactively getting a deal done before Ioannidis hits free agency. 

Redskins fans often say they want their team to do what the good teams do. Here's the formula: find hidden talent late in the draft, develop that talent, sign them long-term. 

With the Matt Ioannidis contract extension, that's exactly what Washington just did.