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Need to Know: Are the Redskins afraid of making the wrong choice with Cousins?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins afraid of making the wrong choice with Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 16, 21 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 13
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 60
—NFL Draft (4/27) 70
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 206

Are the Redskins playing scared?

The Redskins appear to be afraid to make a decision regarding Kirk Cousins.

Perhaps a year ago, some degree of trepidation was justified. After three seasons of occasional, spotty play he was elevated to the starting job and after a rocky start to 2015 he played very well down the stretch. Cousins’ contract was up and the Redskins were leery about giving Cousins in the neighborhood of $20 million per year over multiple seasons. While there was plenty of talk about the Redskins wanting to make Cousins their guy for the long term, a deal never came close to getting done and he played the 2016 season on the franchise tag.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk Podcast - It's tag day

The bottom line, in 2016 they were afraid to make a decision. Perhaps the fear had some justification but there was fear nonetheless.

Fast forward to now. Once again, it appears that the Redskins are going to end up tagging Cousins. Again, they act as though they are paralyzed by fear. They are afraid that if they sign him long term he will not perform up to his salary, drag down the franchise, and stick them with a so-so quarterback into the next decade.

They also appear to be afraid to let him go in case they are wrong about him. If he goes elsewhere and lights it up the Redskins will look bad. They will look worse if whoever they have behind center doesn’t play up to Cousins’ standards. The Redskins have let a few good players get away over the years but this would take the cake.

The thing is they are running out of time to be afraid. They must make up their minds in the next few weeks. If they are going to sign him to a long-term contract they have to do that by March 1, before Cousins gets a tag that he’s perfectly happy to play on. If they are going to trade him they have to tag him and work actively to let teams know that if they sign Cousins, they are amenable to negotiating compensation down to something less than two first-round picks.

More Redskins: Silence is golden in Cousins talks

But my sense is that they are afraid to trade him. The tag provides an easy way out, a non-decision. They can say that it gives them more time to work out a long-term deal. OK, but what can they accomplish between March 1 and July 15 that they couldn’t accomplish between January 2, when they could start negotiating with Cousins, and February 29? There will be no more evidence, no more games played, that will help the organization decide if Kirk is the guy.

He either is or he isn’t. They need to decide which one he is and proceed without fear.

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Draft Trade Simulator: Are the Chargers desperate enough to make the Redskins move?

Draft Trade Simulator: Are the Chargers desperate enough to make the Redskins move?

The Redskins hold the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft and there could be plenty of suitors for the pick. JP Finlay works through hypothetical draft day trades. 

As some buzz grows that Washington might look to trade down from the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, one team that could be interested in moving up would be the Los Angeles Chargers. 

Yes, Los Angeles, not San Diego, and that’s a big part of why this could actually happen. Once the Chargers left Ron Burgundy’s hometown to move up to Hollywood, they lost a ton of fans, and soon they will be playing football in a new stadium. A rookie quarterback with a national name could help sell a lot of tickets and convert new fans to the Lightning Bolts. 

That quarterback’s name? Tua Tagovailoa.

The Bengals will take the draft’s biggest star in Joe Burrow with the first overall pick, and after Burrow, no player will command more attention than the former Alabama record-breaker. Injury questions will trail Tua throughout the pre-draft process, and the lack of official visits and workouts could hinder his ability to make an impact of NFL decision makers. Still, Tagovailoa is an elite prospect decorated with an incredible career for the Crimson Tide that, if healthy, could transform an NFL team immediately.

So how could a trade between the Redskins and Chargers happen? Let's take a look.

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Parameters

In 2016 the Eagles made a massive trade to move from the eighth spot to the second spot so they could draft Carson Wentz. To make the move, the Eagles sent the Browns five total picks, including their first-rounder, third-rounder and fourth-rounder that year in addition to another first and second-rounder in subsequent years. In the transaction Cleveland sent back a fourth-rounder in 2017. 

This year the Chargers hold the sixth pick but their biggest competition to take a quarterback is Miami, the team with the fifth overall pick and a load of draft capital to make any move work. If the Chargers want to get ahead of the Dolphins, the package will need to be big, and perhaps similar to the deal the Eagles made in 2016 for Wentz.

The Chargers hold one pick in every round of the next two drafts, so they could work out a package of picks to move up if they want. Los Angeles could also try to package tight end Hunter Henry in a deal. He’s currently on the roster via the franchise tag, and the Redskins desperately need help at the tight end position. 

Outlook

Don’t count on it but don’t count it out either. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor under contract for 2020 but no long-term answer at quarterback. 

It’s also possible Los Angeles decides to wait for a QB another season and just build the rest of the team for multiple reasons. The Coronavirus could change schedules dramatically, and the Chargers have a lot of talent on their roster. Another year of building the entire team could be the best path, besides a major draft trade could hurt the effort to build a long-term winner in LA. 

Here's the thing though, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

The Chargers ranked dead last in NFL attendance for the last three seasons. In 2019, the Chargers averaged about 32,000 fans per game, almost 20,000 fans fewer than the next closest team.

Los Angeles has to build its fanbase. Must. Tua could be the ticket to selling tickets. 

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Redskins great, Hall of Fame legend Bobby Mitchell dies

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Associated Press

Redskins great, Hall of Fame legend Bobby Mitchell dies

Bobby Mitchell, who became the first black player on the Redskins before going on to spend decades in the team's front office after his Hall of Fame playing career had ended, died on Sunday according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 84.

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Bobby Mitchell. The Game lost a true legend today. Bobby was an incredible player, a talented executive and a real gentleman to everyone with whom he worked or competed against. His wife Gwen and their entire family remain in our thoughts and prayers. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a statement. 

Mitchell was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the eighth round of the 1958 draft. He was traded to Washington in 1962 and by the time his 11-year playing career ended, he was third in NFL history with 14,078 total yards.

He earned four Pro Bowl nods. He started in Washington's front office immediately after his playing career ended, eventually rising up to be the team's assistant general manager. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. 

“I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell. Bobby was a Hall of Fame player and executive and represented the Washington Redskins organization with integrity for over 50 years. His passion for the game of football was unmatched by anyone I have ever met," Redskins team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. 

"Not only was he one of the most influential individuals in franchise history, but he was also one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was a true class act and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gwen and the entire Mitchell family during this time."