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Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 17, 41 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 31
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 56
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 68
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 120
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 177

Friday three and out

1. A mystery solved.

https://twitter.com/JordanRaanan/status/842441808810463232

I get frequent questions about why the Redskins have not had Johnathan Hankins in for a visit or why there hasn’t even been any reported contact with the Giants’ D-lineman. This says there are 10 million reasons why Hankins’ phone hasn’t been ringing with 703 on the caller ID or from any other area code for that matter. Hankins is a good, young player but $10 million a year is just way too much. Perhaps he will get the message at some point and lower his asking price. He could end up going with a one-year contract like Dontari Poe did with the Falcons. That would make it even more difficult for the Redskins to sign him. It’s not so much the money; they could make that work. But if Hankins is going to go with one year in hopes of being able to cash in next year he is unlikely to sign up to be a nose tackle. It’s much harder to generate eye-popping stats the generate big contracts from the zero technique than it is from a defensive tackle spot.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

2. A free agent signing but not the one you’re looking for:

Carter is the prototypical journeyman who will try to make the team as a special teams contributor. It looks like he will be the replacement for Terence Garvin, the linebacker/special teams guy who was here last year and hasn’t been re-signed. Carter, an ex-Steeler like Garvin, has played in 42 NFL games and he has yet to record a sack.

3. I get that everyone is mad because Scot McCloughan wanted to sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension in 2015 after Cousins was named the starter and Bruce Allen didn’t want to do it. But how realistic is it to think that they could have come to an agreement on a long-term contract at that time? Would they base the value on his 2014 starts, when he was turnover prone and eventually benched and demoted to third string? Or after, say, Week 6 when he was sitting there with six TD’s and eight interceptions and a passer rating of 77.4? There were talks during the bye week after the “you like that!” comeback over the Bucs but nothing materialized. And according to the Breer article by the time December came around the Cousins camp wanted to wait until 2016 to talk.

So they essentially had a window between the bye week and December to get a deal done. The Redskins went 2-2 in that stretch with blowout losses against the Patriots and Panthers. While you couldn’t necessarily blame either loss on Cousins, they weren’t the kinds of performances that made you want to throw a bunch of money at him, either.

If someone can tell me when there was an opportunity there to come up with a contract that offer that would have been either so high as to look like a vast overpay for the team or a big-time lowball from Cousins’ perspective, I’m all ears. The timing just wasn’t right. This doesn’t mean that disagreement over how it should be handled was a good thing and it shows that McCloughan's instincts were right. According to Breer it was the nexus of things falling apart in Ashburn. But thinking that Cousins would be signed for a few more years now if McCloughan had prevailed in 2015 doesn’t really add up.

Out—with a fan question:

https://twitter.com/katie11074/status/842448056675127298

This is an easy one on defense—a solid nose tackle. Yesterday morning on 980 Greg Manusky talked about looking at Phil Taylor, Joey Mbu, and A.J. Francis at the position. If those are his choices for Week 1 the defense is in serious trouble.

On offense the answer is less obvious. I’d say it’s a blocking tight end who is, you know, an actual tight end. Ty Nsekhe sure can block as a sixth offensive lineman but having someone who can catch passes as your extra blocker sure does give the defense a lot more to think about. I also think they need a young quarterback in case Cousins departs either this year or next.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Yesterday afternoon after a close NCAA finish:

In case you missed it

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5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

The Redskins have a quarterback battle. Repeat, the Redskins have a quarterback battle. This is not a drill. It is an open competition. 

When the team gathers in Ashburn on Monday for offseason training activities, it will be the first time that veteran passer Case Keenum and first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins will be on the field at the same time. Incumbent backup QB Colt McCoy should be present as well, but not active as he works back from multiple leg surgeries this offseason. 

The team has plenty of questions for the 2019 season, and the answers will start coming as early as this week. No question is bigger than the signal caller though.

  1. QB Battle - Every major factor in the Redskins organization has been clear that Haskins will get a chance to compete for the starting job. That means every throw between Keenum, the presumed starter after the 'Skins traded for him in February, and the Ohio State rookie will be over analyzed. If McCoy was healthy, he would have a jump start in the competition because he knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense. McCoy isn't healthy though, and that means more reps and work for Keenum and Haskins. This battle will be ongoing throughout the summer, but on Monday with the media present, it will be very interesting to see what player gets more work with the first-team offense.
  2. Who's still hurt - Speaking of the first-team offense, a number of players will be working back from offseason surgery. Will Paul Richardson be out there? Trent Williams? How healthy is Jordan Reed, and what about Derrius Guice? Brandon Scherff? There are a lot  of questions, and some of them will be answered simply by seeing guys run around. Second-year wideouts Cam Sims and Trey Quinn both finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve; will they be ready to go? There are a lot of people to watch out for. 
  3. STARTING DEFENSE (LATIMER VOICE*) - Landon Collins was the prize of free agency, and Monday he will be on the field barking directions at teammates. How will he fit in with Josh Norman, and how does Quinton Dunbar look? When Dunbar went down with a leg nerve injury last season, the Washington defense fell apart. If he is all the way back would be big news for Greg Manusky's defense. There's also Reuben Foster. This will be the first time for the media to see Foster on the field in a Redskins uniform after his controversial acquisition last November. Presumably Foster will answer questions after the OTA session, stay tuned for that.
  4. Camp is over for the rookies - Beyond Haskins, the Redskins have nine other draft picks taking part in OTAs. The rookies went through their own private minicamp last week, but this will be quite different. Rookie minicamp is about letting the new players get acclimated to the new facility and team; OTAs are about real work. Will Montez Sweat take the field with the Redskins first-team defense? What about the two rookie receivers in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon? There will be hiccups for the rookies, that's inevitable, but now is the time to prove they belong. With all the injuries on the offensive line, Wes Martin has the inside track on a starting job. 
  5. Absent, but not hurt - Never forget that OTAs are voluntary for players, and usually a handful of guys don't show up. That will likely happen tomorrow and some fans might react negatively. Don't be one of them. 

* If you don't get that reference, go watch The Program. 

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How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

There's a solid formula to land on the HBO series Hard Knocks, and a rookie quarterback can play a big role. Last year, HBO picked the Cleveland Browns, and much of that was to showcase No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. Three years ago, HBO did the same thing with the Rams and Jared Goff. 

This year, the No. 1 overall pick landed on a team that can't be shown on Hard Knocks, as Kyler Murray will play for new coach Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona. Teams with coaching changes are ineligible for the show, as are teams that made the playoffs the previous season. 

Well, the Redskins didn't make the playoffs last year and didn't make a coaching change. What other QBs were taken in the first round?

The New York Giants took Daniel Jones with the sixth pick, and the Redskins took Dwayne Haskins at 15. 

Hmmm.

For years, the idea of the Redskins on Hard Knocks seemed far fetched. Team president Bruce Allen is not particularly fond of the media or inside access for television cameras. Allen comes by that honestly, his father Hall of Fame coach George Allen liked to practice in complete secrecy. Like father, like son. And as much as HBO and the NFL can force a team to do Hard Knocks, if the team doesn't want to be a part of it, the access can be very limited. 

So, has that changed? Maybe. 

Oddsmakers have established the Redskins as the betting favorite to land on the show, with the Oakland Raiders and the Giants just behind them. Both the 'Skins and Giants have rookie QBs, but the reception around each rookie has been quite different. While generally, Washington fans are very excited about Haskins, the New York crowd seems non-pleased with Jones. 

The NFL rarely does things that upset the Giants, and in an offseason of turmoil for Big Blue, it's hard to see the team wanting the increased scrutiny of the documentary show. Between trading Odell Beckham, drafting Jones at six, and a series of odd quotes about Eli Manning's future, New York GM Dave Gettleman has become a national punch line. It seems highly unlikely Giants ownership wants their GM on national television, especially in an unguarded format like Hard Knocks, and usually, when Giants ownership wants something, they get their way. How many cold weather cities have hosted an outdoor Super Bowl again?

There's also the Raiders. 

Jon Gruden would be a star because he already is a star. The team traded for Antonio Brown, who is also a star. The Raiders would make great television.

But wouldn't they rather go on Hard Knocks next season when the team moves to Las Vegas? How glitzy is that? There won't be a coaching change — Gruden is armed with a 10-year contract — and the team should be better as their three first-round draft picks will have a year of experience. The Raiders on Hard Knocks in 2020 seems like a slam dunk. 

The Lions and 49ers are also options, but less appealing. Detroit is a perennial also-ran, and San Francisco lacks sizzle. 

So back to the Redskins. 

The team would be appealing for HBO. Washington has a huge fan base across the country, and the television network is already familiar with the team's Richmond training camp setup. In 2015, HBO chronicled the Houston Texans' training camp, and that included a trip to Richmond for joint practices. Everybody remembers that trip. 

But if the Redskins didn't want Hard Knocks before, why is this time different? Oddsmakers think things have changed, and digging in, maybe they're right.

By all accounts, the 'Skins had an excellent 2019 NFL Draft. They added their quarterback of the future in Haskins, and aggressively traded back into the first round to grab Montez Sweat, a potential beast of a pass rusher. The team also signed Landon Collins this offseason to an $84 million contract, and have pieces in place for a Top 10 defense. Offensively, Adrian Peterson is going into the Hall of Fame and second-year RB Derrius Guice should return from a knee injury to push for carries. 

Maybe, just maybe, the Redskins are willing to let HBO inside their walls because they want to brag a little bit. 

In the weeks after the draft, Allen did appearances on ESPN's First Take along with a host of national radio interviews. Stephen A. Smith interviewing Bruce Allen was wildly unexpected, and it corresponds to a noticeable increase in accessibility with the Redskins front office boss. Allen has conducted more media availabilities this offseason than he had in the previous two years combined. 

For all the talk of dysfunction that gets thrown around at Redskins Park, the reality is quite different. At least on the football side. The team did fire a number of high ranking business executives late last year after employing them for less than a season. That was an ugly scene.

On the field, however, things have been fairly steady for years. The team is aggressively mediocre in the Jay Gruden era, which is more stable than the franchise has been for the last 25 years. And Gruden would be hysterical on Hard Knocks, along with Rob Ryan and Jim Tomsula. 

Maybe going on Hard Knocks will change the perception around the team that owner Dan Snyder calls all the shots. Maybe going on Hard Knocks will get fans excited for the Haskins era, and get those fans to buy tickets. FedEx Field was noticeably empty last year. Maybe none of it happens too. 

Despite being the betting favorite, it is far from certain the Redskins land on Hard Knocks later this summer. But there are reasons to believe maybe this could be the year. 

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