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Need to Know: A Kirk Cousins contract proposal

Need to Know: A Kirk Cousins contract proposal

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 1, 12 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.


Former Redskins receiver Santana Moss was born on this date in 1979. In 10 seasons in Washington, he caught 587 passes for 7,867 yards and 47 touchdowns.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 56
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 70
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 101

Note: While I’m on vacation in the Outer Banks this week I’ll be doing a mix of fresh content and some of readers’ favorite posts from 2017. Here is one originally published on March 3.


We hear a lot of numbers being thrown around regarding a possible contract agreement between the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins. The top line numbers are important. According to a report, the Redskins are offering $20 million per season and the Cousins camp, which has most of the leverage, wants close to $24 million.

But the details of a deal are at least as important as the average annual value. The sports contracts website Spotrac has worked out a contract that will satisfy what Cousins may be looking for in terms of compensation while giving the Redskins a deal that will leave them with enough money to keep the rest of the team stocked with talent.

Here is their estimate of what a Cousins deal might look like:

The contract would have $27 million fully guaranteed at signing. That seems low but we’ll look at that in a minute. Cousins would get a $15 million signing bonus along with a $12 million fully guaranteed salary. The first-year cap hit would be $15 million, saving the team nearly $9 million in 2017 cap space. As it is, all of Cousins’ $23.94 million franchise tag salary counts against the 2017 cap.

Year 1 likely would be acceptable to Cousins. But what happens after that probably would not work for him but is not difficult to correct it. Cousins would get a salary of $18 million but the team could avoid that by releasing him prior to March. Their cap hit for walking away after one season would be $12 million. That would sting but it would be manageable.

It is unlikely that the Redskins will get Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, to agree to such an easy exit. And letting Cousins go after two seasons would cost only $9 million. That makes it too easy for the team to make it a short-term deal.

The problem could be fixed by fully guaranteeing all of Cousins’ 2018 salary at signing. That would keep the cap hit the same at $21 million while increasing the fully guaranteed money to $45 million. If that’s not enough for the Cousins camp they could guarantee all or part of the 2019 salary and bring the full guarantee as high as $66 million. That is a fairly low-risk guarantee for the Redskins; if they aren’t going to stick with him for at least three years they probably should just let him walk after this season.

The cap numbers go up every year but so does the cap. Here are the yearly percentages of the projected salary cap that this deal would consume:

2017: 8.9%
2018: 11.8%
2019: 12.6%
2020: 13%
2021: 12.3%

The percentage does increase as the contract goes on. If this is a concern they could take more of it on in 2017 by increasing the first-year salary or by adding a roster bonus that would count against this year’s cap.

It’s still a lot of money to be going to one player. But alternatives are scarce and that scarcity manifests itself in terms of big dollars for a quarterback without a playoff win on his resume.

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

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: It's Dalton Risner vs. Brian Burns in the final, and it shouldn't be close

2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: It's Dalton Risner vs. Brian Burns in the final, and it shouldn't be close

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the final matchup.

The championship round of the 2019 Redskins Draft Bracket features Dalton Risner going up against Brian Burns.

So, how'd the two prospects get here, and who should win the whole thing as the fans' ideal first-round pick? Let's answer those questions now.

Risner: Frankly, Risner's rise is a total shock. The Kansas State lineman has ousted Daniel Jones, Jachai Polite and Montez Sweat(!). All three of those can be perceived as upsets. Can he possibly pull off a fourth?

Burns: Burns dropped two LSU foes in Devin White and Greedy Williams, then took out Drew Lock to get here. Perhaps he's the one who'll end Risner's wild run through the this tournament.

Who should win?: With his versatility, strength and consistency, Risner should absolutely improve whatever NFL offensive line he ends up on. 

However, his pairing with Burns should go one way, and one way only: With Burns winning. Easily.

Yes, the Redskins need a guard, which Risner could play if asked since the team already has Trent Williams and Morgan Moses at tackle. 

Yes, adding a young, cheap talent is also necessary, considering how much money the 'Skins have invested up front already. 

But the impact of Burns, a speedster off the edge who could elevate Washington's defense as a threat opposite Ryan Kerrigan, would far outweigh Risner's.

That's not to mention that Risner would be quite a reach at pick No. 15, while Burns figures to go right around that slot.

Risner's trip through this setup will go down in Redskins Draft Bracket history. It will be remembered fondly and give hope to future prospects down the line. But it should also end in a blowout, and with Burgundy and Gold fans crowning Brian Burns as their dream first-rounder.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.


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'I Am the Prospect': One big-time skill could get Maryland's Darnell Savage all the way into the NFL Draft's first round

'I Am the Prospect': One big-time skill could get Maryland's Darnell Savage all the way into the NFL Draft's first round

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

As the NFL morphs into a pass-first sport, the importance of a hard-hitting safety with enough speed to cover the deep middle grows each year. 

Maryland’s Darnell Savage Jr. hits every part of that description. 

Haven’t heard of Savage? The league has. 

NFL Network Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said that as the selection process grows closer Savage is emerging as a possible first round pick. Pro Football Focus listed Savage as the second-best safety prospect in the 2019 draft class. 

Savage’s greatest strength is his versatility. He can play both safety spots, and plenty of NFL talent evaluators also see him being able to play slot corner. 

Speed helps. Savage ran a 4.36 40-yard-dash. 

Measurables like that paired with a second-team All-Big Ten performance last season means Savage certainly doesn’t make it to Saturday of the draft. And he might make it all the way to Thursday. 

The Redskins can absolutely use a player like Savage. But a player like Savage might not make it to the Redskins' second round pick.