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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.

Timeline

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.

Redskins

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 Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

FEDEX FIELD -- There's an age-old saying, 'there's no place like home.'

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder called FedEx Field home for four seasons but departed this past offseason for New York on a lucrative three-year, $28.5 million deal. At the time, letting Crowder walk did not seem like a big deal for Washington. His final season with the Burgundy and Gold was injury-shortened and unproductive, and the price tag seemed a little steep for a slot receiver.

On Sunday, Crowder returned to Washington for the first time as a visitor, and he certainly felt right back at home. The 26-year-old receiver finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 34-17 victory over Washington, a game that was not really close at all.

"It means a lot. Great team win," Crowder said on the victory. "Just to come back here to FedEx [Field] against the Redskins, for me, it's a great feeling. I'm just glad to be winning."

In his first year sporting green and white instead of burgundy and gold, the slot receiver has been a valuable asset for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Through 10 games, Crowder has recorded 53 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns with a 73.8 percent catch rate. He's on pace for 85 catches and just under 900 yards on the season, both of which would be career highs. 

"Crowder did a great job of making catches when [he] needed to," Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said. 

Meanwhile, his former team has struggled mightily on offense, especially over the last month of the season. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' 45-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Guice snapped a 16 quarter touchdown-less streak Washington had been on. That's four full games without a touchdown. The streak was the longest of such in nearly two decades.

Crowder, who played in a relatively high-scoring offense during his time in Washington, was asked whether he was surprised about the team's struggles. 

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much," Crowder said. "I think they have a really good ball team over there across the board. Especially on defense, they have a lot of guys that are really good. Offensively, they got a lot of guys that make plays, young guys that make plays. I haven't really thought about what's going on with them."

With Crowder's departure, the Redskins expected second-year receiver Trey Quinn to fill the void. Quinn has been unproductive and disappointing. He finished Sunday's contest with just two catches for nine yards, an unacceptable performance from someone who Washington counted on to make a leap in 2019. In 10 games, Quinn has a total of 198 receiving yards, with no more than 36 yards in any contest. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin's emergence as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise lost season for Washington, but even his production doesn't match Crowder's. 

Crowder was certainly happy to defeat his old team but downplayed having any extra juice entering the matchup.

"There wasn't any extra motivation. I just approached it as another game," Crowder said. "It was just a little different going against the guys that I played four years with. I'm familiar with a lot of guys over there. For me, that's the only thing. For my preparation, I just approached it as another game."

Crowder may have seen Sunday as just another game, but the Redskins should look at his performance and see a player they maybe should have kept.

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In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

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In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

Getting blown out by the New York Jets, one would think that any touchdown the Redskins would potentially score when trailing 34-3 would mean nothing. In most cases, that would be correct.

But when Dwayne Haskins connected with Derrius Guice for a 45-yard score, it was actually a very notable touchdown.

The touchdown is important for multiple reasons. One being that it is Haskins' first NFL touchdown. Making his first home start, the quarterback didn't have the performance many would have hoped for. But, he does now have one touchdown.

While it was the first for Haskins, it was also the first for Guice. The second-year running back who has missed a lot of time with injuries returned for the Week 11 battle and show the playmaking ability that has many excited to see him on the field.

Last, but definitely not least, the score put an end to the horrid touchdown-drought the Redskins had been in. Before Guice crossed the goal line, Washington hadn't scored in 16 quarters. Yes, that is the equivalent to four games.

But alas, the Redskins have a touchdown and so do Haskins and Guice. Sunday was a disappointing day, but at least there was this moment.

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