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Need to Know: Redskins-Cousins contract deadline FAQ's

Need to Know: Redskins-Cousins contract deadline FAQ's

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 17, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 197 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 55 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 24
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 33
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 47

Deadline day FAQ’s

What exactly is the deadline about?

The franchise-tagged Cousins and the Redskins have until 4 pm today to reach agreement on a long-term contract. If they don’t, Cousins will play out the year getting a fully-guaranteed salary of $23.94 million. The team and the player will not be able to talk about a long-term contract until the end of the season.

What are the chances that they will reach an agreement?

As the saying goes, the chances are slim and none and slim is packing up and getting ready to leave town. Things can always change but the two sides are reported to be too far apart for any meaningful negotiations to take place.

Why won’t they make a deal?

Simply put, they don’t agree on what the value of the deal should be. Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, wants to base the deal on the leverage that the player has in terms of the $23.94 million tag salary this year and either a tag salary of $28.7 million or $34.5 million or unfettered free agency in 2018. The Redskins are basing their offer more on his value relative to other quarterback salaries and on how a long-term Cousins contract would affect their available salary cap for the coming years. The gap between the two camps is just too big right now.

What would have to happen for a deal to come together?

The one man who could quickly change the dynamic here is Dan Snyder. The Redskins owner has largely left the negotiations in the hands of Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer. If he decides that it’s in the long-term interest of the franchise to do whatever needs to be done to lock up Cousins, he may be able to forge an agreement. But even a major Snyder push would not guarantee a deal getting done.

What happens if they don’t reach an agreement?

They would move on to training camp and, as Cousins said in the same situation last year, "see you on the other side". After the season, the Redskins and Cousins could again start having contract talks. Washington would have exclusive negotiating rights until the start of the league year in early March. A couple of weeks before the league year, the Redskins will face a decision about tagging him. They could use the transition tag, which would carry a salary of $28.7 million and it would give the Redskins the right to match an offer sheet that Cousins could negotiate with another team after the start of the league year. If they decline to match there would be no compensation. Or they could put the franchise tag on him for $34.5 million and lock him up for the 2018 season. At that salary, the latter option seems to be unrealistic but there have been plenty of surprises in this saga. The third option would be to let Cousins become an unrestricted free agent.

If there is no deal will it be a distraction for the 2017 season?

It’s possible but I think that fears that the situation will be a big problem are overblown. Sure, there will be a flurry of media coverage and when the team is in Richmond, Cousins and Jay Gruden and others will be asked about it. But last year when Cousins was playing on the tag, the talk quickly turned to who was looking good in training camp, who was injured, who was going to get cut and, once the season started, the upcoming game. There is no reason to think it won’t unfold in a similar manner this year. The exception might be if Cousins goes through an extended slump. That might generate some questions. But if the same thing happened after he had signed a big money deal, the questions would be there as well.

Can they trade Cousins if they don’t reach a deal?

By the rules, yes. In any practical sense, no. Just like any player under a contract without a no-trade clause, Cousins can be traded. But if the Redskins were at all inclined to deal their quarterback they would have done it before the draft, when they could have received some immediate return and would have had more time to plan for a 2017 season without Cousins. If there is no deal today it would not really be a surprising development. They knew it was a strong possibility when they decided not to deal him before the draft so nothing really has changed. Plus, why would a team trade anything of value for a good but not great QB who is on a one-year, $24 million deal?

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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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

trent_williams.jpg
USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

MORE REDSKINS COVERAGE

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

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