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Need to Know: Is a Redskins-Cousins deal not only possible but probable?

Need to Know: Is a Redskins-Cousins deal not only possible but probable?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 20, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor was born on this day in 1989.

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 82 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 27
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 74

Are things looking up for a Cousins deal?

Four weeks from today, the Redskins will either have Kirk Cousins locked up for the next several seasons or they will be in real danger of losing him as a free agent in 2018.

While I haven’t conducted a poll, I think that most of us who cover the Redskins on a regular basis don’t believe that a deal will get done before the July 17 deadline. On our last #RedskinsTalk podcast I put the chance of a Cousins extension by the deadline at 15 percent. Again, no poll has been done but I’d say my guess is somewhat on the optimistic side of average among those of us on the Redskins beat.

You’ve all heard it. Too much bad blood over last year’s lowball offer. Cousins is wary of organizational stability. He wants to hit the jackpot as a free agent quarterback next year. A reunion with Kyle Shanahan is the one and only thing he wants.

And although all those factors may still be in play, one national NFL analyst thinks that a Cousins extension is a slam dunk, if you consider a four in five chance to be a slam dunk, anyway.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has long been bullish on a Cousins deal getting done this year and now that the deadline is approaching he has not changed his stance. He says that there is an 80 percent chance of a Cousins extension by July 15. That’s bold.

His logic is simple—there is too much for the Redskins to lose.

The Redskins can’t afford to go back to the well at the quarterback position. Years of churning through quarterbacks pushed them to make the big trade for Robert Griffin III. They can’t risk another big deal for a quarterback. Cousins may not be a Hall of Fame caliber QB but he can win some games for them. They have him, they need to keep him.

They can't go back to the abyss. For as much as Cousins can reasonably talk about $25M a year, he and his representatives are smart, savvy people, and if it ends up being $23M a year and four seasons are in essence guaranteed by the salary structure, that's a major win for the former fourth round pick. I don't see this falling apart. There's just too much at stake for both sides.

I’ll add that there also is incentive on Cousins’ side to settle down in Washington. Last week, he talked about being burned out from preparing too hard by the time the season opener rolled around last year. And he was headed into his third year in Jay Gruden’s offense. If he goes elsewhere, he would be starting over in a new offense. He would be back to full-time intense preparation. Cousins will be 30 in 2018 with a young child and he might not want to start from scratch.

That said, I still think that La Canfora’s odds are too high. I get the Redskins’ incentive to get it done but I’m not sure that $23 million per year will get it done. But if you are looking for reasons for optimism, there you go.

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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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

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

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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