Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 5, 32 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  


Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 24
—NFL Draft (4/27) 81
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 217

The Redskins week that was

After today nearly half of all the Super Bowls ever played will have passed by in succession without the Redskins having participated. Since Washington last participated the Cowboys have won three, the Giants two and the Eagles have been to one. The Bears have been once, the Panthers have been twice and the Saints have won one. So have the Buccaneers. The Cardinals had a chance to win one.

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If the Redskins had remained even a competitive team most they almost should have stumbled into one of the 50 Super Bowl spots that have been up for grabs since they beat the Bills in Minneapolis. But since 1991 they have had three seasons with double digit wins, all of them 10-win seasons, and 12 seasons with double-digit losses.

Part of the problem has been at quarterback. In the 25 seasons since their last Super Bowl appearance, 13 different quarterbacks have led the team in passing yards. If you look down the list of Super Bowl starters you will find many more in the Hall of Fame (John Elway, Joe Montana) or very good, long-term starter (Joe Theismann, Russell Wilson) categories than you find in the average or below club (Trent Dilfer, Rex Grossman).


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This does not mean that signing Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal will automatically get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Since 1991 they have finished in the bottom half in the league in points allowed 16 times including the last eight seasons in a row. But it is possible to have a solid defense while paying a quarterback in excess of $20 million as demonstrated lately by the Broncos, Panthers, and Seahawks, among others.

What it boils down to is drafting well and getting productive seasons out of low-wage players. Then when their rookie contracts are up the organization must make smart choices about who to keep on both sides of the ball. Even then, you have to stay healthy and get a break or two along the way. There isn’t a straight line from re-signing Cousins to the Super Bowl. But it’s a necessary starting point because if you don’t have a quarterback you don’t have a realistic chance.

Does it have to be Cousins? No. But good luck finding one in the free agent market. You could try to find one in the middle rounds of the draft, someone like Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. But, wait, the Redskins already did that when they drafted Cousins in the fourth round. The Seahawks have had to give Wilson the big deal and the Cowboys will have to do so with Prescott in a couple of years.

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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.