Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 16, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 8; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 16

Injuries of note:
Out:
LB Compton (knee), LB Cravens (elbow)
Limited: G Lauvao (groin), C Long (concussion), OT Nsekhe (ankle), TE Reed (shoulder), S Blackmon (concussion)
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

Did Kirk Cousins leave a strong hint that he wants to be back in Washington in 2017 and beyond? He was asked whether the possibility of Chris Thompson taking a knee instead of continuing into the end zone on his go-ahead 25-yard touchdown run just after the two-minute warning had been discussed prior to the play. The fifth-year veteran said no, but the interesting part came near the end of his answer.

“The longer we play together as a unit – and when I’m talking about we, I mean  from Jay [Gruden] to Sean [McVay] to myself to Chris Thompson to Trent Williams to Pierre [Garçon] – the longer we play together, the more you can become situational masters and be very good in situational football like that situation at the end of the game, where we all know, ‘We’ve been here before, hey, let’s handle this the best way possible and be a mature football team,’” said Cousins.

 

The appeal of playing on a "mature" football team is one reason why good quarterbacks rarely change teams. They get into a system with a coach and a group of receivers and other players and have success. When it comes time to gn a new contract he weighs the risk of starting all over again with a new coach, a new system and different players against the attraction of possibly making a few more dollars. Of course, that’s really a few million dollars and the quarterback’s current team has to make a competitive offer. But quality quarterbacks are rarely lured away.

In fact, by one definition they are never lured away. No quarterback who has passed for 4,000 yards in at least two consecutive seasons has never changed teams the next year (stats via Pro Football Reference). Cousins has now surpassed 4,000 yards passing for the second straight year.

There’s a first time for everything and the past does not necessarily guarantee the future. Just because Cousins pointed out an advantage to staying put doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be back. But they are part of the tea leaves pointing to the probability of a Cousins return to Washington in 2017.

The Redskins can force a return by using the franchise tag on him for a second season. That would cost them just under $24 million for the season but with the salary cap slated to rise some $10 million-$15 million next year they will be able to handle that.

The better solution would be to sign him to a long-term deal. They can’t even start to negotiate such a contract until the Redskins play their last game so it’s difficult to assess the chances of Cousins and the team coming to an agreement. But if Cousins sees a lot of advantages to staying put and continuing what he has had going with the Redskins the chances are considerably better.

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