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Need to Know: Redskins' QB Cousins recognizes value of continuity

Need to Know: Redskins' QB Cousins recognizes value of continuity

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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Redskins at Jaguars: Highs and lows from Week 15

Redskins at Jaguars: Highs and lows from Week 15

Just a month ago, things did not look so bad for the Redskins. They were 6-3 and in first place of the NFC East.

Now, losers of four straight games and on their fourth starting quarterback of the season, any slim hope the Redskins may still have of qualifying for the playoffs starts with a must-win in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars, who were a few plays away from a Super Bowl berth just this past January, are having a disappointing season in their own right. Jacksonville has just four wins and does not even look like a shadow of the team they were a season ago.

Both teams are coming off blowout losses, the Redskins came at the hands of the New York Giants 40-16, while the Jaguars fell 30-9 to the Tennessee Titans.

Well, one of these teams has to win Sunday. Here are the highs and lows from the game...

REDSKINS at JAGUARS: HIGHS and LOWS

FIRST QUARTER:

HIGHS: When starting your fourth quarterback of the season, the defense must step up in order to have a chance to win the game. On the Jaguars opening drive, the Redskins defense did just that. Ryan Kerrigan recorded his 10th sack of the season, stripping Cody Kessler in the process. Daron Payne recovered the fumble, and Washington's first offensive possession started inside the Jaguars 35 yard line.

After stopping the Jaguars on the ensuing drive, the Redskins put together a solid string of plays together. After the drive stalled due to an offensive pass interference penalty, Dustin Hopkins nailed a 46-yard field goal, giving the Redskins a 3-0 lead. In a game that looks like scoring will be a rarity, the Redskins can use all the points they can get.

After playing well below par over the past month or so, the Redskins defense started Sunday's contest by turning in one of their best quarters of the season. They've recorded three sacks thus far, each stalling a Jaguars drive. The Jacksonville offense has been nonexistent thus far.

LOWS: After the Redskins defense offense up with great field position, Josh Johnson and co. were unable to amount to anything. Johnson took a sack on third down, putting the Redskins out of field goal range.

The Redskins had an opportunity to turn a promising drive into a touchdown, but Floyd's offensive pass interference call forced the Redskins to settle for a field goal. In a game expected to be a low scoring affair, the Redskins cannot pass up opportunities to punch it in the end zone.

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Joe Flacco will be available, but the Redskins need to look elsewhere for a QB

Joe Flacco will be available, but the Redskins need to look elsewhere for a QB

At best, the Redskins quarterback situation for 2019 and beyond can be described as uncertain.

Washington has Alex Smith under contract for 2019 at $20 million, and another $21 million for 2020. Smith will be on the roster, certainly, but in what capacity is another question. 

Smith broke his leg in November and his recovery has been slow and painful. He had to undergo multiple surgeries to clean up an infection following his initial procedure to set the leg. 

Reports say there is growing optimism for Smith returning in 2019, though it's not a certainty. 

Washington also has Colt McCoy under contract for 2019, but he too suffered a broken leg this season. 

McCoy might return this season and should be fine for 2019, but for many Redskins fans there is a need for another QB in Washington. 

The draft will make the most sense. With all the money tied up in Smith, Washington can't afford to add some of the veteran free agents available next March. 

One name that has come up is Joe Flacco, who will hit the open market next year. Don't expect him to land with the Redskins though.

In a league where Chase Daniel and Josh McCown each make $10 million, Flacco is going to get paid. The number will be much higher than the Redskins can or should even want to afford. 

Want a more intriguing option from Baltimore?

How about Robert Griffin III. He's the Ravens third-string QB and will be a free agent after the season. He only made $1.1 million this year, and a similar deal could be expected for 2019. 

That probably won't happen, but there are still fans of Griffin inside the Redskins headquarters in Ashburn. 

The strategic way for the Redskins to add to their quarterback room will be through the draft. That's it. 

Anything else will be too expensive or just crazy. But sometimes crazy happens. 

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