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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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Former Redskins backup QB Mark Sanchez retires from NFL to become ESPN analyst

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Former Redskins backup QB Mark Sanchez retires from NFL to become ESPN analyst

Mark Sanchez's days as an NFL quarterback have finally come to an end.

The short-lived Redskins QB backup will retire from the NFL to take a position as a college football analyst on ESPN, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Sanchez, infamously known as the "butt fumbler," played two games for the Redskins last season after Colt McCoy suffered a season-ending injury. During those two games, Sanchez threw three interceptions and had 138 passing yards.

Josh Johnson ultimately replaced Sanchez and finished out the year as the QB for the Redskins.

Sanchez's career initially seemed incredibly bright. He was drafted fifth in the 2009 NFL draft by the New York Jets where he led them to back-to-back AFC Championship Series appearances during his first two seasons. But his tenure with the Jets only lasted two more seasons before bouncing around the NFC East from 2014-18 until finally landing with the Redskins.

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10 Training Camp Questions: Trent Williams, holdouts, and distractions

10 Training Camp Questions: Trent Williams, holdouts, and distractions

After three straight seasons missing the playoffs and two consecutive years finishing 7-9, the Redskins need laser focus during their training camp time. On the current pace, that isn't going to happen. 

The team's best player, left tackle Trent Williams, won't be with the Redskins in Richmond as he's holding out for either a new contract or some sort of armistice with the team's medical staff.

Unquestionably, the Williams contract holdout has become a major distraction for this Redskins team. 

Don't think so? Think about these situations:

  • Every day when he speaks at the podium, head coach Jay Gruden will be peppered with questions about Williams' status and if there are any updates about the situation.
  • When veteran QB Case Keenum speaks at the podium, not having Trent Williams will be among the first questions he's asked. 
  • When rookie QB Dwayne Haskins speaks at the podium, not having Trent Williams will be among the first questions he's asked. 
  • Every offensive lineman will be asked about practicing without Williams. 
  • Every defensive lineman will be asked about practicing without Williams.

Get the picture? The Williams sideshow will take over training camp, in a way that even a QB battle cannot supersede. That's perhaps the craziest part about this Redskins camp in Richmond - all eyes should be on Dwayne Haskins battling it out against Case Keenum. Instead, for Redskins fans, one eye will remain on Instagram for the latest subtle update from the Williams' camp. 

Can it end? Will it end? Only Williams knows those answers. Maybe Bruce Allen too. Allen did explain that he knows the truth of the situation when asked about the Williams holdout last month. 

If Williams demands major changes to the Redskins medical staff, that seems unlikely. If Williams demands major changes to his existing contract, that has two years and nearly $30 million remaining, that seems unlikely. 

But could a deal be worked out? Washington fans should hope so.

Maybe the team can increase the guaranteed portion of cash in 2020, when his salary is high but the guarantees are minimal. Additionally, maybe team owner Dan Snyder can broker some sort of clear-the-air meeting between Williams and the medical side. Snyder is close with Williams and this could be a spot to positively wield his influence. 

It's entirely possible Williams is back before Week 1 in Philadelphia, maybe even likely, But that game isn't for more than six weeks. Williams knows all this, knows this is his best spot for leverage. The Redskins are thin at tackle depth and have nobody close to replacing his level of play. This holdout could certainly stretch into the middle of the preseason, and perhaps longer. 

Whatever happens know this: Williams' holding out of training camp is a big deal, and it will be a distraction. 

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