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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 28, 30 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman wasn't the most beloved player in Washington during his tenure with the organization, but he certainly was one of the more interesting.

Media members never knew when a routine interview at the corner's locker would turn into a passionate rant or some bizarre metaphor. That sort of unpredictability basically made every one of his pressers a must-attend event.

So, when Norman's time with the Burgundy and Gold came up during his Thursday Zoom call with reporters in Buffalo, it felt like a place where the now-Bills defender could really sound off. But instead, Norman kept things pretty simple in his answer.

"I don’t stick on what went wrong," he said. "I look at the positives. When everybody is trying to look at the negatives, they’re just harking on that and they think they know who you are just because of that. At the end of the day, I take a lot of bullets and I don’t come out and shoot them back. What for? It’s not needed."

If Norman wanted to lash out at his former coaching staff for how they used him or grumble about how he was essentially benched for the end of the 2019 campaign, it would've been somewhat understandable. He certainly deserves from blame for his less-than-sterling tenure with Washington, but others were culpable as well.

To his credit, however, he chose to mostly focus on his new employer.

"It feels so fresh," Norman said about the vibe with the Bills.

He did find a way to close out that particular part of the call with one unique quote, though. 

"What we’re trying to bring here is something truly special," he said. "I’m just gonna sprinkle a little bit of my pixie dust on it."

Well, for the sake of Bills fans, let's hope that pixie dust is different than whatever he was sprinkling in D.C. these last few years. The recipe for that pixie dust should probably be thrown away, honestly.

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Does Alex Smith make sense as Washington's quarantine emergency QB?

Does Alex Smith make sense as Washington's quarantine emergency QB?

Washington head coach Ron Rivera has a plan if he or any of his assistanct coaches contract the novel coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic. It's one that makes sense after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss practice time as a result. 

"We’ve talked about that as far as those things are concerned, the big thing is somebody will move up in terms of those," Rivera said about a coach testing positive. "We are fortunate, as in today’s game, that pretty much every position has a position assistant and they are younger coaches that have come in and are getting opportunities to learn and develop their craft. What may happen, depending on who gets sick, that person (position assistant) will elevate."

Rivera's plan for missed time from coaches is smart because the virus is everywhere, but what's the plan at the game's most important position? 

The Burgundy and Gold find themselves in an interesting spot at quarterback.

Presumed starter Dwayne Haskins looks to be poised for Week 1, healthy and slim and hearing great things about himself from coaches. Kyle Allen is positioned to be the backup, a capable player who knows the offensive system. Should Haskins get injured or disappoint, Allen can step in. 

That leaves Alex Smith. 

The veteran passer is in the midst of a Hollywood comeback story. He suffered a compound fracture of his leg about 20 months ago, and after multiple infections and more than a dozen surgeries, is fighting his way back to the football field. He's passed his medical physical, but not his football physical, and has been listed on Washington's Active/Physically Unable to Play list. That means he's not able to participate in team drills but he can work out at the facility and take full part in meetings and film sessions. 

RELATED: BURNING QUESTIONS: WHO WILL BREAK OUT FOR WASHINGTON IN 2020?

Smith's status could change at any moment, if he can pass the football physical. 

It's unclear if that will ever happen, but it could also present an opportunity. 

With Haskins and Allen playing maybe Washington would be wise to shut Smith down and have him in some form of isolation working out on his own. 

Why?

What happens if COVID-19 sweeps the Washington locker room, or even just the QB room, and suddenly there is nobody to line up under center? Then Smith could become the best option. 

It's a long-shot, maybe even ludicrous idea, but everything going on right now is some version of ludicrous. 

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Nobody could have predicted any of this a year ago, and the suggestion of bubbles and quarantines and contact tracing would have sounded like something from a science fiction movie. 

Well, now we're living in a science fiction movie. Accept the weird and try to roll with it. 

The teams that will excel this fall will do so because of adaptability and preparedness. There is zero guarantee that a quarantine QB makes sense, and even less confidence that he would play. But there's also zero guarantee Smith will ever pass the football physical and be able to play anyway. 

In the 1987 season Washington went 3-0 during that year's NFL players' strike, largely because the front office was prepared for the work stoppage and quickly built a team of replacement players. That winning streak propelled the team to a Super Bowl win. 

It happened because Washington acted smart, saw what possibly could happen with a player strike and executed a backup plan at a high level. 

Word is history repeats itself, and while there should be labor peace this fall, if 2020 has proven anything it's that whatever can go wrong will. Plan accordingly.

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