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One month 'til franchise tag deadline, two Kirk Cousins quotes stand out

One month 'til franchise tag deadline, two Kirk Cousins quotes stand out

By now every Redskins fan knows the story. Heck, every NFL fan knows the story. If the Redskins and Kirk Cousins can't get a long-term deal done in the next month, the quarterback will play his second straight season on the franchise tag. In turn he will make $24 million, guaranteed, and be eligible for free agency in 2018.

While the Redskins and Cousins have voiced positivity over the last several weeks about contract talks, still, little actual movement towards a deal has transpired. The team promoted Doug Williams to run football personnel this week, but Williams himself said Eric Schaffer would continue to run point on the Cousins contract, with the help of Bruce Allen and perhaps even Dan Snyder. 

What do the promotions mean to Cousins? 

This quote jumped out from Wednesday when Cousins was asked about his relationship with Schaffer.

Eric’s done a great job all along. He’s very smart. This isn’t his first rodeo. I have a lot of faith in him not only in handling my situation, but when my situation is handled, handling everybody else’s. I have faith in that. But make no mistake, there are titles ahead of him, you know? And those people make decisions too. So, yes, Eric has a big role. There are people above him who have bigger roles, and that’s why their titles are President and Head Coach and so on. So it’s a team effort making decisions and Eric certainly has a voice in that – a big voice.

Read it again. Cousins knows this decision will likely come from Allen and Snyder. That's fair too, as the organization will likely have to offer a contract with a value north of $120 million. That is crazy cash, even by NFL standards. 

It's also interesting Cousins mentioned the head coach's role. Jay Gruden named Cousins the Redskins starting QB before the 2015 season. The move rewarded both men and the team, yet, Cousins' statement almost suggests he questions if his coach has advocated for a deal. Or that as Gruden's role in the organization has grown - as has been reported by CSN and elsewhere - perhaps his increased clout can get a deal done. 

One other quote stood out. Cousins talked about his agent, Mike McCartney, and their saga.

I hired Mike [McCartney] because I trust him to do the job and I feel like he’s done a very good job all the way along and while things he’s told me I haven’t always liked to hear or they haven’t always been easy to act on, he’s always been right as I look back. So I have great trust in his counsel and his approach and I’ll definitely be leaning on him as we go forward all the way through it. 

McCartney has been steadfast that the franchise tag sets the annual value for any long-term contract. That means last year McCartney would not enter into negotiations with Cousins making less than $20 million per year. This year, that figures jumps to $24 million per year.

Asked about the $24 million annual salary, Schaffer said he could not talk about specific contract numbers. With the news that Snyder is growing more involved, perhaps the Redskins will get to that number, but the clock is ticking. 

Though he was fired by the organization in March, former general manager Scot McCloughan only said nice things about the Redskins since his exit. He did have some interesting comments about McCartney, however, as it related to Cousins' contract.

"It's a big business," McCloughan said (click here for full audio). "The agent's got to be understandable that they're involved in it too. It's not just us and the player, the agent has to be able to understand."

Speaking with people close to the Redskins, there has been some tension between McCartney and the brass. The perception is that Cousins' agent wants to squeeze every dime out of this contract, with the visibility of this deal magnified around the NFL. 

Listen to Cousins, and he clearly trusts McCartney. He should, in two seasons, Cousins stands to make $44 million. If you're the client, your agent's job is to get every dollar. 

The Redskins have one month to pay up for a long-term deal, or this saga will begin anew after the 2017 season. Just listen. 


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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy


NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.


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NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

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NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

The NFL is not eliminating kickoffs altogether for the 2018 season. But at the NFL spring meetings in Atlanta, Ga., owners did agree to make significant changes to the third phase of football.

The NFL's new kickoff rules begin with having five players on each side of the ball (previously they could line up six on one side). Also, they cannot line up more than 1-yard from the restraining line, which is the line where the ball is placed on the tee. This prohibits the kickoff team from getting a running start downfield. 

At least two players must be lined up outside the yard-line numbers and at least two players lined up between the numbers and the hash mark. In years past, three players had to be lined up outside the inbounds line with one outside the yard-line number. At least eight players need to be in the 15-yard "setup zone," leaving three players outside of the "setup zone." Before, all kickoff return players had to be behind their restraining line. These changes will place players closer to where the ball is kicked in order to reduce speed and the amount of space on the play. 

Wedge blocks are no longer allowed. Players who were initially lined up in the "setup zone" are the only ones who can now come together for a double-team block. In the past, only 2-man wedge blocks were allowed and could take place on the field anywhere. The purpose of this change is to limit the possible blocking schemes by the kickoff return team. 

No player on the receiving side of the ball can cross the restraining line or block in the 15-yard area from the kicking team's restraining line until the ball is touched or hits the ground. Before, the receiving team could move past their restraining line and block as soon as the ball was kicked. This change gets rid of the "jump-set/attack" block.

Finally, a ball will be considered dead if it's not touched by the receiving team and touches the ground in the end zone. In the past, the ball was dead once it was downed in the end zone by the receiving team. This change means there's no requirement for the kickoff returner to down the ball in the end-zone. 

If that was a lot to dissect, check out the video below. 

In addition to new kickoff rules, ejections are now reviewable. In March, a rule passed that officials can make an ejection after a replay, but not they can also undo an ejection after a replay. 

The league also adjusted the official language for Use of a Helmet rule.