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One recurring theme from Kirk Cousins' camp: Market value

One recurring theme from Kirk Cousins' camp: Market value

Again bogged down in contract negotiations with their quarterback, it seems clear the Redskins and Kirk Cousins are having a tough time finding a dollar figure acceptable for both parties on a long-term deal.

Listening to comments about the contract talks, from Cousins himself and his agent, Mike McCartney, one recurring theme has emerged.

The Cousins' camp appreciates the franchise tag, and the high, fully-guaranteed salary it brings, but appears to resent the contractual mechanicism that keeps the quarterback from hitting the open market. 

McCartney made mention of the situation speaking to NFL Network at the combine:

At the end of the day [the Redskins are] the ones that placed the franchise tag on [Cousins]. A player, when his contract is up, looks forward to going to free agency to see what his value is on the open market. This is the second straight year that’s been taken away from Kirk so the Redskins did say something about, ‘hey, this guy is worth $24 million.’ Kirk didn’t ask for the franchise tag, I didn’t ask for the franchise tag. Still it’s a heck of a commitment from the club, and we view it that way.

Earlier this week, Cousins appeared on Adam Schefter's podcast. The headlines from that session came about Cousins' conversation with Redskins owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen about a possible trade and the club's commitment to their QB. Dig a little deeper into Cousins' comments, however, and the same market discussion emerged. From the podcast:

I see myself going through this negotiation process as there’s still time until the July 15 deadline. And from there you still have a whole 16-game season, and hopefully more games than that. And then from there, you can still be tagged again. And this entire process for me, from a contractual standpoint, has been framed by the franchise tag rules. It hasn’t really been framed by my market value. I would be content to go to the market and see what that value is and settle for whatever that is. But because of the franchise tag rules, and the team’s use of the tag, that just hasn’t taken place.​

And again:

As a result, my agent has had this whole negotiation from the perspective of the franchise tag rules. And until that system of the tag is removed from the equation, or removed from the collective bargaining agreement altogether, that’s gonna frame the entirety of my agent’s approach. We’ll just keep going. People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row.

Read it again. It's clear Cousins and his team see the tag in every part of the contract discussion. And within that framework, he is worth $24 million in 2017 and at least $28 million in 2018. Whether the Redskins agree with those terms are not, that is the framework of a deal that Cousins and his agent have repeatedly laid out. 

It's also interesting that Cousins nodded towards the elimination of the franchise tag in the CBA. Players generally hate being tagged because, like McCartney mentioned, they want to hit the open market and determine their value. Many players refuse to work out or show up for team functions when tagged. Cousins has not gone that route, but that comment, though subtle, likely shows his desire to hit the open market.

It's clear Cousins likes the tag, "I’ve always said the franchise tag is my friend, I’m not afraid of it," but free agency is the goal for almost every player. The tag prevents it from happening.

And in the Redskins case, the tag may be preventing a long-term deal for their franchise quarterback. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Wait, what? Report says Bill Belichick 'inquired' about coaching the Redskins

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Wait, what? Report says Bill Belichick 'inquired' about coaching the Redskins

Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history. He's won six Super Bowl titles and made the playoffs every year in the last decade. Other coaches were great - Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs among a few - but nobody is Belichick. 

That's what makes a recent report out of Boston so near impossible to believe. 

Belichick checked in on coaching in Washington? The Redskins? 

Those are valid points, I guess. Belichick spent much of his young life in Annapolis and has great affinity for that area. He's talked about that openly. 

The timeline also makes some sense. Many reports out of New England in 2017 showed a power struggle between Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft about what to do with legendary quarterback Tom Brady as then backup Patriots QB Jimmy Garropolo got closer to free agency. New England wouldn't be able to keep both, and there has been speculation that Belichick wanted to keep the younger passer. 

Eventually, Garropolo got traded to the 49ers, for a surprisingly low return, and New England went to two more Super Bowls, winning last year. 

This year, however, marked the first real time the Patriots looked mortal. Brady's completion percentage dipped to 60.8 percent, his lowest since 2013, and he threw fewer passing yards than any 16-game season since 2010. Now, Brady is a free agent and for the first time ever the possibility of playing somewhere else seems real, even if only somewhat realistic.

Still, Belichick coaching the Redskins seems like the longest of shots. Checking on a job - looking at financial considerations or asking about parameters - and actually taking a job can be two very different things. 

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3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

Jack Del Rio spoke to the Washington media on Wednesday, his first public session with reporters since being named Redskins defensive coordinator on Jan. 2.

While the conference call came more than two weeks after the team's announcement, it was certainly worth the wait.

Here are the three most critical takeaways from what Del Rio discussed.

1) He has no interest in discussing potential

At one point in the call, Del Rio was given the chance to set expectations for his group and explain what kind of potential he sees. It was the kind of question he could've easily answered, using glowing adjectives and praising many players.

But he didn't go that route. In fact, he went the opposite direction of that route

"It’s interesting to me that so much is made this time of year with thoughts on potential," Del Rio said. "Potential really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really amount to much. To me, it’s more about what we can get done and the work that we’re willing to put in and the idea that, ‘Look, we’re going to become a respected unit, OK?’"

That might've been the most compelling response from the longtime coach, and it's a mindset that people like Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Landon Collins will surely appreciate.  

2) Teaching matters quite a bit to him

During one explanation, Del Rio brought up current Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Why? To illustrate how someone can grow and improve with the proper coaching.

Woodyard was with the Broncos when Del Rio took over as defensive coordinator, and according to Del Rio, people told him not to worry too much about the linebacker. Woodyard was merely a special teamer who "wasn't going to amount to much."

Del Rio dismissed that advice, instead focusing on bettering Woodyard's fundamentals, which in turn would help his confidence spike. That former Denver special teamer was recently on the field for Tennessee's playoff win in Baltimore and is now one victory away from a Super Bowl.

That's just one example that sticks out to Del Rio and proves how necessary it is to assist in the continuous enhancement of a pro's skills.

"For us, we are going to look to teach and develop," he said. "To me, we have players here that are maybe considered in a specific light and they will have the chance to change that."

3) He absolutely wants Ron Rivera's input

Del Rio and Rivera are both former NFL linebackers who seem to share a lot of the same ideologies about what they want in a scheme and in their guys. For that reason, he is more than willing to get input from Rivera on the 2020 defense's plan.

"It’s an inclusive process," Del Rio said. "[Rivera] wanted to be sure that I knew, ‘Hey look, you’re going to call it. It’s your defense’. I said, ‘Hey coach, I’d love to have you in there any time you have to be in there with us.’ It’s our staff. We’re going to work together. The first thing I said to the defensive staff at our very first meeting, ‘This is not me. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what we are, what we’re going to become.’"

Between Del Rio and Rivera, the franchise now has two leaders who each can point to plenty of past successes in building defenses. The thought of that pair working together and applying what they know in Washington should have fans feeling very pleased.

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