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Redskins Playbook: Plenty of hurdles but 2 possible paths to Kirk Cousins long-term deal

Redskins Playbook: Plenty of hurdles but 2 possible paths to Kirk Cousins long-term deal

With just two business days remaining before the end of the negotiating period, two possible paths to a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins remain for the Redskins. Both are long shots, but that doesn't mean one or the other can't happen. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Remember, Cousins will be locked into a one-year franchise tag worth $24 million for the 2017 season unless Washington and the quarterback's representatives agree to a new contract before 4 p.m. on Monday. How can that be avoided? 

  1. Cousins blinks - The central part of this contract dispute centers on the major amount of leverage that Kirk Cousins holds in contract talks. If he doesn't sign long-term now, he will make $24 million in 2017, and should the Redskins elect to tag him again in 2018, he will make at least another $28 million. That's on top of the $20 million he made on the franchise tag in 2016. So, projecting out, Cousins will make at least $52 million in the next two years, and potentially much, much more should he hit free agency. There is, however, the allure of guaranteed money. NFL contracts are not guaranteed. Odds are the Redskins will make one legit contract offer, guaranteeing at least the $52 million but likely much more, before Monday's deadline. To actually pursue the free agency path, Cousins will have to look at an offer to make him a wildly rich man, and turn it down. it's possible, though not probable, as the clock approaches the final minutes of this negotiation, Cousins will want the very lucrative bird in hand rather than the millions upon millions possibly in the bush. Some analysts and former players think this exact scenario could play out. Outlook: Unlikely
  2. Money talks - Throughout the contract process with Cousins, both in 2016 and now in 2017, the Redskins have shown a hesitancy to offer Cousins the top-of-the-market money his situation dictates. The argument over if Cousins is worth being the highest paid player in the NFL seems largely moot; scarcity at the QB position throughout the NFL will force the issue. For the Redskins to get a signature on the dotted line, team owner Dan Snyder must decide to get a deal done, regardless of the cost. What that might look like remains to be seen, but assuredly, there is a dollar figure that would get Kirk Cousins to sign with Washington beyond 2017. This could mean more than $75 million guaranteed, an outrageous figure, but the word for weeks has been that Snyder took a more active role in contract talks with the Cousins camp. Outlook: Still unlikely, but more possible than the first scenario. 

If one of the above doesn't happen, and neither seems likely, Monday will probably be a slow news day. 



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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

The most significant thing to come from Trent Williams' spontaneous chat with the media on Wednesday is that the left tackle expects to be ready for training camp.

But two other topics Williams covered while talking were his initial impressions of new teammates Alex Smith and Derrius Guice. 

And while having one player compliment other players in the offseason is the second-most common thing in the NFL behind the Browns losing games, No. 71 went beyond the normal, clichéd positivity you're used to hearing. 

He was first asked about Smith, a QB he'd only met at the Pro Bowl until these offseason sessions in Ashburn.

“He’s a winner," Williams said. "As you all know, you don’t win in this league without a quarterback, so us being able to have one and have one right now, it does everything for our team and our attitude and the faith we have to win."

Next came a question about Guice, the rookie who looks like the most talented running back to date that Williams will have the pleasure of blocking for. What are his thoughts on the LSU product?

"When you watch him on film it's like he's been here before," Williams observed. "He's a specimen."

As for the 'Skins being able to snag Guice where they did in the draft, the 29-year-old admitted he was quite surprised.

"Extremely lucky to get him in the second round," he said. "I don't know how that happened... It's not going to take very long before people recognize him as an elite NFL talent."

Williams is coming off of surgery, will turn 30 in July and, during last season, spoke about how the injuries he constantly fought through started to take a toll on him. Ready to hear something sad? He's never won a playoff game.

So, for a veteran who's aging like him and who hasn't captured anything of signifigance yet, having confidence and trust in his backfield is paramount. Fortunately, judging by the quotes above, it sounds like Williams is already there when it comes to Smith and Guice.