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Redskins QB Cousins on contract: 'We all don’t look much further than this season'

Redskins QB Cousins on contract: 'We all don’t look much further than this season'

Kirk Cousins appeared on Redskins Nation on CSN on Tuesday. Host Larry Michael talked with the sixth-year quarterback about leadership and how the offense might look this season before getting to Cousins’ contract status.

Cousins is under contract with the Redskins for this season via the franchise tag. He has signed the tender, giving him a one-year guaranteed salary of $24 million. The Redskins and Cousins have until July 15 to agree to a long-term contract. If they don’t, they will have to wait until 2018, when the Redskins tag options are very expensive, meaning that Cousins could well hit free agency.

RELATED: Redskins one per player one-liners--Offense

When Cousins has been asked about his contract this offseason he has been very vague and generic in his comments. What he told Michael was more of the same.

“I think the short answer is, it’s been positive. I feel good about where we’re headed,” said Cousins. “I like coach [Jay] Gruden’s quote yesterday where he said, ‘I’m not really worried about it because we’ve got him for this year and that’s really all that matters.’ That’s the way I’ve always felt. There’s so many guys on this team who are on one-year deals. Even if it says it’s a three-or four-year contract the only guarantees are this year so many of us are playing on one-year deals, I’m not the only one. We’re not going to have long careers if we don’t have a good year this year. We all don’t look much further than this season.

“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches. I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games.”

Cousins has told others that from his perspective, he’s just one of many players on one-year deals. It has been his way of saying that he is perfectly willing to play the season on the franchise tag. That makes him different in a league where many players will sacrifice future forays in free agency for the security offered by agreeing to a long-term deal and getting a signing bonus, the only money guaranteed in most NFL contracts.

MORE REDSKINS: Tandler's rookie camp practice observations 

That’s smart negotiating on Cousins’ part. You have to be prepared to stick with what you have or the other side can take advantage of it. It’s also smart to keep as many options open as possible. When Michael asked him about the advantages of signing with the Redskins, Cousins make it clear that he is perfectly happy to stay in Washington.

“When you start listing all the pros, there are a lot,” he said. “This organization is second to none in terms of history, the former players, the Super Bowl trophies, an owner who’s committed to winning, who has passion about wanting his team to be successful, a head coach who I have a good relationship with, there’s been continuity there.  Continuity is very important in the game of football. Teammates that I love and respect and I feel really good about, not just the offensive line but stars like Josh Norman and Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, the list goes on and on, Chris Thompson. All these guys I really enjoy playing with. So there’s a lot of positives. My wife and I love living in this city. I can go on and on. We feel really good about having been drafted here and our five years here.”

Successful starting quarterbacks rarely change teams, in part because of the advantages of continuity. Cousins could be reluctant to pull up stakes and start over someplace else in 2018, when he will turn 30. That doesn’t mean he will give the Redskins any sort of a hometown discount to stay. But he could be open to staying for a market-value offer.

These negotiating methods are the tip of the iceberg; most of the real negotiations are going on under the surface, out of our view. And reports that Cousins will be very reluctant to sign a long-term deal with the Redskins persist.

The talk is fine but it’s cheap. Serious negotiations are unlikely to take place until just before the July 15 deadline. We will see if the Redskins can persuade Cousins to get himself off of that one-year deal.

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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Kyle Allen was 'surprised' by trade to Redskins but thrilled to reunite with Ron Rivera

Kyle Allen was 'surprised' by trade to Redskins but thrilled to reunite with Ron Rivera

Kyle Allen was in his car on Monday, driving home from a workout when his phone started to ring.

The 24-year-old quarterback answered, and just moments later, found out he had been traded from the Carolina Panthers to the Washington Redskins. Allen, who started 12 games for Carolina a season ago, was not expecting the move at all, despite seeing the Panthers sign quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker in free agency.

"It's a shock. I wasn't expecting it," Allen told Redskins Nation. "I signed a contract with Carolina two weeks ago. But I know contracts don't really mean anything."

Over the 24 hours that followed after the trade, Allen started to process it all. He quickly realized how much sense the move made, and the situation he would be walking into in Redskins Park was something he was plenty familiar with.

Allen reunited with head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who were both in Carolina the past two seasons. With the NFL offseason full of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen has a ton of familiarity with Turner's offensive system. Although Rivera told a radio interview on Wednesday that the team plans to enter training camp with second-year passer Dwayne Haskins as the starter, Allen was brought in to compete with him, too.

"I got to think about it a lot the past 24 hours, and I'm excited to be back with coach Rivera and coach Turner," Allen said.  "The more I sat down and thought about it after the call, the more it makes complete sense. I think the continuity of the system, being with them before, the coaches, the need for that spot on the team, I think it's perfect. The more I think about it, the more I get excited about it."

The third-year passer has had plenty of twists and turns during his football career. As a true freshman at Texas A&M, Allen started 10 games for the school. But as a sophomore, the passer was forced to split time with another talented quarterback, current Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. Allen transferred to Houston following the 2015 season (Murray would transfer as well), and was forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. Allen started just four games for Houston in 2017 before being benched. Unhappy with his situation, Allen forewent his final year of eligibility and declared for the 2018 Draft.

Unsurprisingly, Allen went undrafted. But it was Rivera who gave him a chance to compete, bringing him into Carolina as an undrafted free agent. After injuries to both Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke, Allen made his first career start in December of 2018, leading the Panthers to victory. After another Newton injury early last season, Allen emerged as the team's starter. Just a year and a half after going undrafted, Allen started 12 games for Rivera's club.

Once again back with Rivera, Allen could not be happier.

"It's awesome. It's incredible to play for Ron Rivera," Allen said. "I've told a lot of people, he's my favorite head coach I've ever played for, and I've played for my fair share."

Allen then went into detail about his respect for the Redskins head coach, and how Rivera gave him an opportunity when no one else did.

"He's always there for you. He's a player's coach," Allen said. "Wins or losses, he was always at my locker after the game, talking me through it, helping me through it. He always had that confidence in me, he always believed in me, and he gave me such a great opportunity. I was undrafted two years ago, and he saw something in me. Even after they cut me, he brought me back and gave me the opportunity to make a name for myself. Can't ask for anything more from him, he's been an incredible coach every time I've been with him."

Coincidentally, Allen's final game working with Rivera was against the Redskins, a Washington victory this past December. Rivera was let go by Carolina two days later. Now, they're back together.

"I'm not too fond of that memory, to be honest with you," Allen joked. "I'm glad I'm on the other side now."

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Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': Young Redskins will get their chances under Ron Rivera

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Amazon Prime

Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': Young Redskins will get their chances under Ron Rivera

Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode four, "Look Good Play, Good."

After he was fired by the Panthers and before he decided to take over the Redskins, Ron Rivera studied a handful of Washington games to evaluate the team's roster. While doing so, one aspect jumped out at him in particular.

"For the most part, the way they play, the way they fought, some of these young guys didn’t know any better," the coach explained during his first presser back in January. "They showed up and they played hard. That was impressive to me."

Rivera has since reiterated that the Burgundy and Gold's collection of young and hungry talent was a key reason he chose to land with the Redskins. When you check out their depth chart, it's easy to see what he means.

Currently, the following players are all between 22 and 26 years old: Dwayne Haskins, Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Tim Settle, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, Cole Holcomb, Montez Sweat, Terry McLaurin, Jonathan Allen, Fabian Moreau, Ryan Anderson, Landon Collins, Matt Ioannidis and Chase Roullier. 

Every name on that list figures to factor in to whether Rivera is able to right the Redskins. They better be prepared for that effort, too, because he's likely going to lean on them often, even through their mistakes. 

In episode four of Amazon's 2018 All Or Nothing show, which followed Rivera's Panthers, DJ Moore has a very forgettable afternoon (ironically, in a game at FedEx Field). The then-rookie fumbles twice, once on a punt and once after a catch, and those turnovers lead to 10 points for the hosts. In the end, Carolina falls to Washington, 23-17. 

Afterward, a reporter asked Rivera how he balances showing a struggling, unseasoned pro he's still on his side versus punishing that pro when he continues to slip up.

"This is all about building confidence," he answered. "DJ is going to be a part of what we do for a long time and we’ll stick with him."

It was a simple answer and one that hinted at a simple philosophy: If you're suiting up for Rivera, he's going to trust you to contribute and also stand by you if those contributions don't come right away, because he knows that could make the difference in the long-term future.

That should most excite those who want to see Dwayne Haskins succeed. A quarterback with little NFL experience such as Haskins is going to have days where the interceptions stack up and the yards don't. It sounds like Rivera will ride out those days in order to see the ones where Haskins breaks out.

It's a mindset that'll apply everywhere else, too. Whatever draft picks the Redskins end up with in April, some of the free agents he's already acquired and the rest of the 26-and-under group outlined above should be in line for lots of snaps and lots of chances to grow. The goal is that the majority of them will improve in that action and form the core Rivera so badly wants.

Of course, even a leader with as much time as Rivera has to correct a franchise will run out of patience. Plus, he's made a point to keep veterans like Adrian Peterson and bring in others like Thomas Davis to ensure there's a crew of established options to call on in 2020 — a season he'd no doubt like to end with a trip to the playoffs.

But realistically, the Redskins will enter 2020 coming off of a 3-13 campaign, meaning expectations should be modest at best. One thing fans can expect, though? Seeing young Redskins on the field in main roles every weekend.

Look for Rivera to prioritize building their confidence immediately in hopes of building a winner eventually. Year 1 could be a slog because of that, but the years that follow could very much be worth it.

Links to past reviews:

Episode 1: Rivera doesn't flinch after adversity hits

Episode 2: Rivera shows his feelings on distractions

Episode 3: Special teams truly mean something to Ron