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Report: Kirk Cousins "nowhere close" in contract talks with Redskins

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Report: Kirk Cousins "nowhere close" in contract talks with Redskins

One huge issue hangs over the Washington Redskins offseason - what will happen with free agent QB Kirk Cousins. And, at least according to one report, the two sides are nowhere close to a deal. GM Scot McCloughan last talked to reporters at the Senior Bowl, and his message on Cousins was that he hoped the quarterback would stay in Washington but a new deal was not a certainty.

CBS' Jason La Canfora reported that "Cousins and the Washington Redskins were nowhere close to a new deal coming out of the Senior Bowl, sources said, and Washington very well might have to apply the franchise tag in order to retain primary negotiating rights on the quarterback."

On the surface, none of this is new. McCloughan has been crystal clear that the franchise tag is an option for Cousins, and some could argue that it's the correct course. While Cousins put up strong stats in 2015, he was up and down for much of the season before closing the year on a very impressive streak. It's not unheard of for a QB to roll off one great year and to fall back the following season; perhaps McCloughan wants to see Cousins produce for another year before opening up the bank vaults.

MORE REDSKINS: HELP NEEDED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LINE?

The flip side, however, is that if the Redskins do apply the franchise tag to Cousins, and the QB performs well again in 2016, the cost to keep Kirk will jump. Look at what happened to Baltimore with Joe Flacco when he was allowed to play out his contract as an example. Flacco delivered, mightily, and the subsequent $100 million plus deal has been an albatross to the Ravens ever since. The comparison isn't exact, but the point remains that trouble can arise letting Cousins play 2016 on a franchise tag.

Then there is the elephant in the Redskins room: Robert Griffin III. If the report is true and McCloughan and Cousins' representatives are truly nowhere close on a deal, might that have any impact on the 'Skins reluctance to release RG3? Sure, McCloughan has until March 9 to release Griffin, and the GM may just be taking his time. But if the negotiations between Washington and Cousins are truly breaking down, maybe Griffin is more in play for 2016 than most expect.

It seems a stretch. A big one. Smart money would still suggest that the Redskins work out a deal with Cousins, and this is all just negotiating tactics, but something to keep an eye on for the next few weeks.

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Redskins get Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan into Pro Bowl and another 5 to alternate team

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Redskins get Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan into Pro Bowl and another 5 to alternate team

The Redskins landed two players on the Pro Bowl roster in left tackle Trent Williams and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. This marks the seventh and fourth Pro Bowl honors for the players, respectively. 

Williams has been named to the past seven Pro Bowls, a remarkable feat, and joins Ken Houston as the only Washington players to make seven straight Pro Bowls. He trails only Charley Taylor (8) and Chris Hanburger (9) in total Pro Bowl selections.

After a two-sack performance last Sunday in Jacksonville moved him into second all-time on the Redskins sack list, Kerrigan got named to his fourth Pro Bowl and third straight selection. He has 11 sacks on the season, his third straight year with double-digit sacks. 

Beyond Kerrigan and Williams, five other Redskins players were named alternates to the Pro Bowl: D.J. Swearinger, Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, Tress Way, and Adrian Peterson. 

Many thought Swearinger or Way would make the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers, but both players came up just short. Things look good for Swearinger to make it to Orlando, as Giants safety Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl squad but will miss the game with an injury. 

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How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

A week after it felt borderline irresponsible to talk about the Redskins' 2018 playoff chances, it now feels completely necessary. 

Sure, you can make a pretty easy argument that this team doesn't look like a postseason team. But the fact of the matter is they're in a position to possibly become one in a handful of days.

And who's going to have a lot of say in whether the 'Skins do advance beyond Week 17? Kirk Cousins, because DUH.

Thanks to Dallas' Week 15 loss, Washington isn't out of the division hunt yet. However, their far more likely path to the playoffs is via the wild card, a spot that Cousins and the Vikings currently occupy.

To take that spot, the 'Skins really need to win out (they could still take the sixth seed by finishing 8-8, but that would take a lot more help). That means, first and foremost, Josh Johnson has to lead the Burgundy and Gold to victories over the Titans and the Eagles, which would have them finish the year at 9-7.

If that happens, the Redskins will then only require one Minnesota loss in the next two weeks to steal the second wild card. The Vikings square off with the Lions and Bears to wrap up their schedule, with the former happening in Detroit and the latter taking place in Minneapolis. 

The Eagles are also a factor in all of this, but Jay Gruden's squad could make them less of one by beating them in the 2018 finale.

Earlier this season, when everything was going right for the Redskins, it looked like a January showdown between Cousins' former franchise and his current one could happen. Now, though, the two squads are vying for the same position. 

So, it's really simple, 'Skins supporters — root for your guys to win two more and root against Cousins as well. This time around, No. 8 coming up short down the stretch would really benefit Washington.

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