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What does the Gruden extension mean for Kirk Cousins’ future with the Redskins?

What does the Gruden extension mean for Kirk Cousins’ future with the Redskins?

The Redskins have agreed to an extension for Jay Gruden, a deal that keeps him under contract through the 2020 season. That leaves the Redskins with one important deal done and another, perhaps more important contract yet to be done.

The still-unsettled situation is Kirk Cousins’ long-term deal. He’s under team control for 2017 under the franchise tag. Beyond that, his future in Washington is very much up in the air. But might extending Gruden help persuade Cousins to stay in Washington?

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Perhaps it will. While Cousins generally has been non-committal when asked if he would like to stay in Washington in the long term, he gave a hint as to how much he values continuity when asked about a situational football in December.

The longer we play together as a unit – and when I’m talking about we, I mean from Jay to Sean [McVay] to myself to Chris Thompson to Trent Williams to Pierre [Garçon] – the longer we play together, the more you can become situational masters and be very good in situational football like that situation at the end of the game, where we all know, ‘We’ve been here before, hey, let’s handle this the best way possible and be a mature football team.’

McVay, the offensive coordinator for the previous three seasons, is now gone, having moved up to become the head coach of the Rams. McVay was replace by former quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh, who has been Cousins’ position coach ever since he took the starting job. That’s a very smooth transition.  

Wide receiver Garçon is a free agent and he may or may not return. But left tackle Williams is under contract through the 2020 season and Thompson, a restricted free agent, is likely to return. Although DeSean Jackson appears to be likely to depart, Jamison Crowder is under contract for two more years. Tight end Jordan Reed, another key weapon, is signed through 2021. While you can’t have perfect continuity in the NFL, with Gruden now under contract for four more years the Redskins are doing a pretty good job of maintaining at least some semblance of stability.

Cousins has now been with the organization for five years with three years under Gruden including two seasons as the starter. He will turn 29 during training camp. The possibility of playing into his 30’s with the same head coach in the same offense likely has some appeal to Cousins.

That being said, the Gruden extension does not ensure that Cousins will stay. The money has to be right and at last report there was a good deal of ground between the two sides in the negotiation.

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And Cousins’ camp knows that a Gruden extension doesn’t mean that the coach will be around through 2020. Paying off a couple of years of a coach’s salary isn’t much of an impediment if Dan Snyder wants to make a change in the future. The same applies to almost any NFL owner. We saw the ultimate in that last year when the Rams’ Jeff Fisher was given a contract extension that started in 2017 in the summer and then he was fired before he worked a day under it.

Then there is the lack of stability in the front office. The future of GM Scot McCloughan is very cloudy after he missed the combine for personal reasons. Where that leaves the authority in the draft, free agency, and other key roster decisions is not at all certain. It’s not exactly the atmosphere for Cousins if he craves long-term stability.

But there are no perfect situations in the NFL. Usually, when a team needs a quarterback there are plenty of other issues in the organization. The Gruden extension could be a factor that persuades Cousins to stay but it’s far from being a deal clincher.

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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Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

In the weeks since the 2018 season ended, the Redskins have had various levels of contact with Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks and Gregg Williams.

All three men have extensive experience as defensive coordinators and all three men got new jobs already this offseason in that position. 

Now, after Bowles, Wilks and Williams picked up those new jobs, The Washington Post reported that the Redskins will keep Greg Manusky as defensive coorinator. He's already under contract. 

The meetings with all the other guys? A source told the Post that the Redskins wanted to get "different perspectives" on improving the defense for 2019.

Different perspectives. From the three hottest coordinator names on the coaching market. Sure. 

That said, Manusky is not the sole reason the Redskins fell apart in the second half of the 2018 season. In fact, he's probably not in the Top 5 reasons. 

The Washington defense improved in Manusky's second season as defensive coordinator and looked like a fierce unit in the first half of the year. The team made tremendous strides in rush defense and proved to be quite good at forcing turnovers.

Late in the season, verbal spats with safety DJ Swearinger might have undermined Manusky's status with the defense. But the team decided to release Swearinger, cementing the coach's authority. It also helped that emerging leader Jonathan Allen came out and vocally supported Manusky and his defensive schemes. 

At this point, the Redskins have no choice but to say the team was keeping Manusky all along.

If the organization was interested in other candidates at defensive coordinator, and it sure seemed like they were, those guys found other jobs. The marketplace isn't packed with other candidates with brighter resumes to replace Manusky, so the team is smart to bring back the incumbent. 

The process was awkward, regardless of what gets said now. Manusky is a professional, and has been coaching in the NFL for more than a decade. He understands how business gets done. 

Now, Manusky will be back, and there is good young talent on the Redskins defense, especially up front. 

The guess here is Manusky will say he always expected to be back and never stopped working on getting better for 2019. Now he gets the chance to show it. 

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You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

Chris Thompson is an accomplished player in the NFL. Despite being a fifth round pick, Thompson has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

This is a long way of establishing that Chris Thompson is an accomplised football player. Redskins fans know that.

Adrian Peterson didn't. 

Not many people would share that story, so good for Thompson for doing it. Let's add that Peterson joined the Redskins after offseason workouts and training camp, the normal time for new players to get to know each other. Peterson signed up with the Redskins in the middle of August, well after the regular get-to-know-you period had closed. 

Still, that's a tough break for Thompson. 

Peterson is a legend in the NFL, one of the best running backs to ever play the game. When he joined the Redskins, a number of players watched him work in practice with the hint of awe in their eyes. He proved to be a great teammate and a strong presence in the locker room.

By the end of the year, Peterson was obviously a leader for the Redskins. Players looked up to him, even if he didn't know their name when the year started.

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