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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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NFL, EA Sports agree to six year extension of Madden video game franchise

NFL, EA Sports agree to six year extension of Madden video game franchise

The Madden franchise will continue to be a part of the gaming universe for at least the next six years.

NFL owners on Thursday approved an extension of their deal with Electronic Arts, continuing a relationship that has existed for 30 years. It was also recently approved by the NFL Players Association.

The current contract was set to expire after the 2021 season. The extension means that EA Sports will continue to be the league's exclusive publisher of football simulation games through 2026.

EA Sports Executive Vice President Cam Weber said both sides had been talking for months. Many wondered what the future of the relationship might be after 2K Sports signed an agreement with the NFL in March to produce non-simulation games.

The current edition of Madden has seen a 30% increase in unique players. According to Electronic Arts, more than 330 million hours of the game have been played since it was released last August. The company has also seen large increases in gameplay during the past couple of months as people have been confined to their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, with many tournaments taking place among friends and on television.

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Rachel Hoagland, the league's vice president and head of gaming and esports, said keeping the Madden franchise at the core of their video gaming strategy was important, especially with the emergence of new platforms and gaming systems. Sony and Microsoft have announced new generations of gaming consoles that are expected to debut by the end of the year.

"EA has done a nice job of ensuring the game matches the experience during a game week. The new technology will allow richer content and add more realism," she said.

Madden NFL 21 will come out in early August with the first looks at the game coming next week. 

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was last year's cover athlete. Baltimore quarterback and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson said in April that he would be on the cover this year, but EA Sports has not made an announcement.

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Trent Williams planned to play for Redskins in 2019 before being placed on Non-Football Injury list

Trent Williams planned to play for Redskins in 2019 before being placed on Non-Football Injury list

Former Redskins left tackle Trent Williams did not play a snap for the Burgundy and Gold in 2019, but that almost wasn't the case.

Williams held out for the first half of the 2019 season after Redskins team doctors misdiagnosed a cancerous growth on his head for nearly six years. The 31-year-old reported just minutes before the trade deadline after the organization refused to trade him, but failed his physical due to helmet discomfort. Shortly after, he was placed on the Non-Football Injury list, which ended his season.

On the latest episode of NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport's podcast, Williams explained that he actually planned to play for the Redskins in 2019 after he eventually reported to the team.

"The competitive juices started to flow, so I was really prepared to make my return last year," Williams said. "I know all of the things that had went on and just being in that facility, being around teammates, being around the guys you fought with and bled with for some many years. It was almost impossible for me to fight the urge not to just want to get back on the field."

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After the left tackle could not find a comfortable helmet, he had arranged for a new one to be shipped. Once the new helmet arrived, the left tackle planned on making his return. 

"I was literally waiting on my new helmet to come in," he said. "I was getting ready to kind of gear up and it was going to be somewhat of a surprise to some, but I think for the people who know me best they know how competitive I am. 

"I was put on NFI right before I could even get the helmet to get back out there," Williams continued. "It was a bummer but figured it was just how it was supposed to work out."

By placing Williams on the NFI list, the Redskins saved nearly $6 million in salary.

Washington traded the seven-time Pro Bowler to the San Francisco 49ers on April 25 in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick. Williams has one year remaining on his current deal.

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