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What does Kirk Cousins' late-season swoon do to his contract value?

What does Kirk Cousins' late-season swoon do to his contract value?

I wouldn’t want to play poker with Kirk Cousins.

When the pending free agent quarterback was asked on Sunday night if he wanted to return to the Redskins in 2017 he said, well, nothing.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” said Cousins. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

The part about it not being his decision to make at this point in time is not accurate. Since the Redskins’ season ended at about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday he has been free to negotiate with the team. He could sign a new contract this afternoon.

Of course, that’s not realistic. It will take time for a deal to get hammered out. But Cousins could instruct his agent to negotiate the best deal he possibly can with the Redskins and get it done prior to the March 1 deadline for teams to designate franchise players. There are risks involved in waiting that are outlined below.

And perhaps he has set the gears in motion for a new deal with Washington. Cousins has thrived in Jay Gruden’s offense and the number of teams that have systems that cater to his strengths is limited. The appeal of sticking with what has worked over starting over with a new coach in a new system at the age of 29 has to be strong.

But Cousins has no reason to tip his hand right now. By keeping a neutral public stance he leaves the impression that he’d be just as happy to stay or go. Taking that stance is straight out of Negotiations 101.

One thing that Cousins has to consider is the risk of taking steps back on the field. In 2015, when the team needed him to come on strong down the stretch he delivered. In their last five games of the season when the team had to go on a run to make the playoffs he posted a passer rating of over 100 in each game and the Redskins went 4-1. This year the team needed a similar run in the last five games and Cousins had passer ratings in the 70’s in three of those games. The Redskins lost all three and they missed the playoffs. Here is a more detailed comparison:

The difference is stark. Last year he broke most of the team’s major single-season passing records and it felt like he accomplished a lot. This year, he broke his own records but given the way he finished it feels more like he compiled empty stats.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that the Redskins shouldn’t do what they can to try to get him under contract. This is not a reason to put forth a lowball offer (again).

But Cousins needs to tread carefully. If the Redskins tag him again and his late-season passer rating hangs around the mid-80’s again and he throws one touchdown and three picks (including the final, fatal one) in two critical home games in games where they were solid favorites he may find himself with a much lower value than he has now. He could be well advised to get as much as he can now in case he suffers from another late-season swoon.

Now, it’s not like Cousins will have to settle for minimum salary if he plays on the tag in 2017 and he does stumble in crunch time in December. Given the shortage of quarterbacks in the league, his performance could drop off significantly and some team out there would be willing to sign him to a five-year deal making at least $18-$20 million per year in 2018. Perhaps he would be comfortable rejecting a deal worth, say, $22 million per year knowing that the furthest he can fall would still have him near the very top of income earners in the country. That’ a nice cushion to have.

The only member of the Redskins organization who has spoken on Cousins is head coach Jay Gruden.

“I don’t know what Kirk has to do as a quarterback to prove that he belongs in the National Football League as a starter,” he said after the Giants game. “I think he had a great year.”

Gruden, however, doesn’t write the checks. He can lobby Scot McCloughan, Bruce Allen, and Dan Snyder to get a deal done but that’s all he can do.

This is in the very early stages. But decisions need to start taking shape. That franchise tag deadline is just 57 days away and the clock is ticking.

MORE REDSKINS: Ex-agent says 'Skins doubt Cousins, which'll hurt his deal

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Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

As the Washington Redskins family continues to mourn the passing of the legendary Bobby Mitchell, former GM Charley Casserly weighed in on how much he took away from knowing Mitchell.

“Bobby Mitchell was a dear friend and mentor to me during my time with the Washington Redskins,” Casserly begins. “He took me under his wing. He taught me scouting.”

Casserly first met Mitchell when the former was just an intern getting his start in the business. Rather than push him aside, Mitchell imparted upon Casserly the importance of attitude and demeanor.

“He taught me how to be a professional in the workplace,” the former GM continued. “He cared about people in the community. That’s what, to me, separated him from many other people.”

Mitchell’s longest-lasting impact is his role as one of the first players of color to integrate the Redskins back in 1962, but his role as a mentor and friend to so many in the Washington area lives on as well.

As Casserly says, Mitchell is sorely missed already.

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Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell died on Sunday at the age of 84, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mitchell, who became the first black player on the Redskins when he was traded to Washington in 1962, had a significant impact on another former Redskin, Brian Mitchell, both on and off the field. 

“He was a great football player but I think 25,000 times more of a human being,” said Brian, who was drafted by the Redskins in 1990. 

As Brian grew closer with the Hall of Famer, he was especially impressed by his efforts to fight for equality in the African American community.

“I knew that he was the first African American to come to D.C. and play, but then when I began to find out more about him he was the guy that was out there fighting, a social activist, doing things to help out our black community, which truly truly impressed me,” Brian expressed.

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Brian took great pride in not only knowing the Hall of Famer but having the same last name. 

“I remember someone asking if I was a relative and he said 'no.' And then he told me, he said ‘every time you ran another touchdown, I was like he’s a cousin. Oh, that’s my boy, that’s my son,” Brian said. 

To this day Brian strives to be as influential as Bobby was.

“This one man who did so much had so much impact on so many people throughout this community, it said a lot to me. He’s going to be sorely missed. We love you Bobby, take care,” Brian said.

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