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What a Redskins-Cousins long-term contract might look like

What a Redskins-Cousins long-term contract might look like

We hear a lot of numbers being thrown around regarding a possible contract agreement between the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins. The top line numbers are important. According to a report the Redskins are offering $20 million per season and the Cousins camp, which has most of the leverage, wants close to $24 million.

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But the details of a deal are at least as important as the average annual value. The sports contracts website Spotrac has worked out a contract that will satisfy what Cousins may be looking for in terms of compensation while giving the Redskins a deal that will leave them with enough money to keep the rest of the team stocked with talent.

Here is their estimate of what ak five-year Cousins deal at $23.6 million per year ($118 million total) might look like:

(Go here for an expanded view of this graphic via Spotrac)

The contract would have $27 million fully guaranteed at signing. That seems low since when Cousins signs the franchise tage he will be fully guaranteed $24 million but we’ll look at that in a minute. Cousins would get a $15 million signing bonus along with a $12 million fully guaranteed salary. The first-year cap hit would be $15 million, saving the team nearly $9 million in 2017 cap space. As it is, all of Cousins’ $23.94 million franchise tag salary counts against the 2017 cap.

Year 1 likely would be acceptable to Cousins. But what happens after that probably would not work for him — but is not difficult to correct it. Cousins would get a salary of $18 million but the team could avoid that by releasing him prior to March. Their cap hit for walking away after one season would be $12 million. That would sting but it would be manageable.

It is unlikely that the Redskins will get Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, to agree to such an easy exit. And letting Cousins go after two seasons would cost only $9 million. That makes it too easy for the team to make it a short-term deal.

More Redskins: Will the Redskins risk the downside of letting Cousins go?

The problem could be fixed by fully guaranteeing all of Cousins’ 2018 salary at signing. That would keep the cap hit the same at $21 million while increasing the fully guaranteed money to $45 million. If that’s not enough for the Cousins camp they could guarantee all or part of the 2019 salary and bring the full guarantee as high as $66 million. That is a fairly low risk guarantee for the Redskins; if they aren’t going to stick with him for at least three years they probably should just let him walk after this season.

The cap numbers go up every year but so does the cap. Here are the yearly percentages of the projected salary cap that this deal would consume:

2017: 8.9%
2018: 11.8%
2019: 12.6%
2020: 13%
2021: 12.3%

The percentage does increase as the contract goes on. If this is a concern they could take more of it on in 2017 by increasing the first-year salary or by adding a roster bonus that would count against this year’s cap.

It’s still a lot of money to be going to one player. But alternatives are scarce and that scarcity manifests itself in terms of big dollars for a quarterback without a playoff win on his resume.

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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Ryan Kerrigan will play less in 2020 but could produce much more

Ryan Kerrigan will play less in 2020 but could produce much more

The Redskins drafted Chase Young with the second overall pick and reality dictates that the rookie will take snaps away from veteran pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan.

That could actually be good news for Kerrigan.

For the first nine years of his NFL career, Kerrigan never missed a game. That’s incredible. In 2019, his streak of 139 straight starts ended as a concussion and a heel injury forced him to miss four games.

Expected back fully healthy this fall, the question now becomes what will Kerrigan’s role be in a crowded group of pass rushers that includes Young as well as 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat.

"You're fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can't all go on the field at the same time," Redskins defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said about his glut of pass rushers. "So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, 'Hey, you're not going to play all the time.' Or, 'You're not the starter.' Those are things to me, that always get settled best with competition and once guys earn what they've earned I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that."

Here’s the thing - even at 31 Kerrigan keeps himself in elite physical shape. He’s two years removed from a 13-sack season and in three of the previous four seasons he registered at least 11 sacks.

Even though he logged just 5.5 sacks last year, the four-time Pro Bowler can still play, and in the new defensive scheme Del Rio and head coach Ron Rivera intend to deploy, Kerrigan can play to his strengths too.

"We're going to ask our guys to be more penetrating and disruptive," Del Rio said. 

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For the first time in his career Kerrigan likely won’t be the focal point of the Redskins defensive front. In fact, with Young, Sweat, Ryan Anderson and a gang of talent rushing from the interior like Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis, Kerrigan might be a bit of an afterthought.

That’s a great place for him to be.

Focused just on rushing the passer and without being asked to chase running backs and tight ends downfield in pass coverage, Kerrigan can play to his strengths. And strength is his strength.

"The other part about coaching is kind of keep guys out of positions that they're not good at," Del Rio said. "Accentuate the positives and try and keep your guys out of situations that they are not good in and put them in more of the situations that they are good at."

If offensive tackles are constantly dealing with the speed and athleticism of Sweat and Young, then Kerrigan comes in for clear passing situations with his patented bull rush and rip move, the results could be formidable.

Of course 2020 has also become a contract year for Kerrigan. The previous regime might have already worked toward an extension, but Rivera has been clear since his arrival in January that things will be run differently.

It’s possible with consecutive first-round picks spent on pass rushers that Rivera does not consider Kerrigan part of his long-term rebuild. The opposite is also possible, that Rivera will want Kerrigan around for the long haul as a third-down pass rusher and veteran leader for the team. Kerrigan doesn’t say much but he works extremely hard on the practice field and in the weight room. That has a lot of value.

Questions for 2021 aren’t important yet. Kerrigan can go out and prove Washington needs him next year with solid play this year.

There will be fewer snaps, that’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be production.

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Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

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Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

Following the murder of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, many around the world have made their voices heard about the racial injustices in America. That includes athletes of all sports, along with their respective teams and leagues.

However, some statements came across as disingenuous due to the vague language and misunderstanding of what the protests are truly about. The NFL released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't touch on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.

Frustrated with that notion, several players teamed up to release a video voicing what they want to hear from the NFL on the matter.

Posted on Giants running back Saquon Barkley's Twitter, the message featured some of the biggest names in the sport. Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr. and others all shared the common messaging of wanting the NFL to explicitly address the racism and problems the country currently faces. Redskins rookie Chase Young was also part of the statement.

The video begins with the players wondering what it will take for the league to seriously commit itself to change in the future, feeling the current statements were inadequate. 

"What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the players said.

"What if I was George Floyd?" the players asked.

Those questions were followed up with the realization that their standings as professional athletes don't separate them from those who have been victims of police brutality. 

"I am George Floyd, I am Breonna Taylor, I am Ahmaud Arbery, I am Eric Garner, I am Laquan McDonald, I am Tamir Rice, I am Trayvon Martin, I am Walter Scott, I am Michael Brown Jr., I am Samuel Dubose, I am Frank Smart, I am Phillip White, I am Jordan Baker," they said. 

Then, the players submitted their call to action for the NFL. They will continue to peacefully protest, and demand the league shows support and solidarity right alongside them. No more cookie-cutter statements, but an admittance of past mistakes and accountability for the future.

"On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: 'We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,'" they said. '"We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.'"

A powerful and moving message, the stars of the NFL made one thing clear: It's time for the league to make real change. They will no longer accept the bare minimum, and instead, demand support and action.  

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