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Why did the Redskins take the Cousins contract talks public?


Why did the Redskins take the Cousins contract talks public?

The Redskins and Kirk Cousins have reached a point in their contract negotiations where one side decided to take things public. While it’s generally better for that not to happen it isn’t totally unexpected and is just a part of the process.

Yesterday, citing a team source, Adam Schefter tweeted that the two sides “have broken off contract talks” and that there are “no further talks scheduled”.

That sounds like there is some big rift between the two sides but that may not be the case. In fact, both the Washington Post and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said that they have been told that the lines of communication between the Redskins organization and Cousins’ camp are very much open.

John Keim of ESPN also wrote that Schefter is reporting that the source said that “it's not a foregone conclusion that the Redskins would use the franchise tag on Cousins”.

So what does all of this mean? Business as usual. At this point, with two weeks to go until the deadline for the Redskins to apply franchise tag to Cousins there is no reason for either the Redskins or Cousins to give much ground. And if neither side is giving any ground, what reason is there to talk? Sometimes it’s best to take a break and let the sides evaluate their positions.

The part about “no further talks schedule” sounds ominous but it’s meaningless. A meeting can be scheduled with a phone call. And Mike McCartney, who is Cousins’ agent, and the Redskins’ brass will be in Indianapolis for the combine next week. Certainly a meeting at St. Elmo’s to resume the process could be in the cards.

So why did the team leak the story that the talks had broke off to Schefter? There could be a number of reasons but to me it looks like the most important part of what game out is the part that got the least attention. They wanted to get word out that the franchise tag for Cousins is not a given despite what many of us in the media have assumed.

If Cousins’ agent is negotiating on the assumption that the tag will be applied if there is no deal by the March 1 tag deadline, that sets up the expectation that Cousins should get at least the $19.6 million fully guaranteed money that comes with the tag. If the tag is off of the table then expectations might be lower.

The threat that the Redskins might not use the tag seems to be a bluff. They aren’t going to keep Robert Griffin III for his $16.15 million salary. Colt McCoy, who is not under contract for 2016, isn’t the answer for more than a game or two. Are they really going to set themselves up to have to go quarterback shopping when free agency opens up? It seems more likely that they will do what they have to do to lock up the guy who led them to the playoffs last year even if it means that, in their perception, they will be overpaying him. 

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'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

Zach Brown is a fearless player. Turns out, Zach Brown's dad is pretty fearless, too.

That first statement is one you can confirm by watching the Redskins linebacker play each time he takes the field, often times hurt.

The second statement, on the other hand, was confirmed earlier this week in an interview between Brown and JP Finlay about the Washington-Dallas rivalry.

"It got under our skin, knowing we got swept by them [last year]," the defender told Finlay after a weekday practice. "You just hate to go back home and hear them talk so much trash."

The leader of the brave "them" who actually taunt a 250-pound LB following a loss? Oh, just Brown's father, who's a diehard Cowboys supporter.

"My dad was giving it to me," he said while looking back on the 2017 season. "I said, 'Don't worry about it. Next year's gonna be a different movement.'"

"I'm gonna talk trash at the end of this season," Brown added. "It's a house divided."

Adrian Peterson knows what Brown's talking about. The Texas native even went as far as to break down exactly how his own house is divided.

According to him, 75-percent of his family are all about the Cowboys, 10-percent are looking for him to put up good numbers in a 'Boys victory and the final 15-percent have converted to the burgundy and gold.

Rookie corner Greg Stroman can relate as well. The Virginia kid who'll be making his debut in the series he's very familiar with said his grandma and her relatives fall on both sides of the matchup.

Stroman does have one advantage over Brown and Peterson, though. Unlike the two veterans, he was able to get his entire family's rooting interests in order for Sunday, at least.

"They all bought in now," he said.

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Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

This Sunday, for the 117th time, the Redskins and Cowboys will meet. 

Dallas will bring its 3-3 record into FedEx Field and face off with a 3-2 Washington squad. The winner of the contest will guarantee themselves a share of the NFC East lead heading into Week 8.

Here's a storyline, stat and player to watch for the next installment of this rivalry. Once you're done reading those, you can officially start preparing yourself for some sketchy fourth down decisions by Jason Garrett. 

Biggest storyline

Since his tidy but effective game vs. the Packers, Alex Smith turned in a disconcerting performance in New Orleans and a lukewarm effort (albeit a winning one) against the Panthers. Overall, Smith has looked very in control at times but also uneasy and ineffective at others so far in 2018.

So, the biggest storyline in this edition of the series has to do with Smith. If this game calls for it, can he lead the 'Skins to a victory?

That could be difficult vs. the Cowboys. The QB will be without Jamison Crowder again, and on Friday, Jay Gruden listed Paul Richardson as doubtful. Chris Thompson, meanwhile, is questionable.

So, it's likely Smith will be without two of his most talented weapons and possible that he'll be missing three. And on top of that, he'll be operating behind an offensive line that's had issues, which is contributing to his sometimes shaky feet in the pocket.  

To make things even harder, the Dallas defense allows the second-fewest points-per-game in the league and boasts a defensive line that Gruden is very worried about because it employs a scheme that involves a lot of movement. The Colts D-line uses a lot of stunts and movement, too, and they held the 'Skins to just 9 points in Week 2.

Smith has yet to top 300 yards this season or throw for more than two touchdowns in a single outing. He's had no problem winning when the team jumps to an early lead and the running game is going, sure, but he can't count on that each time he starts. 

At some point, his right arm is going to have to be mainly responsible for a Redskins W. And there'd be no better time for that to happen than in his first shot against his new franchise's most-hated opponent.

One key stat

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott don't know what it's like to play an NFL game vs. Washington and leave that game as the loser. Prescott is 4-0 in his four starts, while Elliott suited up in three of those triumphs. 

Elliott has been a big-time problem for the Redskins in their run-ins. The RB has scored five times against the burgundy and gold and averages 110 yards per appearance. 

Come Sunday around 7:30 or 8 p.m., when Elliott's day is done, odds are you'll be able to look at his stat line and judge the outcome of the game solely based on it.

If Greg Manusky and his defense, particularly his young stars up front, are able to bottle up Zeke, you have to like the Redskins' chances of beating the Cowboys for the first time since the 2015 season finale.

The Redskin to watch

Charley Casserly identified Fabian Moreau as a key Redskin for Week 7 (full video above). Another one worth watching is DJ Swearinger.

Swearinger terrorized Cam Newton last week and really flew around the entire field. He'll need to be as active against the Cowboys and, most importantly, be a sure tackler.

Elliott is going to churn out a few seven- and eight-yard runs. It'll be on Swearinger, plus fellow safety Montae Nicholson, to not let those become 20- or 30-yard gains. 

A lot of the attention, and deservedly so, will go toward what Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis are doing on Sunday. But if Swearinger can take smart angles, get Elliott to the ground and make a few plays in pass coverage, that'll go a long way vs. a limited Dallas offense.

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