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Are Cousins and the Redskins waiting for Osweiler to sign before getting serious?

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Are Cousins and the Redskins waiting for Osweiler to sign before getting serious?

One of the reasons that the Redskins and Kirk Cousins’ camp are may be having difficulty in their contract talks is that nobody really knows what a long-term contract for Cousins should look like.

Executing contracts for free agent football players is in some ways like buying a house. To price the house, the real estate agent looks at comparables, recent sales of similar houses in similar neighborhoods. The agent will list the house somewhere around what those homes sold for.

The problem with figuring out Cousins’ worth is that there are no real comparable quarterback contracts to work with. He had sporadic appearances in his first three seasons in the league. Then he was named the starter, started off the year slowly but then caught fire (against some suspect defenses) and set some team passing records in the process of leading the team to the NFC East title.

And now his rookie contract has expired and he is set to become a free agent. Who else in this decade has gone from the bench to a record-setting, division winning, 16-game starter in the last year of his rookie contract? Nobody, really.

It doesn’t mean that Cousins’ team and the Redskins are going into the negotiations blind. Looking at average contract values per year, it’s clear that Cousins does not belong in the over $20 million neighborhood. The players in there are ones who have at least one Super Bowl ring (Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger) or have been playing at a high level for a long time (Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan).

But a deal below $15 million per year would put him in with the likes of Sam Bradford’s just expired deal and Nick Foles. That’s the low-rent district. Foles was benched and Bradford was inconsistent and injured. Their bodies of work prior to 2015 had some good moments but nothing consistently special.

So something between $15 million and $20 million per year seems right. But that’s a lot of room for negotiation when you multiply it by the four or five years a Cousins extension would probably cover.

The best thing to do here might be for the Redskins to put the tag on Cousins and to let the quarterback market play out in the spring. See what Sam Bradford gets and what kind of deal Colin Kaepernick receives if the 49ers decide to move on from him. Even the deal landed by Ryan Fitzpatrick could be useful as a guide.

A very useful guide will be Brock Osweiler’s new deal. He started seven games for the Broncos and they won five of them. His numbers were not quite as good as Cousins’ were (86 passer rating compared to 101 for Cousins) but the Broncos did beat the Patriots and Bengals with Osweiler at the helm. The Redskins and Cousins went 0-3 against teams with wining records. The deal will be a good comp.

As long as Cousins signs the tender, something that he is likely but not certain to do, it’s business as usual. Then the two sides could get together in June and, armed with more information on the quarterback market than they had before, get to work on a new deal. It’s likely that they will know about Osweiler’s deal early on since the Broncos are unlikely to tag him so he will have a contract with Denver—or with somebody—sometime in March.

Cousins and the Redskins would have until July 15 to get it done. There is plenty of downside to Cousins playing out 2016 on the tag for both the player and the Redskins that there would be plenty of motivation to get a deal done.

Determined parties plus a hard deadline is a good formula for making a deal. If those elements are present this summer a long-term deal for Cousins should result.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!