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Beware of Redskins for Life

Beware of Redskins for Life

It used to be that the franchise tag was the kiss of death for the future of a player for the Redskins. The first Redskin so designated was linebacker Wilbur Marshall, who was traded to Houston for a third-round draft pick. Then there was defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, who sat out a year with the tag before going to Carolina (at least the Skins got better compensation for him, two first-round picks). After that it was Stephen Davis who received the kiss of death; he did stick around two seasons after being tagged before being waived. Finally, a year ago, Champ Bailey was the team's franchise player for about 15 minutes before being shipped to Denver for Clinton Portis.

Now, however, there is another class of players whose departure is guaranteed, those who declare themselves "Redskins for Life" or give some other oath of allegiance to the team when approaching their free agency period. The implication is that they will grant a substantial home town discount to the Redskins because they love playing here so much.

The first one to talk this way was defensive tackle Daryl Gardener. The Redskins virtually rescued him off of the trash heap in 2002 and he responded with a Pro-Bowl calibre season. After vowing to return, he took a little more money to go with Denver.

Now we have Antonio Pierce, who said as recently as last week that he wanted to return to Washington. Instead, he signed with the Giants. From the Washington Post: Pierce signed a six-year, $26 million contract yesterday, but kept his promise of providing the Redskins an opportunity to match New York's offer. The Redskins felt that the deal -- which included a $6.5 million signing bonus -- was too expensive and would damage their offseason plans even more.So much for that.

Actually, there are conflicting reports as to how close the Redskins were willing to come to the Giants' offer. From that same Post article by Nunyo Demasio:

According to a source with knowledge of negotiations, the Redskins declined to go any further than offering Pierce a $3.5 million bonus. Pierce did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.This differs significatnly from the account offered by David Elfin in the Washington Times:
Although coach Joe Gibbs said the Redskins couldn't meet Pierce's contract demands, a club source said Washington matched almost all of the Giants' six-year, $26 million deal, including a $6.5 million signing bonus, but offered less during the first two years. Don't construe any this, by the way, as criticism of any of the players for deciding to take the money. Their careers are short and most of them have just one chance for a big payday. Far be it from me to say that they should take a million or two less here and there in order to stay in Washington.

The flip side of that coin is that the players need to forgive us if we are quite skeptical of their nice-sounding pronouncements of undying devoution to the Burgundy and Gold.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!