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Contract talks between Kirk Cousins' agent and Redskins seek to avoid animosity

Contract talks between Kirk Cousins' agent and Redskins seek to avoid animosity

A few days after placing the exclusive franchise tag on their quarterback, Kirk Cousins' agent said initial contract talks with the Redskins are "moving in a positive direction." Speaking on NFL Network's Good Morning Football, Cousins' agent Mike McCartney talked at length about the "unique" circumstances surrounding his client and the organization (video here).

"The Redskins had let us know how much they value Kirk and how they see him as a franchise quarterback," McCartney said. "I do think it was a question of whether they were going to put the exclusive tag or the non-exclusive tag on him. When they put the exclusive tag on him they tried to send a message that, 'Hey, Kirk is our guy, we believe in him.' We took that the right way."

In 2016, the Redskins placed the non-exclusive tag on Cousins. In 2017, the team went with the exclusive tag, meaning Cousins and McCartney are not able to shop their services freely to other teams in the NFL. For some that seemed like a message that the team wanted to keep their passer, and clearly, Cousins' camp viewed it that way.

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The biggest takeaway came when McCartney revealed he met with the Redskins chief contract negotiator Eric Schaffer Wednesday night. 

"Eric Schaffer is the cap guy for the Redskins and he and I visited last night. We’ve had good dialogue," McCartney said. "We're moving in a positive direction, we're trying to keep everything upbeat."

Contract talks broke down early on in 2016, and it seems both the team and McCartney are trying to avoid that this year.

"I think Eric and I are working really hard so there is not animosity. I think that's really important. The last thing I want as Kirk’s partner in this for him to go to work mad at his employer. At the end of the day his employer is still paying him well," the agent said. "Kirk isn’t necessarily motivated by the same things many other players are so I want him to enjoy work. And I take that very seriously, and I think Eric certainly takes that seriously from the club perspective."

It's interesting that the club and agent even have to consider animosity, but considering how wildly different the sides were in 2016 onthe value of a long-term deal, it makes sense. 

"We don’t agree on everything, by any chance, but we're really trying to work through that to make sure we have a positive dialogue and partnership through this," McCartney said. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

Jay Gruden talked Wednesday and said repeatedly that he is optimistic about getting a deal done for Cousins, and even suggested that the Redskins "maybe do a better job" in contract talks.

Optimism and positive dialogue are great, but ultimately, this thing will come down to money. The Redskins will open up the vault, or they won't. That doesn't mean McCartney doesn't understand the significance of the exclusive tag, and with it, a guaranteed $24 million payday. 

"At the end of the day they’re the ones that placed the franchise tag on him. A player, when his contract is up, looks forward to going to free agency to see what his value is on the open market. This is the second straight year that’s been taken away from Kirk so the Redskins did say something about, ‘Hey, this guy is worth $24 million.’ Kirk didn’t ask for the franchise tag, I didn’t ask for the franchise tag. Still it’s a heck of a commitment from the club, and we view it that way."

Perhaps what makes the Cousins situation so interesting is that it's just so unusual. McCartney also recognized that.

"It's definitely unique. I think with Kirk being a fourth rounder who didn’t play a whole lot his first three years, and then the last year of his contract, it was kind of the perfect storm. The first half of the [2015] season it was a little bit up and down, and then those last nine games, he just soared. He took off and took the Redskins into the playoffs, and then, his contract is up. So from a leverage standpoint it was unique for a quarterback to play his best football as his contract is expiring."

Sure it's early in the process, but the glasses on the negotiation table for a long-term deal between Kirk Cousins and the Redskins appear to be half full. For now. 

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Report: Redskins discussed a Sheldon Richardson deal with the Jets during the draft.

Report: Redskins discussed a Sheldon Richardson deal with the Jets during the draft.

The Redskins didn’t do much in the way of wheeling and dealing during the three days of the NFL draft. They made a trade with the Vikings to move up in the sixth round while moving down in the seventh but that was it.

However, according to a report, they had talks about making a deal that would have been a blockbuster.

RELATED: Redskins focus on defense in first 3 rounds

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Jets were trying to trade away defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson during the draft and that Washington was one of the teams who were involved in the discussions.

Richardson was a first-round pick of the Jets in the 2013 draft. He has had his moments, being named the defensive rookie of the year in 2013 and making the Pro Bowl in 2014. But he has had his share of problems, serving a four-game substance suspension for a substance abuse violation in 2015 and he had to sit one game after running afoul of the personal conduct policy (police car chase).

The Jets’ asking price was not thought to be too high for the 26-year-old Richardson. However, teams did not want Richardson under his current contract. He is set to make $8.1 million in 2017 under his fifth-year option. As of now that salary is fully guaranteed.

MORE REDSKINS: Three reasons to like the pick of Ryan Anderson

If Richardson does not agree to a salary reduction a trade to the Redskins is a non-starter. They have $8.17 million in cap space remaining and they still have to sign their draft picks and have money left to get through the season.

Richardson would have to agree to cut his salary at least in half to facilitate a deal to the Redskins. Since the salary is fully guaranteed he has no incentive to do so, making a deal very unlikely.

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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Need to Know: The Redskins month that was—Salary cap, schedule, the draft

Need to Know: The Redskins month that was—Salary cap, schedule, the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 30, 24 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 12
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 24
—Training camp starts (7/27) 88
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 133

A look at the Redskins month that was

Here is a look back at some of the most popular and talked about posts of April on CSNmidatlantic.com and on RealRedskins.com. 

2011 bill comes due, Redskins' salary cap space shrinks—The sudden disappearance of $4.5 million in salary cap money got a lot of fans riled up. But it goes back to 2011 when the cap unexpectedly shrunk with the new CBA and teams were allowed to “borrow” cap money from future years and pay it back by 2017. The Redskins’ bill came due and, as they had planned, they had to pay it back.

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—I think most agreed that it was a pretty fair schedule. The only complaint I had was that they have to play on the road before hosting their Thanksgiving Day game. But it’s just a trip to New Orleans for a 1:00 game, only one time zone over. It’s not ideal but it is a much better deal than having to play a Sunday night game and then go on the road for Thanksgiving like they had to last year. It’s a moderately tough slate but that was determined already by the rotation of playing the different AFC and NFC divisions.

Redskins agree to deal with big free agent—When it was reported that Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Brown was coming to Redskins Park for a visit, nobody thought that much would come of it. Brown had been trying to reach a deal with the Raiders and it looked like his visit was just a negotiating ploy. But he signed a one-year deal and the inside linebacker corps got an injection of speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability

Impossible to probable? Draft day slide could land Redskins a steal —Nobody thought that Jonathan Allen, a consensus top-five talent, would fall to the Redskins at pick No 17. Well, nobody but colleague J.P. Finlay and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media, anyway.

Redskins have kept focus on defense at the Draft—This was written after the first three rounds. For the first time in 20 years, the Redskins had drafted defensive players in the first three rounds. And after they added another defensive player, safety Montae Nicholson, with the second pick of the fourth round they had taken a defensive player in each of the firrst four rounds of the draft for the first time in the common draft era (since 1967). Add to that Brown and three other defensive free agents signed prior to the draft and you have the organization making an effort to upgrade the defense, just like they said they would.

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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