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Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

Cousins has high praise for Redskins' brass, but will it manifest into new deal?

A lot of Redskins fans were encouraged when Kirk Cousins broke out into praise of almost everything Redskins when talking about his prospects for a new contract earlier this week.

“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches," he told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation on Wednesday.

I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games,”

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This is not the first time we have heard such talk from Cousins in recent weeks. Last month he was on a podcast with Peter King of TheMMQB.com.

“This is an incredible fan base; it’s one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from,” he told King.

“I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere.”

Saying “I love this organization” and talking about a desire to return the team to the glory days is quite a leap from the cold response he gave to a question about his future in Washington asked right after the Redskins’ season ended.

“It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”

It should be noted that this question came minutes after a gut-wrenching loss and the outcome had been sealed when Cousins threw a late interception. But the comments were in line with what he said often in the previous several months when asked about his future in Washington. It sounded like he would only stay if forced to via a second application of the franchise tag.

So, should Cousins’ recent change of tone be taken as a sign that the persistent reports that he is very reluctant to commit to staying with the Reskins are no longer valid? Has he changed his mind?

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Circumstances have changed since Cousins said that staying wasn’t his decision to make. Gruden got an extension and he is now under contract through the 2020 season. As he approaches his age 29 season he may be growing reluctant to pull up stakes and start all over again

But all the positive talk is just that, talk. Showing a desire to stay in Washington increases his leverage. It may all be a negotiating tactic.

In addition, no matter what happens on Cousins’ end a deal will not get done if the Redskins don’t come forward with a serious offer.

The last reported offer made by the Redskins was about $20 million per year. Considering that Cousins’ salary this year is nearly $24 million and the next tag will net him anywhere from $28 million to $34 million, that’s not an offer that is going to make anything happen.

So, while it is better for Cousins to be talking up the Redskins organization than it is for him to be utterly non-committal there is still a long way to go until a long-term contract might be signed.

It still would be surprising if a deal got done by the July 15 deadline.

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE 

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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Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money. 

If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.

It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.

The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million. 

Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media. 

The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins. 

MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins

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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick

Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long

As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.

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The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.

Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).

Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.

On the bubble: Roullier

In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick

You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.  

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver

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.