There are some indications that the dollars will flow freely during the free agency period that starts Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk quoted a league source who said as much on Saturday. “Deals will be higher across this year across the board. Teams will be spending this year.”
One team that spent already is the Packers. They gave cornerback Sam Shields a four-year, $39 million deal to stay in Green Bay. Shields will receive a $12.5 million signing bonus and at total of $30 million in the first three years of the deal.
After being very soft last year, the cornerback market is back. Brent Grimes is staying in Miami for $32 million over four years. There is said to be a lot of interest in Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner. If the Redskins do want to get in the bidding on Patriots cornerback Aquib Talib, as has been rumored, they will have to be create to fit what may well be a $10 million per year contract under the cap.
The cash should flow to other positions as well. Simple math dictates that it should. The salary cap increased $10 million this year, from $123 million per team in 2013 to $133 million. That gives the teams some immediate cash to work with
And there’s more money coming. The cap is expected to leap into the neighborhood of $160 million in 2016 as new TV deals kick in. That will enable teams to backload money into future years without as much of a cap crunch.
Perhaps most important, teams are now forced to spend the money. The CBA requires teams to spend 89 percent of the unadjusted cap on a rolling four-year average. Without getting into the fog of the details, it means that the 15 teams that have about $20 million or more in cap space (with $22 million, the Redskins are in that group) will not be able to sit on that pile of cash.
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Kirk Cousins has performed well against the Philadelphia Eagles. One quip I read from a Philly writer recently is that the notion that Jeffrey Lurie owns the Eagles is a myth; Cousins really owns the Eagles.
Perhaps it’s premature to say that. After all, Cousins has just four career starts against Philadelphia. But he has played well against the Redskins’ NFC East rivals, no question about it. In those four games he has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,345 yards (336 yards/game) with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. Cousins has thrown for 7.7 yards per attempt with a passer rating of 101.3. The Redskins are 3-1 in those games.
Two games against the Eagles in 2015 helped define the season. In their first meeting in Week 4 at FedEx Field the Redskins trailed 20-16 when they got the ball at their own 10 with 6:05 left. Cousins engineered a 90-yard drive, topping it off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon with 31 seconds left to win the game.
That win kept the Redskins from sliding to 1-3, a situation that would have put Cousins’ viability as the starting quarterback in doubt. But they survived and went into Philadelphia in Week 17 in position to clinch in the NFC East title. Cousins passed for 365 yards and four touchdowns as the Redskins rolled 38-24.
Earlier this year Cousins passed for 263 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The pick was returned for a touchdown, a score that tied the game at 14-14. But Cousins led the team to a touchdown and a field goal on the two subsequent drives and the Redskins held on for a 27-20 win.
As you would expect, Cousins is having nothing of any talk of his success against the Redskins’ upcoming opponent. He tried to make the case that it’s just a coincidence.
“I think every game is its own entity and I don’t know that the sample size is large enough really to say there’s a correlation,” he said of his success against the Eagles. “I just think that each game you see what can happen and you never know. So I think there’s starting to become a familiarity from both sides. I think they’re starting to figure me out and I’m starting to learn more about them as individual players. So that always counts for something as you get more familiar and that will be a challenge as they start to learn my play better and better.”
Whether it’s ownership or just happenstance, the Redskins hope that Cousins can extend his hot streak against the Eagles at least one more game on Sunday.