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Either Way the Redskins Win

Either Way the Redskins Win

Either way, the Redskins win

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
Posted 9 AM EST 03.05.06

Within 12 hours, we will know whether or not there will be an extension to the NFL collective bargaining agreement. OK, there could be another movement in the deadline, but if there is that will mean that the two sides in the dispute are in agreement on anything remotely resembling a major issue. They might take Monday and part of Tuesday to haggle over what the deductible on the dental plan will be, settle the three thousand dollars they may be apart on the third-year veteran minimum salary, and the like.

So, sometime on Sunday when they either get it done or they don’t it will be possible to resume an informed discussion of what the Redskins will do during this offseason. In either case it will be a fun discussion to have.

It’s better for the Redskins—and for the NFL—if there is a CBA extension. Never mind the long-term ramifications (plenty of time to go into those after the issue is decided), the simple fact is that the Redskins, who currently have a salary cap figure of about $115 million, will be able to get well under a 2006 salary cap that will be around $105 million. Some simple restructures will get them under the number and trimming a few high-priced spare parts like Matt Bowen and Tom Tupa will give them room to address some needs through free agency.

Clearly, a CBA extension is a win for the Redskins. The alternative, however, isn’t exactly a huge loss.

Certainly, in order to get under the $94.5 million cap, the Redskins would have to take more drastic action. They would have to trigger a series of complex restructured contracts that about a half a dozen players have agreed to. More players, including kicker John Hall and nickel back Walt Harris, would have to be jettisoned. It would be difficult to sign any high-priced free agents and even the bargain basement types would have to be chosen carefully. For that matter, it would be hard for the Skins to sign their own free agents including safety Ryan Clark and tight end Robert Royal.

But the major purge of veterans predicted (some would say hoped for) by such national writers as Pete Prisco and Len Pasquarelli apparently will not be taking place. Due to the willingness of players such as Mark Brunell and Shawn Springs to participate in some pretty major reworks of their contracts, the Redskins won’t have to cut nearly as many veterans as the cap “experts” that Prisco and Pasquarelli consulted with for their articles thought.

(Before going any further, it has to be acknowledged that some scenarios less dire than those pained by Pete and Lenny but still rather gloomy were presented here in the past week or so. The difference between them and me is, though, that if my article turns out to be dramatically different from reality, I will come out and acknowledge it and examine why I was off base. Pete and Lenny will not.)

In short, if there is no CBA extension we will get to see the Redskins stun the media doubters. It appears that the dreaded cap hell will be averted. And not because the Redskins got lucky, but because they knew what they were doing. They were hoping for the best in terms of a CBA extension, but evidently they were well prepared for the worst. Said Jon Jansen’s agent Rick Smith of the organization, "They have a plan and they'll get it done. They weren't desperate. I don't know why there was this big doomsday [outlook] for them. They'll get to where they need to get."

Wow, you mean that Dan Snyder actually had a plan? The temperamental, reckless, wild-spending one actually knew what he was doing? A self-made millionaire actually anticipates what might happen and make contingency plans? Shocking!

Other teams, who do not receive the media scrutiny that the Snyder Redskins do, are being forced to turn to more desperate moves to try to make the cap. One of them, the Indianapolis Colts, might even try to sue the league to change its interpretation of the rules to get under the cap. This from the Indianapolis Star:
Dan Emerson, the Colts' general counsel, said the team has not ruled out seeking a temporary injunction to Wednesday's decision by Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Burbank, a special master who arbitrates disputes within the NFL, ruled the Colts could not convert substantial roster bonuses due Manning and Harrison into signing bonuses and prorate them for four years to lower each player's hit against the salary cap.I think that it’s reasonable to assume that Prisco, Pasquarelli, and the rest of the Skins-bashing media out there would be having a field day throwing darts at Snyder if the Redskins’ general counsel had uttered a word about an injunction. So far, Colts owner Jimmy Irsay, who had to work hard to inherit the team from his father, has been free of media criticism.

Again, it would be better if an 11th hour, 59th minute miracle can be pulled out and a CBA extension went through. The start of free agency would be delayed for a few more days for the agreement to be ratified and digested and then the Redskins would be able to crank up Redskins One and start wooing free agent receivers and defensive ends. The only downside would be that their Plan B, their plan for getting under the cap without a CBA extension, would forever remain under wraps. We won’t be able to see just how smart the Redskins are and we won’t be able to see the critics squirm or, at least try to ignore the obvious. The meltdown on the Cowboys’ message boards and them trying to claim that Bowen was a key, irreplaceable contributor for the Redskins will be equally enjoyable to witness.

The start of free agency without a new CBA was supposed to be Apocalypse Now for the Redskins. If that’s the case, I think we’re going to love the smell of the napalm tomorrow morning. It will smell like victory.

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You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

You probably don't realize how effective Kirk Cousins is as a runner

Back at the 2012 NFL Combine, Kirk Cousins ran his 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds.

Now, as far as QB 40-yard dashes go, that's not a bad number at all, but it's definitely not blazing, either. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, for example, ran his in 4.77 seconds that same year (while weighing 84 pounds heavier than the Michigan State signal caller), and 13 out of the 20 passers invited to the event topped Cousins' time.

That, plus the facts that Cousins isn't physically imposing and he clearly prefers to operate within the safe confines of the pocket, would lead you to believe that he's not much of a threat as a runner. But a stat — and this stat is far from an advanced one or a hidden one — indicates otherwise.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER ON SOME KEY KIRK COUSINS STATS

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has the third-most rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Cam Newton has 15 (not surprising), Tyrod Taylor checks in with 10 (also not surprising), and then there's Cousins, who rushed for nine scores in 2015 and 2016, which is good enough for a bronze medal on this particular podium (that's quite surprising).

Washington's starter has actually found the end zone with his legs more than peers like Andy Dalton (7), Alex Smith (7) and Aaron Rodgers (5) since taking over the primary gig in D.C., and all of those guys have reputations as runners that exceed Cousins'.

In fact, no one on the Burgundy and Gold has crossed the goal line as a ball-carrier more than the 28-year-old in the past 32 contests; Rob Kelley and Matt Jones are both three short of the man who lines up in front of them on Sundays.

Of course, Cousins isn't going to flatten defenders like Newton does, and he won't run around them like Taylor does. He also won't rip off big-gainers down the sideline when opposing team turns their back on him in man coverage.

But as the following highlights show, he hasn't just cashed in on one-yard sneaks the last couple of seasons, either:

All three of those plays were designed runs, and Cousins, while not exactly resembling Madden 2004 Michael Vickexecuted them perfectly. He doesn't really rack up yards — the numbers vary depending on which site you use, but the consensus is he's picked up about 150 total since 2015 — but Jay Gruden and Co. have developed a tremendous feel of when to use Cousins' feet instead of his arm in the red zone.

Sure, he's not going to show up on your Twitter timeline juking out a corner, and he won't scamper for much more than 10 yards at a time. But in a few games in 2017, Kirk Cousins is going to finish a drive with an impressive touchdown run instead of a throw, and that might shock you — even though it really shouldn't.

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins talk, back end of D

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 22, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 50 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 19
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 42

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics from the past week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com.

What would a fair Redskins contract offer to Kirk Cousins look like?  As it turns out, the offer the Redskins made fell below “fair” territory. But perhaps they recognized that a deal never was going to get done, not this year anyway. Cousins is content to see things unfold in 2017 and decide on a longer-term destination next year. So, the team’s offer was not high enough but there really wasn’t an offer that was going to be sufficient.

Cousins explains why he's not offended by Redskins statement—Bruce Allen raised plenty of eyebrows by detailing some of the team’s contract offer in a statement. Clearly the intent of the statement, which revealed some details that weren’t very impressive under closer inspection, was designed to turn public opinion in their favor. Cousins, appearing on the radio the next day, didn’t have a problem with it and said that Allen had told him that he would do it. As expected, plenty of fans and media types decided to be outraged in his place.

Redskins have plenty of 2018 cap room for possible Kirk Cousins offer—With the focus turning to 2018, the fact that the team will have about $60 million in cap space becomes relevant. It’s enough to give him the $35 million franchise tag and perhaps enough to match a front-loaded offer sheet if the Redskins use the transition tag. But the cautionary word is that they have at least a dozen starters and key contributors who also are set to be free agents next year. They will have to find money for them or their replacements somewhere.

Redskins depth chart preview--Safety—Cousins talk dominated the week but other topics did draw plenty of interest. The back end of the defense, with Su’a Cravens converting from linebacker and free agent D. J. Swearinger moving from being mostly a strong safety to playing free, will be under the microscope this year. Whether the defense gets better may hinge on the safety position. 

11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins offense—Does Trent Williams make the All-Pro team? How many yards for Rob Kelley? One prediction for each projected offensive starter here including how many non-receiving touchdowns for Jamison Crowder.

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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