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Exploring the three tag options Redskins have available for Kirk Cousins

Exploring the three tag options Redskins have available for Kirk Cousins

Wednesday marks the opening of the two-week tag period around the NFL. That means the Redskins have three distinct options for Kirk Cousins, should they choose to go that route. A quick reminder of the differences between the three options below, and remember, teams have until 4 p.m. on March 1 to place a tag on a player. Teams can only use one tag per year. 

  • Exclusive - This tag gives the player no opportunity to negotiate with other teams. If the Redskins tag Cousins with the exclusive tag in 2017, he will be due roughly $24 million, a 20 percent increase of his $20 million salary in 2016.
  • Non-Exclusive - Under this tag, players can negotiate with any team in the league. Should the player and another team agree to terms, the incumbent team has the option to match the deal. If the incumbent team chooses not to match, they are due two first-round picks as compensation. This tag opens up the door for trade scenarios, and Washington used the non-exclusive tag on Cousins in 2016. Like the exclusive option, this tag would pay Cousins $24 million in 2017.
  • Transition - Similar to the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag allows a player to negotiate with any team in the NFL and the home team gets the option to match any new deal. Unlike the non-exclusive tag, the transition tag does not offer compensation for the incumbent team should the player reach a deal elsewhere. The transition tag in 2017 would bring the same 120 percent raise as the other tags for Cousins, but in 2018, it might be an advantage for the team. Should the 'Skins not reach a long-term deal with Cousins, the team could transition him next year and only pay another 120 percent raise, instead of the 144 percent required by the franchise tag in a third straight season. This year, however, the transition tag has little to no usefulness for Washington. 

Should the Redskins place any tag on Cousins, it's unlikely it would come on the first day the team has the option. Last year, Washington did not place the non-exclusive tag on Cousins until hours before the deadline. Once tagged, any player has until July 15 to work towards a long-term deal.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

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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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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.