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Jay Gruden expects leadership from Kirk Cousins 'no matter what his contract status is'

Jay Gruden expects leadership from Kirk Cousins 'no matter what his contract status is'

Much like a middle school dance, the Redskins are stuck in an awkward phase with their courting of Kirk Cousins. Clearly, the team likes their passer, enough to pay him nearly $20 million last season and another $24 million this year. Yet, the team can't seem to agree on a price to keep Cousins around for the long-term. 

That leads to some interesting discussions. Earlier this offseason Cousins brought up that not only could his play improve with a multi-year contract, but his leadership as well. 

That is the benefit to the long-term deal. It’s okay, I’m the guy. I’ve got full freedom to lead, full freedom to just be the guy, to make this mine, and to get that permission, if you will. That’s where I think the leash comes off and you’re able to fully go, and I’m excited for that day to come, whether it comes this year or down the road. I can’t wait.

At the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix earlier this week, Washington head coach Jay Gruden was asked if a long-term contract would help Cousins. 

I think being a quarterback in the National Football League you should be a leader and feel good no matter what his contract status is. I think having a long-term contract maybe helps a little bit but I think when we get out on the field on the first game Sunday afternoon, people are going to look to him for leadership. He is going to provide it whether it's a one-year deal or a 10-year deal. I know he is going to play his butt off, compete, prepare and do all the things necessary whatever link the contract is and we are excited to coach him.

Gruden continued, explaining that though Cousins does not have the security of a long-term deal, he is taking home a lot of cash. 

I don't know how difficult it is really, he is making a lot of money and he is doing a nice job. He is having fun, the players love him, respect him and rally around him. The business side of it with the agent and our people is what it is and its thats way with a lot of guys. We are going to have a number of guys with one year contracts and I fully expect them coming in and working their tails off and doing everything right to try and win a championship. That is what it's all about and at the end of the year we will come back to our negotiating table and try to get something done. Ideally you would like everyone to be on their long term contracts but that is obviously not possible.

Fans should know that Cousins is not the type of player to allow his contract situation to create a disctraction. While some players would buck at the first franchise tag, Cousins has signed both tags in 2016 and 2017 without hardly a peep of consternation. His work ethic also cannot be questioned, as the 'Skins passer is already working out with new wideouts Terrelle Pryor and second-year man Josh Doctson along with slot star Jamison Crowder on his own dime and time in Florida. Cousins is not the type to miss any optional workouts or camps, whether or not others in his situation might try to send a message to their team. 

Leadership is an innate quality, important for quarterbacks. It can't be bought. Cousins has it. He showed it in 2015 when he made about $600,000. He will show it again in 2017, whether that's on the franchise tag or if the two parties can work out a long-term deal. 

A long-term deal might allow Cousins to feel more secure in his future in Washington, but on the field, in the film room, or in the locker room, Gruden expects to see no change from his quarterback. 

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Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

While his job and athletic ability separate him from most commoners, Rob Kelley is just like you and me when it comes to his diet. Well, when it came to his old diet, actually. 

Like many, the second-year Redskins running back loves him some crispy fried chicken, buttery, pillow-like biscuits and piping hot french fries. He also can get down with piles of nuggets, double cheesburgers and creamy milkshakes. 

But during this offseason, Fat Rob is looking less and less so, and that improvement is largely due to some new eating habits.

MORE: OVER/UNDER — HOW MANY TDs FOR DOCTSON?

"Changed the diet up," Kelley told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay this week at the former's youth camp (full video above). "Slowed down on the fast food and processed food and tried to eat more healthy."

When asked what places he's specifically cut out from his rotation, Kelley answered with a laugh. It wasn't a happy laugh, though — it was like one of those laughs people let out when they're feeling major pain but not trying to show it.

"Popeyes. McDonald's," he said. "Not trying to discredit those fast food places, but just, it's not working well for me."

Limiting trips to those establishments can no doubt be a difficult task (it's OK to nod your head in agreement) but it's also working for the 24-year-old. He told Finlay he thinks he's lost about six pounds since OTAs and now checks in at 229 thanks to his workouts and an increased reliance on Whole Foods, vegetables and his grill. 

But just because he's shedding pounds doesn't mean he's shedding the moniker that caught on during his rookie campaign. He may be trending closer to Svelte Rob than he is to Fat Rob these days, but No. 20 is going to keep his nickname moving forward anyway.

"It's always accurate," he said.

RELATED: TOP JERSEY SELLER IN MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA WASN'T A REDSKIN

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Top selling jersey in Virginia and Maryland is not a Redskin or Raven

Top selling jersey in Virginia and Maryland is not a Redskin or Raven

Virginia and Maryland may be Washington Redskins/ Baltimore Ravens country, but their fans are not buying their jerseys. That is at least for the month of May. 

NFLShop.com released their top jersey sales for May 2017 on Thursday morning and the un-retired Marshawn Lynch was the top seller for the nation in the 31-day span. Even if his return does not pay off on the field for the Oakland Raiders, it paid off in terms of sales. 

In the same release, NFL Shop revealed the top jersey per state in the same month and it was not a Washington Redskin or Baltimore Raven at the top of the list for Virginia and Maryland. Instead, it was Super Bowl LI MVP Tom Brady. 

Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion, was the top seller in 17 different states, the most of any player.

The latter is not that surprising, but Brady owning Virginia and especially Maryland is. 

In terms of the Top 25 overall, there are no Redskins or Ravens making the list. Overall Brady was No. 2, followed by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The first rookie, DeShaun Watson, came in at No. 5.

There may be a multitude of reasons for the Brady-love, aside from the typical bandwagon fans, but it does make one think which jersey are you confident in buying?

Other notable jersey sales:

#6 Derek Carr -- Oakland Raiders quarterback
#11 James Conner -- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back 
#17 Colin Kaepernick -- San Francisco 49ers (currently unsigned quarterback)
#25 Adrian Peterson -- New Orleans Saints running back

MORE REDSKINS: Statement on Kirk was a mistake, won't impact on-field performance