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Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Need to Know: How realistic was a Redskins-Cousins contract agreement in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 17, 41 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 31
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 56
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 68
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 120
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 177

Friday three and out

1. A mystery solved.

I get frequent questions about why the Redskins have not had Johnathan Hankins in for a visit or why there hasn’t even been any reported contact with the Giants’ D-lineman. This says there are 10 million reasons why Hankins’ phone hasn’t been ringing with 703 on the caller ID or from any other area code for that matter. Hankins is a good, young player but $10 million a year is just way too much. Perhaps he will get the message at some point and lower his asking price. He could end up going with a one-year contract like Dontari Poe did with the Falcons. That would make it even more difficult for the Redskins to sign him. It’s not so much the money; they could make that work. But if Hankins is going to go with one year in hopes of being able to cash in next year he is unlikely to sign up to be a nose tackle. It’s much harder to generate eye-popping stats the generate big contracts from the zero technique than it is from a defensive tackle spot.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

2. A free agent signing but not the one you’re looking for:

Carter is the prototypical journeyman who will try to make the team as a special teams contributor. It looks like he will be the replacement for Terence Garvin, the linebacker/special teams guy who was here last year and hasn’t been re-signed. Carter, an ex-Steeler like Garvin, has played in 42 NFL games and he has yet to record a sack.

3. I get that everyone is mad because Scot McCloughan wanted to sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension in 2015 after Cousins was named the starter and Bruce Allen didn’t want to do it. But how realistic is it to think that they could have come to an agreement on a long-term contract at that time? Would they base the value on his 2014 starts, when he was turnover prone and eventually benched and demoted to third string? Or after, say, Week 6 when he was sitting there with six TD’s and eight interceptions and a passer rating of 77.4? There were talks during the bye week after the “you like that!” comeback over the Bucs but nothing materialized. And according to the Breer article by the time December came around the Cousins camp wanted to wait until 2016 to talk.

So they essentially had a window between the bye week and December to get a deal done. The Redskins went 2-2 in that stretch with blowout losses against the Patriots and Panthers. While you couldn’t necessarily blame either loss on Cousins, they weren’t the kinds of performances that made you want to throw a bunch of money at him, either.

If someone can tell me when there was an opportunity there to come up with a contract that offer that would have been either so high as to look like a vast overpay for the team or a big-time lowball from Cousins’ perspective, I’m all ears. The timing just wasn’t right. This doesn’t mean that disagreement over how it should be handled was a good thing and it shows that McCloughan's instincts were right. According to Breer it was the nexus of things falling apart in Ashburn. But thinking that Cousins would be signed for a few more years now if McCloughan had prevailed in 2015 doesn’t really add up.

Out—with a fan question:

This is an easy one on defense—a solid nose tackle. Yesterday morning on 980 Greg Manusky talked about looking at Phil Taylor, Joey Mbu, and A.J. Francis at the position. If those are his choices for Week 1 the defense is in serious trouble.

On offense the answer is less obvious. I’d say it’s a blocking tight end who is, you know, an actual tight end. Ty Nsekhe sure can block as a sixth offensive lineman but having someone who can catch passes as your extra blocker sure does give the defense a lot more to think about. I also think they need a young quarterback in case Cousins departs either this year or next.

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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Yesterday afternoon after a close NCAA finish:

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Need to Know: Examining Jay Gruden's reasons for optimism for the 2017 Redskins

Need to Know: Examining Jay Gruden's reasons for optimism for the 2017 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 30, 28 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 18
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 43
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 55
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 107
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 155

Reasons for optimism?

I don’t think that Jay Gruden is on Twitter and I doubt that he listens to talk radio but he can sense the feeling of “doom and gloom” that has set in among many in the fan base. Not surprisingly, he disagrees that such a sentiment is warranted.

“I’m very optimistic,” he told reporters at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “I know it’s not great but we’ve had back-to-back winning seasons and there’s no reason for us not to be optimistic. Last year we were very close, lost 13-10 the last game of the year to get in. So, yeah, we’re excited.”

He then went through a list of reasons for the optimism. Let’s go through them and evaluate them.

We have a very good offensive line coming back, our quarterback’s coming back. I feel good about our receiving corps, our two tight ends. Niles Paul’s coming back, [Derek] Carrier’s coming back for depth at tight end.

I can go along with this for the most part. It’s a very good pass-blocking line and it’s an adequate group when it comes to run blocking. While the future is cloudy for quarterback Kirk Cousins it does look like he will be behind center in 2017. The receiving corps lost two key members in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson but the addition of Terrelle Pryor and some production out of Josh Doctson should compensate to an extent. Jordan Reed is one of the best tight ends in the league and Vernon Davis is a solid backup.

The defensive line, we’ve addressed a bit, we’ll continue to address it. 

Well, yeah, a bit. They’re still looking for a nose tackle. All Gruden had last night was that new D-line coach Jim Tomsula will make someone into a nose tackle. Maybe he can’t do that but he is an upgrade in the coaching department and he could make more out of what they have. And, of course, there is still the draft. Despite the loss of Chris Baker the line could be better than last year but that's a low bar. 

Linebackers, [Mason] Foster, [Will] Compton, [Martrell] Spaight is going to be back. Our safety position with D.J. [Swearinger] will be upgraded. Hopefully D. Hall comes back, Su’a [Cravens] over there, should be an interesting move, see what he can do.

The inside linebackers are not feared by any means but they do some things well. And, again, they have the draft to upgrade. The safety spot has potential to be upgraded with Cravens and Swearinger but there are leaps of faith with Swearinger playing free instead of strong and Cravens moving from his hybrid linebacker spot.

Kerrigan will be back, pass rusher, Preston [Smith] is going to get better. Maybe Junior [Galette] if he comes back.

This area is iffy. Kerrigan is going to give you good production but we'll have to see if Smith can be more consistent and if Galette can stay healthy and regain the explosiveness that led to consecutive years of double-digit sacks in New Orleans. Gruden didn’t mention Trent Murphy, who got nine sacks last year but, as Gruden acknowledged, is likely to be suspended for the first four games. If things work out the edge rushers could be a very good group but that's far from something they can bank on. 

We have a lot of reasons for excitement around here. I don’t know why everyone is so doom and gloom around here. We’re excited. I know our players are going to be excited to get back to work. Kirk’s excited, I’m excited so let’s go. 

I’m not sure if there is reason for Redskins fans to be looking for tickets and cold weather gear for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. This looks like a team that should have somewhere round seven or nine wins. That’s not where fans want them to be but it hardly warrants the dread and pessimism that is heard from many corners of Redskins Nation.

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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Su'a Cravens and Will Compton ate dinner together, but only one got attention from fans

Su'a Cravens and Will Compton ate dinner together, but only one got attention from fans

Back in February, fans named the Redskins the third-most attractive team in the NFL. On top of that, Will Compton was tabbed the league's fifth-best looking player overall (in fact, he beat out Tom Brady, and everyone knows beating out Tom Brady in anything is always notable). 

A side effect of being revered for your good looks, though, is that other people will sometimes get jealous of them. Take Compton's teammate, Su'a Cravens, for example.

According to some tweets from Cravens, the two Washington defenders were casually eating dinner on Wednesday night, but kept getting interrupted. The reason for the interruptions?

Apparently, they were happening because Compton is just really, really, really, ridiculously good looking

MORE REDSKINS: EX-SKINS OC SEAN MCVAY JUST BOUGHT A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR HOME

Hopefully Compton picked up the tab, at least.