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Need to Know: Redskins-Cousins contract deadline FAQ's

Need to Know: Redskins-Cousins contract deadline FAQ's

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 17, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 197 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 55 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 24
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 33
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 47

Deadline day FAQ’s

What exactly is the deadline about?

The franchise-tagged Cousins and the Redskins have until 4 pm today to reach agreement on a long-term contract. If they don’t, Cousins will play out the year getting a fully-guaranteed salary of $23.94 million. The team and the player will not be able to talk about a long-term contract until the end of the season.

What are the chances that they will reach an agreement?

As the saying goes, the chances are slim and none and slim is packing up and getting ready to leave town. Things can always change but the two sides are reported to be too far apart for any meaningful negotiations to take place.

Why won’t they make a deal?

Simply put, they don’t agree on what the value of the deal should be. Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, wants to base the deal on the leverage that the player has in terms of the $23.94 million tag salary this year and either a tag salary of $28.7 million or $34.5 million or unfettered free agency in 2018. The Redskins are basing their offer more on his value relative to other quarterback salaries and on how a long-term Cousins contract would affect their available salary cap for the coming years. The gap between the two camps is just too big right now.

What would have to happen for a deal to come together?

The one man who could quickly change the dynamic here is Dan Snyder. The Redskins owner has largely left the negotiations in the hands of Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer. If he decides that it’s in the long-term interest of the franchise to do whatever needs to be done to lock up Cousins, he may be able to forge an agreement. But even a major Snyder push would not guarantee a deal getting done.

What happens if they don’t reach an agreement?

They would move on to training camp and, as Cousins said in the same situation last year, "see you on the other side". After the season, the Redskins and Cousins could again start having contract talks. Washington would have exclusive negotiating rights until the start of the league year in early March. A couple of weeks before the league year, the Redskins will face a decision about tagging him. They could use the transition tag, which would carry a salary of $28.7 million and it would give the Redskins the right to match an offer sheet that Cousins could negotiate with another team after the start of the league year. If they decline to match there would be no compensation. Or they could put the franchise tag on him for $34.5 million and lock him up for the 2018 season. At that salary, the latter option seems to be unrealistic but there have been plenty of surprises in this saga. The third option would be to let Cousins become an unrestricted free agent.

If there is no deal will it be a distraction for the 2017 season?

It’s possible but I think that fears that the situation will be a big problem are overblown. Sure, there will be a flurry of media coverage and when the team is in Richmond, Cousins and Jay Gruden and others will be asked about it. But last year when Cousins was playing on the tag, the talk quickly turned to who was looking good in training camp, who was injured, who was going to get cut and, once the season started, the upcoming game. There is no reason to think it won’t unfold in a similar manner this year. The exception might be if Cousins goes through an extended slump. That might generate some questions. But if the same thing happened after he had signed a big money deal, the questions would be there as well.

Can they trade Cousins if they don’t reach a deal?

By the rules, yes. In any practical sense, no. Just like any player under a contract without a no-trade clause, Cousins can be traded. But if the Redskins were at all inclined to deal their quarterback they would have done it before the draft, when they could have received some immediate return and would have had more time to plan for a 2017 season without Cousins. If there is no deal today it would not really be a surprising development. They knew it was a strong possibility when they decided not to deal him before the draft so nothing really has changed. Plus, why would a team trade anything of value for a good but not great QB who is on a one-year, $24 million deal?

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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After rookie jitters in Week 1, things are slowing down for Samaje Perine

After rookie jitters in Week 1, things are slowing down for Samaje Perine

Samaje Perine's highlight reel will not feature many clips from his first preseason game. The rookie running back out of Oklahoma struggled in that game, rushing six times for just 15 yards. 

In his second game, however, Perine found his game. Playing with the second team offense, Perine looked strong. He ran eight times for 45 yards, more than 5.5 yards-per-carry, and also caught one pass for 29 yards. 

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"I just got the first game under my belt. First game jitters always going to happen. Once I got that out of the way I got to settle in," Perine said (full video above). "I got to go out and have fun."

More importantly, Perine didn't make the same mistakes the Redskins saw in Baltimore. He held onto the ball, made an impressive catch, and while pass protection will still take some work, he made tremendous strides from the first game. 

"The first game everything was going 100 miles-per-hour," he said of the difference between Week 1 to Week 2. "Once I got a chance to actually reevaluate, and slow things down, it just became football."

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden noticed the difference in Perine's play as well. 

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"I think there was a major step up and I expected that from Samaje," the coach said. "He’s the type of guy that I figured would bounce back. I’m glad to see him play so hard, so well."

The Redskins first-team offense again struggled to run the ball. Rob Kelley doesn't seem to be doing much wrong, as holes and running lanes have not been present with the top unit on the field, but his stats through two games are paltry (12 rushes, 11 yards). 

Perine might eventually push Kelley for carries, but that won't be the case at least early in the season. More performances like the game against Green Bay could possibly accelrate that timeline. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jordan Reed is back, but what happens next?

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USA Today Sports

Redskins Playbook: Jordan Reed is back, but what happens next?

Ugly. Bad. Subpar. Any of these words properly describe the Redskins offense through the first two weeks of the 2017 preseason, but that could change quick. On Sunday, the Redskins announced that Jordan Reed had been activated from the PUP list.

That means the star tight end can again practice with the team. Reed immediately becomes Washington's most dangerous offensive weapon, even on a team with guys packed with potential like Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson, or a player that has produced like Jamison Crowder.

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Reed makes defensive coordinators alternate their game plan, and his health is of paramount importance to the Redskins.

Last season, Reed sustained a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. In the five games after that loss in Dallas, where Reed either didn't play or played with limited effectiveness, the Redskins passed for more than 300 yards just once. In the four games before the injury, including the Cowboys game, the Redskins passed for more than 300 yards three times, and 400 yards twice. 

It's simple really: Reed on the field makes the Redskins offense dynamic. It makes Kirk Cousins a better quarterback. 

Looking ahead, the question becomes if Reed will play in the preseason. He doesn't need to. He really doesn't.

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If he does get through the week of practice healthy and without setback, it seems a safe bet he might play next week against the Bengals. Let Reed get some work, and let the new offense see what it looks like with the No. 1 tight end on the field. 

Reed doesn't need to play in the preseason. His resume, when healthy, speaks volumes. 

But the Redskins might need Reed. The team could use a spark. Against Green Bay's first team defense, the Redskins were wholly ineffective. 

In three seasons, Jay Gruden has never won an opening game as coach of the Redskins. Reed playing in the preseason might not change that, but if Washington is able to get some momentum from an impressive outing against the Bengals, it could help. 

Reed has that type of talent. He's also missd 20 games in a four-year career. Watching him at practice this week will be a major development. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!