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Need to Know: Will the Redskins risk the downside of letting Cousins go?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins risk the downside of letting Cousins go?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 2, 8 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 46
—NFL Draft (4/27) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 135
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 192

Will the Redskins be able to say no to their QB?

The Redskins are entering a place where few NFL teams have gone before. They have placed the franchise tag on their quarterback for the second time. Drew Brees (2005) was the only other QB has played out one season on the franchise tag. The Chargers didn’t hit him a second time in 2006 because they had drafted Phillip Rivers.

Quarterbacks rarely play out a season on the franchise tag because teams usually end up caving in and giving the quarterback most if not all of what he wants. It’s like concessions at an airport or at the stadium.

There are fewer quarterbacks than there are teams that need quarterbacks. Unless you’re in a position like the 2006 Chargers where you have a ready replacement, you pay the man whatever it takes to keep them. Quality quarterbacks just don’t hit the free agent market. No quarterback who passed for more than 4,000 years in back-to-back seasons, as Cousins has, has played for another team the next season. It just doesn’t happen.

Right now, the word is that the Redskins are unwilling to pay Cousins what he is asking for, presumably a deal with an average annual value at least equal to his $24 million franchise tag salary. But they have time to change their minds.

Will the Redskins just say no to this NFL conventional wisdom that has been around ever since the onset of the free agency era in 1993? Can they let Cousins walk without a viable option to replace him?

When it comes down to it I find it hard to believe that the Redskins will ignore 24 years of data when it comes to free agency the quarterback position. Teams have let players, great players, at every other position walk out the door. But if a quarterback has a good season or two, he stays.

The downside of letting a quarterback like Cousins walk can be huge. If he goes on to be a solid player for someone else and the Redskins go back to struggling to find an answer like they did for over 20 years between Mark Rypien and Cousins, they would be subject to endless ridicule, and rightfully so. On top of that they will struggle to stay in consistent contention for the playoffs.

When it comes down to it, will the organization set itself up to be in that situation? They have a well-earned reputation for making some moves that go spectacularly wrong (see RG3 trade and Albert Haynesworth contract for examples). you have to wonder if in the final analysis, they will see that the downside of paying Cousins more than they may think he’s worth is preferable to the downside of the nightmare scenario of seeing him succeed elsewhere while they continue to search for a QB.

Or, back to Rank’s tweet above, if they should just buy the expensive airport beer or get on the plane thirsty.

In case you missed it

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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One surprising stat that puts Vernon Davis at top of NFL tight ends

One surprising stat that puts Vernon Davis at top of NFL tight ends

Vernon Davis played well in 2016, quite well in fact. Signed to a one-year deal after a poor 2015 season, expectations were low for Davis and he over-delivered.

He ended the season with 44 catches and 583 yards to go with two touchdowns, but a stat from Pro Football Focus truly stands out. 

There were 15 tight ends with more yards than Davis, including one on his own team in Jordan Reed. Still, at age 32, Davis had the moves to make defenders miss. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Even early in 2016, as early as training camp, a number of Redskins players mentioned that Davis still had speed and quickness. That didn't change throughout the 16 game season. Pro Football Focus just quantified it. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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Terrelle Pryor has no problem keeping up with Antonio Brown during offseason workout

Terrelle Pryor has no problem keeping up with Antonio Brown during offseason workout

Having a workout buddy is good. Having a workout buddy who's a three-time All-Pro and who churns out 100-catch seasons like Michael Bay churns out dreadful Transformers sequels, however, is better.

It's that second kind that Terrelle Pryor has chosen to spend time with recently. On Thursday, the Redskins wideout tweeted footage of him working out alongside Antonio Brown, and even though he is much taller and 40+ pounds heavier than the Steelers star, Pryor didn't have that much trouble keeping up with the NFL's top outside threat.

MORE REDSKINS: POSITION PREVIEW - HOW WILL THE RECEIVERS FARE?

Take a look at this race between the two, for instance, in which the pair of pass-catchers blow by the camera man so quickly, he fails to film the contest's conclusion:

You can also watch Pryor and Brown go through a ladder drill while wearing a band around their ankles at the end of this video from the Redskins. Now, that band would likely cause some problems for common folk trying to complete the drill, but as these two show, they aren't common:

They even found time for yoga (please be sure to note how Pryor's groutfit is so thorough that it includes his mat): 

For a guy like Pryor — who's still relatively new to his position — spending offseason time with Antonio Brown could really pay off for both him and the Redskins in 2017.

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