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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.  


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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How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

For the past few seasons, Jonathan Allen was a stud at the heart of Alabama's defense. He was far from the only stud, however, and that might be another factor in why he slipped to the Redskins at pick No. 17 on Thursday night.

The chief concern about Allen is the health of his shoulders, but there's also the question of how he'll do when he's no longer with Nick Saban's star-laden unit. It's easy to succeed when you're a part of a loaded ensemble cast, the thinking might've gone when it came to Allen, but how will you do on your solo project?

In addition to Allen, the Crimson Tide featured Marlon Humphrey (who went 16th to the Ravens), Reuben Foster (who went 31st to the 49ers) and others, like Tim Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Ryan Anderson, all of whom could go in Friday's second round. Together, that's a tremendous defense, but in the NFL, they'll be striking out on their own.


That's another possible explanation for why the Redskins were able to nab what was almost a consensus top-five prospect so late in the event.

"He's a really talented pass rusher but he's always been surrounded by enough talent that it's been hard for offenses to game plan their protection for him," one NFC director of player personnel told NFL.com.

Now, it's not like Allen is joining a bunch of nobodies in Washington. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Zach Brown will also be lining up with him in Greg Manusky's front-seven. Oh, and Allen is no slouch either — the list of his strengths in this particular scouting report contains words like "superior," "proficient," "consistent" and "excellent."

But it is probably fair to say that, comparatively speaking, the rookie won't be amongst as many skilled guys as he was in college. By rushing to the podium to snag him, however, the Redskins clearly expect him to handle the NFL transition just fine.


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Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook visited Redskins Park earlier this month. The Redskins did their homework on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in advance of the draft.

All of that pre-draft work might not matter though as Cook and Mixon will be off the board before the Redskins pick in the second round. At least according to oddsmakers.

Bovada.lv set over/under scenarios for both players. Cook lands at 38.5 and Mixon landed at 42.5.

[Related: Top end talent still available for Redskins in second round, but red flags remain]

Certainly both guys can go past the numbers established by the oddsmakers, but there's a reason drinks are free in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers tend to be very, very close when they set lines.

Considering that, if Washington wants either player, the team would likely have to trade up.

Much speculation has Cook the first player off the board to the Packers with the 33rd pick. It seems like a good fit.

[Related: Casserly says that Jonathan Allen is a more talented player than Solomon Thomas]

Mixon is more interesting. His loathsome action a few years back that was caught on video will continue to haunt him, but he will get drafted in the second round. He has the talent.

Bruce Allen has the capital to make a move. The team has nine more picks in the next six rounds. There's also the report that the team is shopping third-year pro Matt Jones.

Could a package of Jones and a late round pick entice a trade? It could.

Much like Thursday night, there will be plenty to watch Friday night.

More Redskins: Need to know: Five possible second and third round picks for the Redskins