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Need to Know: Cousins-Redskins deal becomes more of a long shot by the hour

Need to Know: Cousins-Redskins deal becomes more of a long shot by the hour

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 15, 13 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 187 days ago. It will be 59 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 27; Final roster cut 50; Cowboys @ Redskins 66

Deal with Cousins looks more unlikely with each 

—The odds that the Redskins and Kirk Cousins getting a long-term contract done have been long for a while now. Today, on the morning of the deadline to get a deal done, those slim chances are rapidly turning to none. Although things can happen at the last minute, as I noted yesterday we probably would have started to hear some rumblings from the two sides by now and it seems like we’re headed into just another Friday at Redskins Park.

—Some are wringing their hands over the prospect of Cousins going into 2016 on the tag. For one thing, they are afraid that it will become a “distraction”. Ever since I’ve heard talk of this I’m trying to figure out how a quarterback being on a one-year contract or, essentially being on the last year of his contract is a major distraction. Sure, he’ll get asked about it in the initial press conference in Richmond and may be from time to time. But once the season starts it becomes about the next opponent is and who’s injured and how many games they are into or out of a playoff spot. Remember the huge RG3 distraction that consumed last year? Yeah, me neither.

—There also is some concern, expressed in an article by colleague JP Finlay, that going into 2017 with Cousins unsigned could take away the franchise tag as a tool that could help in the retention of Junior Galette if he has a big 2016 season. You can only use it on one player a year and if they have to tag Cousins again they wouldn’t be able to tag Galette. That may be an issue but I don’t think that it is worth making what you believe to be a bad deal with your quarterback to prevent. If they want to sign both Galette and Cousins next year they can sign one before free agency starts and tag the other. Or sign both and not use the tag. In any case, it’s a bridge they can cross in 2017.

—Although I believe that it would be better for them to get a deal done this year, it’s hard for me to be too rough on the organization for being cautious. This is the same bunch that everyone has been highly critical of for impulsive spending. Maybe this strikes some as being an odd time to suddenly reign in the fiscal madness but you have to start somewhere. If they start by needing to see another season of Cousins as the man behind center I can live with that.

—So let’s say they could sign Cousins for $21 million per year this year and if he plays well it will cost them $25 million per season next year. I’m not going to pretend that $4 million a year isn’t a lot of money. But it’s just 2.4 percent of the 2017 projected cap of $166 million. Sure it could make a difference but I think that is an amount that the collective IQs of Eric Schaffer and Scot McCloughan can maneuver around. No deal does not mean imminent salary cap hell.

—Finally, I’m not completely ruling out a deal happening here. I’d say the chances have shrunk to around one percent but, yes, I’m saying there’s a chance (and, no, I'm not going to link to the Dumb and Dumber scene).

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I did some Q&A on Twitter last night; here is one exchange.

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Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

Will Jay Gruden increase his 'big role' in the Redskins' personnel process?

While it hasn’t been the best offseason for the Redskins organization in many respects it has been a good one for coach Jay Gruden. In the midst of turmoil over the status of general manager Scot McCloughan, Gruden got a two-year contract extension.

Although the final agreement on the deal came on March 4 in a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine, team president Bruce Allen said that talk of extending Gruden started much earlier.

“It was after the season, Dan [Snyder], Jay and I got together and we talked about the game plan because we’d made some changes on the coaching staff as well following the season,” Allen told CSN’s JP Finlay at the owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Gruden became the team’s head coach in 2014. His original five-year contract was set to expire after the 2018 season but now he is in the fold through 2020.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Gruden’s record in Washington is 21-26-1, not the kind of record that normally has an organization rushing to extend a head coach. But after a 4-12 inaugural season, Gruden has led the Redskins to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1 the last two years. While by many standards that is a modest achievement, it marked the first back-to-back winning seasons in Washington since 1996-1997. The hope is that Gruden will keep them moving in the right direction.

The extension is likely to be popular in the locker room as players have come to like Gruden’s style.  

“His directness, his sarcasm and at the same time he gets his coaching point in but the guys do like his sense of humor as well,” said Allen. 

It’s not known if Gruden’s extension gives him more authority over personnel. His original deal gave him very little, with first Allen and then McCloughan having the final say in personnel selection and control over who makes the 53-man roster. Some NFL head coaches have final say in free agency acquisition and in the draft while many have control over who makes the 53.

MORE REDSKINS: 3 takeaways from talking to Allen

Gruden does have some informal influence when it comes to the draft.

“He’s got a big role,” said Allen. “First of all, he coordinates all the coaches’ reports and when we set the draft board, Jay will be up there. He watches every player who will be on the draft board and he will have an opinion.”

There is a power vacuum at Redskins Park with McCloughan gone. A new general manager won’t get hired until after the draft and the authority of that GM will have will be a matter of negotiation. It would not be surprising to see Gruden ending up with roster control.

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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Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

Need to Know: What is the Redskins' plan for QB Kirk Cousins?

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

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 20
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 45
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 57
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 109
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 157

Tuesday three and out

1. Maybe Bruce Allen and the Redskins have a master plan for saving the whole Kirk Cousins situation but right now it just looks like they’re stuck without a solution to paying $24 million to a quarterback who likely will be gone in a year. That’s money that could either be rolled over into future seasons if Cousins gets traded or used as a down payment on a long-term Cousins deal. Maybe there’s a master plan there somewhere but right now it looks an awful lot like the organization is just stumbling around in the dark, stubbing its toe while trying to find the light switch.

2. WR Brian Quick will cost the Redskins less against the salary cap than they are paying him. That’s because his contract takes advantage of the minimum salary benefit. He gets the sixth-year minimum salary of $775,000 plus an $85,000 signing bonus, a total of $860,000. Because of the minimum salary and low signing bonus the CBA rules allow the team to essentially discount the cap hit for the contract down to $695,000. The rule is designed so that younger players are necessarily cheaper, at least when it comes to the salary cap.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

3. Allen hinted that the Redskins won’t necessarily hire a general manager after the draft. While talking to colleague JP Finlay he said, “We’ll talk about what we need after the draft from a staffing standpoint.” Not “we’ll search high and low for the best GM in the business” but that needs will be examined. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

And out—Allen didn’t have much to say when JP asked about the stadium project that was a hot topic a year or so ago, only confirming that talks are ongoing. The fact that he had so little to say, not even some platitudes about the desire to build a great environment for the fans. Reading between the lines, this makes me think that a deal is getting close and the less that is said about it at this point the better. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will be term limited out of office next January and the feeling is that he will want to leave a Redskins stadium deal as his legacy.

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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