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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).

Tandler on Twitter

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

In case you missed it 

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!