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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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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

Tandler on Twitter

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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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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