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Need to Know: Do the Redskins need to lock up Cousins before Luck signs?

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Need to Know: Do the Redskins need to lock up Cousins before Luck signs?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 26, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 168 days ago. It will be 78 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 19; Preseason opener @ Falcons 46; Final roster cut 69

Should the Redskins get Cousins signed before Luck gets done?

The news, such as it was, on Kirk Cousins’ contract last week was not encouraging. It was reported that there has been little substantial progress towards getting a long-term deal done. In fact, according to Albert Breer’s of MMQB, both sides were working on the assumption that Cousins will play out the 2016 with the $19.95 million franchise tag salary.

And it should be noted that this is the proper stance for Cousins’ camp and the Redskins to take at this phase. Neither should seem desperate to get a deal done. With almost three weeks to go there is no reason for one side to show signs of panic to the other.

But the Redskins have to have one thing in the back of their minds that may create some desperation as the deadline gets closer. Breer mentioned the ongoing Andrew Luck contract extension talks. Colts owner Robert Irsay has said that the deal will be “a big number”, which in today’s quarterback market is something in the neighborhood of $25 million per year.

So let’s paint the nightmare scenario for the Redskins, at least in financial terms. The July 15 deadline passes with no deal and Cousins plays on the tag in 2016. Then just before training camp starts the blockbuster deal for Luck is announced at six years, $150 million with $75 million guaranteed.

Suppose Cousins clearly outperforms Luck in 2016. Not necessarily because he’s a better, more talented quarterback than Luck but because he has better weapons and an offense that fits him perfectly.

If that entirely plausible scenario unfolds Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, will want to start negotiations in 2017 with Luck’s deal. The Redskins, who could lock up Cousins now for something in the neighborhood of $20 million per year right now, maybe even a bit less, may end up paying more—a lot more.

According to the old adage, patience is a virtue. But perhaps not in this case. Making sure that Cousins gets locked up in the next three weeks might cost them a couple of million more per year than they really want to pay. If they wait it out and Luck resets the market they might end up paying $40 million more over the life of the contract than they might if they act now.

What Luck may or may not do should not dictate what the Redskins and Cousins do. But it is a factor that needs to be considered.

 

In case you missed it 

 

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Redskins, Cousins agent will meet at the NFL Combine

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USA Today Sports

Redskins, Cousins agent will meet at the NFL Combine

The Redskins will sit down with Mike McCartney this week to continue the process of working out a long-term contract for his client, franchise tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“Eric Schaffer, who’s a great guy and works hard for the Redskins, and I are going to get together this week,” McCartney told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, just a few hours after the Redskins announced that they had placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins.

McCartney said that he has had “a few back and forths” with the Redskins since the end of the season, when the two sides were permitted to talk about a long-term deal again after being prohibited from doing so during the season as Cousins played on the franchise tag.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

Schaffer’s formal title is the Redskins’ Vice President of Football Administration. In layman’s terms he is the team’s contracts and cap guru. He and McCartney will work to hammer out the details of a deal that, if it gets done, will have a lot of zeroes in it.

How much will it take to get it done? McCartney strongly hinted that their position would start with making Cousins one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the game.

He was asked about using the extension that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signed, a deal that carries an average annual value of $24.6 million, as a comparable deal to work off of in the negotiations. He said that they certainly would have to consider that contract in the negotiations. However, McCartney believes the price tag that the Redskins themselves put on Cousins is the best indicator of his value.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

“We’re sitting here today, we’ve had a one-year offer placed on Kirk that says he’s worth $24 million,” he said. “Kirk didn’t ask for that, I didn’t ask for that. The club chose to put that on him. Now, we’re very, very appreciative of that. We recognize that that’s a commitment from a club and they’re sending a message by making it non-exclusive that they see him as a franchise quarterback. And they’re willing to do that for one year. But that’s his value right now, until we do a deal.”

[McCartney apparently misspoke when he said that the tag was “non-exclusive” since it was exclusive]

Note that McCartney did not lock himself into a negotiating position, saying that the QB’s value is $24 million “right now, until we do a deal”. He could negotiate from a higher or lower number depending on what happens between now and the July 15 deadline to get a contract done.

In any case, he’s talking about high-priced territory. It remains to be seen if Schaffer, Bruce Allen, and Scot McCloughan are willing to talk about a deal in that neighborhood. 

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Talking Kirk Cousins' options with NFL Network's Mike Garafalo

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Talking Kirk Cousins' options with NFL Network's Mike Garafalo

NFL Network's Mike Garafalo joins JP Finlay with the latest on the Redskins options with Kirk Cousins, and despite the exclusive tag, that still includes trade options.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!