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Need to Know: The Redskins have never signed a tagged player long term

Need to Know: The Redskins have never signed a tagged player long term

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 14, 14 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 186 days ago. It will be 60 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 1; Preseason opener @ Falcons 28; Final roster cut 51

Long-term Cousins deal off of the tag would be a first for the Redskins

—I’m publishing this about 36 hours before the deadline for Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract with the Redskins. I would think that if something is going to happen that we’ll start hearing some rumblings of talk and movement at some point today. If we hear nothing but crickets today it’s hard to imagine anything happening on Friday.

—The Redskins are taking a risk by not locking up Cousins this year but it’s a risk they have taken before. In 2014 they put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo. He was coming off of his best season since his 2009 rookie year when his contract ran out. He was tagged and signed the tender. The Redskins never made a serious long-term contract offer to Orakpo and the deadline came and went. Had Orakpo duplicated his 2013 season (10 sacks and his first career interception) they would have had to pay high premium dollars to keep him. But in 2014 he had just a half of a sack before getting going on injured reserve after seven games. While you hate to say that anybody “wins” when a player gets injured, it turns out that the Redskins made the right move. Orakpo left as a free agent and Washington drafted Preston Smith.

—The Redskins have never signed a tagged player to a long-term contract. Their first franchised player was LB Wilber Marshall, who ended up with the Oilers after a contentious debate over compensation. A few years later transition-tagged CB Tom Carter signed an offer sheet with the Bears and the Redskins chose not to match. DT Sean Gilbert sat out a year rather than play on the franchise tag in 1997. He was tagged again in 1998 and eventually signed with the Panthers, giving the Redskins two first-round picks. CB Champ Bailey was on the tag for a few weeks before being traded to the Broncos in 2004. They didn’t use the tag again until 2012, when TE Fred Davis was franchised. He suffered a torn Achilles in Week 7, signed a one-year deal to return the next year, and hasn’t played since. Then came Orakpo.

—This doesn’t mean that Cousins isn’t long for Ashburn. For one thing, what happened with Marshall over 20 years ago has no bearing on what will take place in 2016. But the scarcity of quality quarterbacks in the NFL today makes Cousins more of a priority than the other tagged players were (although it must be said that CB’s like Bailey don’t grown on trees). I don’t think they’ll let him get away. If they don’t sign him by tomorrow at 4 p.m. they will get something done next year. It may cost them more but barring a total collapse in his performance they will pay the going rate and keep Cousins under center into the next decade.

Update: I left one tagged Redskin off the list. In 1995 they gave the transition tag to kicker Chip Lohmiller. The Redskins and Lohmiller never agreed on a contract and in August they rescinded the tag and let him go.

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Worried about the Redskins' schedule? Maybe you should be but schedules that look tough in July often look different when the games are played.

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 27-10 win over the Raiders:

This was the Redskins best defensive performance since 1991. That was the last time they held an opponent to under 128 total yards. They were physical, smart, determined and they made plays. If not for two turnovers they would have had a shutout. Oakland did not cross the Washington 48 without the benefit of a gift. Just dominant. 

With a strong defense, you can do what you want to on offense. I asked Kirk Cousins how much running for a couple of yards a pop as Samaje Perine was doing early in the game helped the offense. He answered in part by saying that the offense can afford to run for a low average per carry when the defense is playing so well. That's true. A punt isn't a bad play when you are confident that you are likely to get the ball back three plays later. 

Chris Thompson just keeps getting better every week. His patience when he has the ball in his hands and his ability to burst into the opening when it's there are textbook excellent. Oh yeah, his open field speed, which he gets to show off after being patient and cutting is amazing. Even the smaller plays, like two near the end of the half, when he wove his way through the cracks in the defense and then got out of bounds after gaining everything he could, are fun to watch. He is the Redskins' offensive MVP so far. 

Doctson showed why the Redskins drafted him on one flash. Nobody is going to give Josh Doctson an MVP award but we did see his potential when he went up and took that deep pass away from David Amerson for the touchdown. Plays like that make you see why the Redskins drafted him in the first round and why they have been patient with him. He will need to develop consistency but in the meantime, splash plays like that help a lot.

It’s hard to find fault in this one. Normally in these posts, I try to find a positive in a loss and something to be critical of in a win. But it’s really hard to find much to be critical about in the immediate aftermath of this one. Jamison Crowder’s muff of a punt certainly was an issue and perhaps Samaje Perine could have made more out of the line’s blocking for him. But from the defense to Cousins to Thompson to Zach Brown to D.J. Swearinger and many more, it was as dominant a game as we’ve seen from this team in a while. Can they keep it up? Tune in next Monday from Arrowhead Stadium and we’ll find out.

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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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — It took a while, longer than likely anyone expected, but Josh Doctson's first career touchdown catch may just have been worth the wait.

In the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, Kirk Cousins lofted a deep ball from a bit beyond midfield toward Doctson, who was being boxed out by David Amerson. And as the pass made its descent, Amerson went up to go snag it.

There was just one problem for the corner: Doctson went up and got to it first.

The result? A 52-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the hosts but, far more importantly, opened — quite forcefully, too — everyone's eyes to the sheer talent No. 18 possesses.

MORE: WHY THE DEFENSE'S EFFORT WAS SO ENCOURAGING

"I just made the play," the second-year wideout said afterward, about as nonchalantly as he made the TD look even though it absolutely wasn't. "It was pretty simple to be honest."

Against the Eagles and Rams in Weeks 1 and 2, Doctson suited up for Washington's offense but wasn't involved at all. And in the early going vs. Oakland, it again looked like he'd walk off the field with the same statline as an inactive player, on the verge of facing more questions about why he isn't producing. 

But that all changed on one jump-ball, which is exactly what his head coach has been anxiously waiting for.

"I think it was some relief for him," Jay Gruden answered when asked about the highlight. "I think the players have seen him do that in practice quite often but nobody else has... It wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but to give him a chance where he can go up and make a big time catch, hopefully we'll get more of that."

RELATED: REDSKINS PLAYERS SIT AND KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Doctson's QB, who gestured toward him during the post-score celebration as if to say There's the dude you've all been hearing about for months, certainly appreciated it.

"I do like Josh's ball skills and his ability to catch the ball up in the air and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to give him a chance, they have been asking me to give him that chance and let's give it to him," Cousins said.

As fans of the team know all too well by now, Doctson isn't someone that can be counted on yet. He's oft-injured, and the grab he made over Amerson, while spectacular, was just the third of his career. 

But that sequence provides hope that many more similar to it will follow if he continues to stay healthy and gains more of Gruden's and Cousins' trust this year. He's still far from validating his 2016 first-round selection, but it's now obvious he has the skills to distance himself from those who so badly want to label him a bust.