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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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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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