Quick Links

Need to Know: What is Cousins' future with the Redskins?

Need to Know: What is Cousins' future with the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 29, 10 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

What is Cousins' future?

If you’ll note the date stamp on this tweet, it’s from October 19, the day after the loss to the Jets. That was a “bad Kirk” day as he threw two interceptions and was off target on a number of other passes.

My response to Markian was that I would look at his question during the bye. And now, of course, Cousins is coming off of a “good Kirk” performance in leading the Redskins to a comeback win over the Bucs.

And it is the up-and-down nature of Cousins’ performances that makes predicting his future so difficult. It’s easy to sit here now and say that he’s turned the corner and his star is rising. But it sure didn’t look that way 10 days ago and it might not after the bye when the Redskins go on the road to play two undefeated teams, the Patriots and Panthers, in their first three games after the bye.

But if things were calm and stable, and certain I wouldn’t be putting casino chips on future events. So let’s go with an imaginary $100 in casino chips to lay down on the possible outcomes.

Cousins is slated to be an unrestricted free agent next year so “cut him” is not an option.

Let him walk—$10 This would mean letting him go without a contract offer or one that is such a lowball deal that he would be a fool to accept it. It would take about seven or eight “bad Kirk” performances in the last 11 games with maybe a couple of “horrible Kirk” games that we haven’t see this year but are in his past (see Thursday night vs. Giants in 2014).

Bring him back on a short-term deal—$65 I’m doing a post later today on free agents and I’ll go into what a deal like this might look like. It would be something that would tie Cousins to the team for the two years with perhaps a third-year option. This would be the scenario of Cousins continues to go along about like he has, mixing some good games with some that show that he is still a work in progress. The team likely would bring in some competition for Cousins if they take a wait and see stance such as this.

Bring him back on a long-term deal—$20 If you’ve been following along here, you can probably figure out that this is what happens if he copies and pastes the Bucs game several more times this year and cures the interception bug so that his lows are not nearly as low. The Redskins somehow sneaking into the playoffs in a weak NFC East and winning a home playoff game would help. This would be a four- or five-year deal worth something in the $15-$17 million range with escalators to bump his pay up if he exceeds expectations and escape hatches for the team to get out of it if he underperforms the deal.

Franchise tag—$5 This is worth a flyer because crazy things happen in the NFL. This would take Cousins hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and driving off the new car as the MVP. I’d probably go a little lower than five bucks this but this casino doesn’t do $1 chips.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Bye week

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 10; Saints @ Redskins 17; Redskins @ Panthers 24

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

Always something on social:

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Quick Links

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

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.