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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

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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