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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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.