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Need to Know: Will Cousins sign with the Redskins by the deadline?

Need to Know: Will Cousins sign with the Redskins by the deadline?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 14, 10 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

What will Cousins’ deal look like?

March 1, the last day for teams to give players the franchise tag, is about two and a half weeks away. That is the initial deadline for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins to agree to a long-term contract. Will a deal get done or not? Will it be for top dollar or something less than that?

Let’s get $100 in imaginary casino chips and spread them over four potential scenarios according to what I think the chances are. You will note that Cousins leaving and signing with another team is not one of the scenarios; I simply don’t think there is any chance of that happening.

Agrees to contract in $17-$18 million per year range, $20—This would be a relatively short-term deal, perhaps four years with the last one voidable with about $20 million guaranteed. It also would contain some incentives that would pay off for achieving individual and team goals. Cousins’ camp may want a deal like this if he wants another chance to be a free agent at age 30.

Agrees to contract in $19-$20 million per year range, $35—This would a four- or five-year deal with at least $30 million guaranteed. A $20 million per year deal in terms of annual average it would get him up with Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan. Yes, those are two Super Bowl winners and a player who has been to multiple playoffs. But the fact that the salary cap has increased dramatically since those deals were signed needs to be accounted for. The key to avoiding future cap issues like the Saints and Ravens are going through is to not backload the deal too heavily.

Gets tagged, signs by July 15 deadline, $25—It’s quite possible that the negotiations will go into overtime. I don’t want to create a new betting category here but I do think that Cousins will sign the tender and participate in the offseason program. He didn’t get first-team reps last offseason since Robert Griffin III was the starter and I doubt that he will want to set himself up for failure by missing a chance to get those reps.

Gets tagged, plays the season on the tag, $15—This really isn’t a good option for anybody. Cousins gets a nice $19 million for 2016 but no security. The Redskins get another year to evaluate Cousins’ worth on a long-term deal but if he is even competent they set themselves up for a bigger contract fight in 2017 with the tag price for Cousins jumping up to $23 million. Despite the downsides I might be underestimating the possibility of this scenario playing out. Stay tuned.

How do you think it will play out? Place your bets in the comments below.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 35 days ago. It will be about 210 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 10; NFL free agency starts 24; 2016 NFL draft 74

In case you missed it

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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