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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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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.