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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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Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan advising other teams in advance of NFL Draft, per NFL Network

Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan advising other teams in advance of NFL Draft, per NFL Network

Redskins team president Bruce Allen made clear at the NFL League Meetings that former general manager Scot McCloughan is free to work elsewhere in the NFL. Now it appears that's happening. 

Mike Garafalo of the NFL Network reported that McCloughan has advised multiple NFL teams in advance of the draft. 

McCloughan was let go by the Redskins in early March after a tumultuous few months following the 2016 season. A slew of reports pegged the GM's ouster on a combination of a power struggle with Allen and other outlets suggested problems with alcohol played a part in his firing. 

CLICK HERE FOR 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 11.0

In previous stops with the 49ers and Seahawks, alcohol played a large role in McCloughan's removal from front office jobs. Before he was hired by Washington in 2015, McCloughan was operating his own scouting service. 

Redskins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained earlier this week that McCloughan played a part in setting the Redskins draft board. Campbell added, however, that much information on the board has changed since McCloughan was fired.

Outside of a small circle of people, it's hard to know exactly what transpired that led to McCloughan's firing. Regardless, it's not a surprise that he is back providing information about college prospects. 

MORE REDSKINS: 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

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Five things to watch during the NFL draft while waiting for the Redskins to pick

Five things to watch during the NFL draft while waiting for the Redskins to pick

The Redskins have the 17th pick in tonight’s first round. Things get underway when the Browns go on the clock at about 8 p.m. There are 10 minutes allotted between picks. If each team takes the maximum time the Redskins will pick sometime after 11 p.m. However, picks are usually in with a few minutes to spare so Washington will go on the clock sometime between 10 and 10:30.

So, what is there to watch for until then? In what everything thinks will be one of the wildest and most unpredictable first rounds in recent memory, here are five places where the decisions made could have ripple effects back to pick No. 17.

No. 1, Browns—The steaming hot rumor that has popped up in the last 24 hours is that QB Mitchell Trubisky, not DE Myles Garret, will be the top pick in the draft. Of course, that talk could be a steaming pile of, well, what comes out of the south end of a bull. If the Browns do go with Trubisky, who was expected to remain on the board through the first five picks, there could be a run on quarterbacks in the top half of the draft, with teams maneuvering to get their guy. That could push a solid defensive player back to the Redskins.

No. 4, Jaguars—Nobody is quite sure what is going on here. Leonard Fournette is the chalk pick but this is the team that drafted Blake Bortles completely out of the blue in the top five a few years ago. They have spent a lot of draft capital and free agent money on defense. They may be ready to move on from Bortles so a QB is a possibility, a move that would start or, if Trubusky goes to the Browns at No. 1, continue a run on quarterbacks.

RELATED: Final NFL Mock Draft

No. 8, Panthers—In a draft that is supposedly unpredictable, the constant in mock drafts over the last 10 days or so has been Christian McCaffrey to Carolina. It almost seems to be too simple to be true, especially if the top seven picks are loaded with surprises. The Panthers have plenty of needs and if they have a top safety or linebacker fall into their laps they could well bypass McCaffrey. That would put him in play for the Redskins at 17.

No. 13, Cardinals—We go back to quarterbacks here. Will the Cardinals, who have plenty of needs, take a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech to groom to replace Carson Palmer? If they do, that could force the a QB-needy team picking later in the first such as the Texans to move up to make sure they aren’t left out. That could have them on the phone to Ashburn offering their second-round pick to entice the Redskins to move down to No. 25.

MORE REDSKINS: Final Redskins mock: Defense goes 1-2, surprise in the third 

No. 16, Ravens—Picking immediately in front of the Redskins, the Ravens also have needs everywhere. Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster seem like the type of player the Ravens like so there is the possibility that the Redskins could see a very good player at a top area of need slide back towards them only to get snatched up one pick prior to them going on the clock. The good news may be that many analysts have Baltimore addressing wide receiver or offensive line at No. 16 and those positions are not likely to be of high interest to the Redskins in the first round.

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.