There is a long held belief that if an NFL team has a strong player at eachof the following positions secured, success should follow: quarterback,offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner. While the specific weight put on eachhas varied over the years - more than ever passers are paramount to goodfortune in this overt aerial age and some will argue the value of a left tacklehas dipped - the overall concept is one I've followed since my younger days(Ken Beatrice had something to do with this).CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco used this angle to come up with his "four-prongedrankings", focusing on the 2012 season - with seemingly little to zeroemphasis on the future, on upside.Let's emphasize that last point because I feel confident it will take readersof this post, from the rabid face painters to the doom and gloomers, a fewmoments to even comprehend where Prisco's calculations put the Redskins. Let's put it this way. If you used Beatrice's catch phrase "YOURNEXT" every time a new team was revealed, you would utter it 31 times,uncovering every other NFL franchise before the Redskins popped up. After theColts and Vikings, after the Seahawks and Cardinals come the burgundy and gold.Here's how Prisco's math on the locals came to be:- the top player on each team at each position is ranked 1-32 within hiscategory (in other words, Brian Orakpo is listed but not Ryan Kerrigan). Thetop player receives 32 points and so on. However, factoring in the pass-happytimes we live in, points are doubled for the quarterbacks. - The Redskins core four of Robert Griffin III (26 among quarterbacks),Trent Williams (19), Orakpo (14) and DeAngelo Hall (31) combined for 49 points.That's two less than the Cardinals, who managed to somehow top the Redskinseven though the position of their best player (Larry Fitzgerald) is not evenpart of the equation. - The 49 points is also 86 less than the team in first. Nope, not thePackers with Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 quarterback) or the Texans with premiertackle Duane Brown or the Jets and top pass defender Darrelle Revis. In the truestdefinition of adding insult to injury...the Cowboys finished first (rankingDeMarcus Ware tops among pass rushers helped)- Like the draft, RG3 came in one spot behind of Andrew Luck - but alsotrailed Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. Like I said,upside apparently meant squat. -As for Williams and Orakpo, theirrankings seem reasonable(Orakpo is ahead of the 49ers' top blitzer Aldon Smith). Truth is, so doesHall's. No doubt having to scroll down and down this list to find the Redskins was surprisingand instinctively put me into a dukes up position, at first anyway. Obviouslyif the rookie quarterback does a reasonable Cam Newton (11) or Andy Dalton (19)impression, Griffin's ranking will have been too low. Looking at the passers inany way beyond a 2012 prism changes the list, for the good, for the locals thatis.For now, RG3s low number combined with Hall receiving no help from the Russianjudge put the Redskins building blocks into the unenviable position of looking upat all others, on this list anyway.
Redskins president Bruce Allen said that the organization doesn’t want to trade Kirk Cousins even though they don’t appear to want to do what it takes to keep him around in the long term.
Despite all the media buzz surrounding a potential Redskins trade of Cousins in 2017, Allen says that the team has firm plans to have Cousins behind center in Week 1.
“That’s why we franchised him,” Allen told CSN on Sunday at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona.
What about all the trade talk in the media?
"We haven't talked to anyone [about a trade]," he said.
So it sounds like you can take a Sharpie and put Cousins as the starting QB. Or maybe not.
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The period of time from around mid-February until the end of the draft is known around the league as the lying season. The words uttered by the people in Allen’s position are not always put out there in the interest of disseminating the truth. In fact, what is said by NFL executives and coaches is more often about subterfuge and trying to gain leverage than about painting an accurate picture.
The fact remains that trading Cousins could be the smart thing for the Redskins to do if they don’t believe they will be able to come to a long-term contract agreement with their quarterback. They would run a very real risk of losing him as a free agent in 2018 with the only compensation being a 2019 third-round compensatory draft pick.
According to Allen, the organization wants to get Cousins to sign a long-term contract.
“Our goal from the beginning was to sign him long term, July 15 is the league wide deadline to get that done so I’m hopeful and confident we’ll do it,” said Allen.
MORE REDSKINS: Need to Know: Year 3 huge for Preston Smith
It remains to be seen if the Redskins are going to put forth a contract offer that would make sense for the Cousins camp to consider. Cousins will make nearly $24 million fully guaranteed this year on the franchise tag and the Redskins would have to offer him about $28 million guaranteed on the transition tag to prevent him from becoming a free agent next year. Working off that, the Redskins’ offer needs to come up with around $52 million fully guaranteed in the first two years. In early March the team was reported to be offering around $20 million per year with unspecified guarantees. There is Grand Canyon of a gap between that offer and the reality of what it would take to get a deal done.
So the Redskins’ end game remains unclear. Allen says Cousins will be behind center in 2017 even though a trade might make more sense. The team president says he wants to get Cousins signed to a long-term deal but there hasn’t been a report of a contract offer that would even come close to getting that done.
The adage to keep in mind here is that you should not listen to what they say but watch what they do. Allen could be telling it like it is but the situation still bears watching.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 27, 31 days before the April 27 NFL draft.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 21
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 46
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 58
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 110
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 158
Redskins starters quick hitters—defense
DE Stacy McGee—He had his best season last year despite missing seven games with a lingering ankle injury. McGee had just half a sack and no forced fumbled in his first three seasons. Last year he got 2.5 sacks and two FF’s. Improving with experience or turning it on for a contract year? We’ll see.
DE Terrell McClain—The Redskins will be his fifth NFL team in seven seasons, an unusual career path for a one-time third-round pick. Like McGee, in 2016 he exceeded his previous career totals in sacks and forced fumbles.
NT Phil Taylor—Yes, he’s the starter if the season began today. Taylor got off to a nice start after the Browns make him a first-round pick in 2011, starting 16 games and registering four sacks as a rookie. But injuries have taken their toll and he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. He is far from certain to play in 2017, either, if the Redskins can get a good nose tackle candidate in the draft.
ILB Will Compton—Compton is a defensive captain and while he doesn’t make a ton of big plays, his interception in London likely prevented a loss to the Bengals. Still, the Redskins gave him the minimum restricted free agent tender, a sign that they think they could recover if another team signed him away.
ILB Mason Foster—Should the Redskins draft an ILB who can start early, Foster likely will go back into the nickel linebacker role he assumed when Su’a Cravens was out injured.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Although his income has jumped up to eight-figure territory he still drives the same Chevy SUV he’s had for several years. That sort of attitude will serve him well as his career goes on.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0
OLB Preston Smith—The third year is huge for Smith, who has had flashes of dominance followed by weeks of near invisibility. If we see the Smith who showed up against the Vikings more often he could be in line for a big contract extension. But if he’s a no-show too often, edge rusher will appear at the top of the Redskins’ needs list in 2018.
CB Josh Norman—Hopefully, Greg Manusky will have Norman on the other team’s No. 1 receiver from the first snap of Week 1 on. The Redskins were 0-2 before Joe Barry started having Norman shadow and that had them behind the eight ball all year.
CB Bashaud Breeland—He always has a “it’s me vs. the world and all the haters” type of mentality, which is good for a cornerback. It will be interesting to see how he performs in a contract year.
SS Su’a Cravens—Some are skeptical that he has the coverage skills to be a quality strong safety. We won’t really know until he does it.
FS D.J. Swearinger—There also is skepticism regarding the free agent signee. Can he play free safety after playing strong for most of his career? He did it some in Arizona last year but we’ll have to see if his aggressive style will work while being the last line of defense week in and week out.
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I think I'm going to add "dad-gum" to my everyday vocabulary.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) March 26, 2017
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