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Redskins entering uncharted waters in Cousins contract situations

Redskins entering uncharted waters in Cousins contract situations

Last year, the Redskins gave Kirk Cousins the franchise tag on the last possible day. It looks like that is what will happen this year, with the deadline coming at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

However, Cousins getting tagged and then signing the offer shortly after that was the end of the process. This year it looks like it could be the beginning of it. And when it starts, the Redskins will be going into territory where no NFL team has gone before.

It appears that the Redskins and Cousins will have difficulty coming to terms on a new contract. The gap between the team’s valuation of Cousins’ worth in a long-term contract and what Cousins believes he can get on the open market appears to be vast, perhaps several million dollars a year or more. And since Cousins likely will be on the open market in 2018 if he plays out this year on the tag there is no incentive for Cousins to compromise.

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This leaves the Redskins in a box. They can either pay Cousins a significant amount more than they think he is worth, a move that would hamper their ability to pay other players what they are worth. Or they can let another team pay him and move on at the quarterback position.

When faced with such choices in the past, NFL teams have just paid the quarterback whatever it took to get the deal done. The Redskins don’t appear to be inclined to do that.

Since it doesn’t look like they are willing to bite the bullet and pay Cousins they must figure out the end game. Their options are limited. Just letting him go into free agency does not appear to be a realistic way to go. They can franchise tag him, pay him $23.94 million in installments of $1.41 million due each of the 17 weeks of the regular season, and then figure out how to handle 2018 when it comes around. Next year they could let him walk, franchise tag him a third for whopping $34.5 million (unlikely) or give him the transition tag. That tag would be less expensive at $28.7 million and it would give the Redskins the right to match any offer sheet.

None of those 2018 options seems to be particularly attractive. The franchise tag is prohibitively expensive, the transition tag is only slightly less so but it gives the Redskins only the chance to match an offer made to Cousins without the option of taking draft pick compensation. And with either tag, Cousins could simply sign the tag, play out the year on it and become a free agent in 2019 with all tag options off the table.

Their other option is the tag and trade this year. This would entail Cousins getting tagged and then working out a trade that may bring less than the two first-round draft picks as compensation. In fact, it could bring a lot less.

No matter how they proceed, the Redskins will be in uncharted waters. No quarterback has played a second season on the franchise tag. And no quarterback who has thrown for over 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons has played the next season for another team. So, either way the Redskins are doing something that never has been done before.

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If the Redskins move on from Cousins, whether it’s this year or next, they will be saying no to the NFL conventional wisdom that says you pay whatever it takes to hold on to your quarterback. When, say, the Patriots do something unconventional or when the Seahawks don’t follow the NFL orthodoxy the assumption is that they know what they are doing and that everything will turn out fine.

However, the Redskins do not enjoy a sterling reputation for being smart operators. Their last major quarterback decision, trading three first-round picks and a second for Robert Griffin III, quickly turned into a disaster. They will get no benefit of the doubt no matter how they proceed here.

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.

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Redskins' Reed gets back to practice, may play vs. Bengals

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Redskins' Reed gets back to practice, may play vs. Bengals

After missing all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list with a toe injury, Jordan Reed has returned to practice for the Redskins. According to coach Jay Gruden, the Pro Bowl tight end participated in everything in today’s session, the first one open to the media since Reed was activated off of the PUP list on Sunday.

“I'm feeling good,” Reed said. “It felt obviously great to be back out there with my teammates and getting back to work.

Reed said that the toe was “100 percent right now,” a good sign for a Redskins’ offense that has struggled to move the ball in the preseason.

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“We’re easing him back in the offense,” said Gruden. “He did some good things in the passing game, we put him in the running game a little bit. [He] did good, he looks well.”

Gruden said that here is a chance that Reed will play in the Redskins’ preseason game against the Bengals on Sunday.

“I’d like to get him back out there and get in the running game a little bit, get involved, and catch a couple of passes,” he said.

But Gruden emphasized that Reed will not play if the training staff thinks there is a risk of re-injuring the toe.

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Reed wants to get out there and play some.

“I think it's real important just to feel some hits and live bullets at me and things like that - get my feet under me,” said. “I think it's really important.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins said that he is happy to get one of his favorite weapons back. He noted that he had all of his top pass catchers on the field for the first time since the start of camp.

“I think just as important as having Jordan back was having our whole offense together for the first time,” said Cousins. “Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, some of the other guys who have at times take off days here and there. We haven’t had many days when the whole group was together.”

Whether the whole group is together on Sunday or not, it looks like they all will be one the field when the games start to count on September 10.

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.

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Junior Galette back on the practice field, but preseason future uncertain

Junior Galette back on the practice field, but preseason future uncertain

Redskins fans really want to see Junior Galette on the field. They really, really want to see him on the field. For his part, Galette wants back out there too, just check his social media. 

Good news then came Wednesday afternoon when Washington coach Jay Gruded revealed that Galette was back at practice after missing the better part of two weeks with a hamstring injury. Galette, remember, hasn't played in two seasons for the Redskins, missing both years with Achilles injuries. 

"[Galette] did some team excercises. He did all the individuals. He did some team stuff, not a lot, but he just wanted to get in there and get his feet wet and see how he felt," Gruden said of the outside linebacker. "He felt pretty good."

Now, assuming Galette practices all week without a setback, Gruden will have a decision to make. After losing Trent Murphy for the season to a knee injury in the first preseason game against Baltimore, the Redskins go from a situation where production from Galette went from a luxury to a necessity. Do the Redskins want, or even need, to see Galette get some live game action before Week 1 against the Eagles? Or is it best to keep Galette safe and sound on the bench during the remaining two preseason games?

"I would like to get him some action before he plays because he hasn't played in a couple years," Gruden said. 

"I would like to get him out there, but I also don't want to jeopardize his hamstring and have him re-injure it. There is a fine line there," the coach said. "We will have to wait and see how he does."

Early in training camp in Richmond, Galette looked like a force. His speed off the edge was apparent, and he showed repeatedly an ability to stop the run as well.

The Redskins need to see that this fall. And Gruden is the only one to decide if he needs to see that in August.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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