Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money.
There’s a lot of water under the bridge between Kirk Cousins & Washington. Told a long term deal "doesn’t look promising" by 7/17 #Redskins— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
I have spoken to many in regards to Redskins and Cousins...told there isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy...this is deeper— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
20 days until this long term contract deadline. We are at a point...the Redskins and Cousins need each other... but don't want each other.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.
It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.
The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million.
Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media.
The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins.
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Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?
Position: Interior offensive line
On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick
Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long
As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.
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The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.
Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).
Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.
On the bubble: Roullier
In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.
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Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick
You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.