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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Kirk Cousins, what's the next contract extension?

It's easy to knock the Redskins - particularly for the way the team has handled the Kirk Cousins contract situation - but if you look at the core of the team, many of the best players have long-term contracts in place.

The organization has clearly established a system where they identify their best talent and work to get multiyear deals before those players hit free agency. Look at the team's best homegrown players while tabling the Cousins conversation for a moment: Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Jordan Reed all have signed contract extensions before their value would've skyrocketed in free agency.

Considering that, what player might join those ranks soon? A few candidates are emerging:

  • Chris Thompson - Playing on a one-year, $2.7 million deal after his restricted free agency in 2017, it would not be a shock if the team tries to get a deal done with Thompson before the end of the season. Thompson has a ton of value and the trust of coach Jay Gruden. This will be tricky, though, as the free agent market for running backs is not what it used to be. 
  • Bashaud Breeland - Coming off a disappointing 2016 season, Breeland knows he needs to play better to attract the big-money contracts next season in free agency. With a heavy investment in the draft, including back-to-back third-round corners in Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau, it seems unlikely the team will get a deal done with Breeland this season. Don't count it out, however, as Breeland was part of Bruce Allen's 2014 class that has produced well for the Redskins. 
  • Spencer Long - The Redskins staff really likes the continuity being developed along the offensive line. Long is a big part of that at center. The team also drafted Chase Roullier this year, and he could eventually push Long at the center spot. This one will be worth keeping an eye on in Richmond with Long a free agent after the season. Long's development at center has been a positive trend for the Redskins, and for the right price, keeping him in 2018 and beyond seems like something the organization would like to do. 
  • Trent Murphy - This is a tricky one. Murphy had by far his best season in 2016, getting nine sacks and showing he can be a disruptive pass rusher. Then, he was hit with a four-game suspension for PEDs. The Redskins have also invested at outside linebacker in the years since taking Murphy: Preston Smith and rookie Ryan Anderson play the same position. If Murphy can show the same burst once he returns from suspension, the Redskins might be forced to make a decision. No team can have enough pass rushers.

This is just a snapshot of players with expiring contracts. Plenty of others on the roster will be free agents after this season, though the above list is all guys drafted by the organization. Asked about any contract extensions in the works, Redskins SVP of Football Operations and contract guru Eric Schaffer declined much comment. 

No comment doesn't mean that new deals aren't in the works. Don't be surprised if a name from the above list becomes the next homegrown Redskins player with a new deal before free agency hits. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back