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Report: Kirk Cousins says he will play for 49ers, whether this year or next

Report: Kirk Cousins says he will play for 49ers, whether this year or next

The Redskins placed an exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins and reportedly rebuffed his request for a trade, but the team's stance doesn't seem to have swayed him from getting out. 

According to a report from Eric Galko of Sporting News, Cousins has told at least one person that he will be a San Francisco 49er, whether that happens this year or next year when he becomes a free agent. 

Cousins has been linked to the 49ers since the team hired Kyle Shanahan as head coach. Shanahan was formerly his offensive coordinator in Washington and will bring an offense suited to Cousins to San Francisco. 

Galko's report is the latest to indicate that Cousins wants a reunion with his old coach. 

RELATED: Redskins free agency live blog: News and rumors

The Michigan State alum has two potential paths out west: The Redskins could trade him this year, which they've reportedly resisted, or he could wait until he becomes a free agent in 2018 to sign with the 49ers. 

The steady drip of reports about Cousins' standoff with the Redskins should be viewed in the context of the larger negotiation. Both sides will try to leverage the media coverage in contract or trade talks. 

By signaling that he will walk in free agency, the Cousins camp can apply pressure on the Redskins to trade him now, thus getting something in return, rather than force him to play one more year and get nothing when he leaves. 

Washington, for its part, has taken the stance that it won't move Cousins.

That position tells potential suitors that only an extraordinary offer could pry him out of Washington. And it just so happens that San Francisco has an extraordinary asset: The No. 2 overall draft pick. 

At most, this latest report tells us Cousins still hopes to force a trade to the 49ers this offseason. But at least, it says Cousins will play out his 2017 contract dissatisfied with the Redskins and biding his time to leave. 

MORE REDSKINS: McCloughan's personnel record hits and misses with Redskins

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Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Jay Gruden doesn't always get a lot of attention from national media, which should be considered something of a victory for the Redskins after all of the focus on his predecessor Mike Shanahan. 

But looking at Gruden's work over three years, he does deserve some recognition for taking the team from 4-12 his first season to consecutive winning records, including an NFC East title in 2015. 

Steven Ruiz, writing for USA TODAY's For The Win, gave the Redskins coach some love in a ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches. 

He slotted Gruden at No. 12, above all other NFC East coaches. 

Ruiz cites Gruden's unflappability amid personnell and front office changes, as well as his development of Kirk Cousins into a franchise quarterback in a very productive Redskins offense. 

MORE REDSKINS: Pair of Redskins rookies could start season on NFI list

Ruiz ranks Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett at No. 16, reasoning that it's not hard to succeed when you pair one of the best offensive lines in the league with superstar rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. 

New York's Ben McAddo and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson rank No. 21 and 26, respectively. 

Interestingly, two Redskins offensive coordinators who've since taken head coaching jobs – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay – fall way behind at No. 29 and 30. Both coaches have been rumored draws for Cousins once he hits free agency in 2018. 

Going back to Gruden, he deserves credit beyond giving Cousins the starting QB job. He's become well-liked and respected by Washington's players despite dealing with big-personality additions like DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman.

After the Redskins finished his first season with a 4-12 record, the team rebounded to win the NFC East in 2015 and then narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8-7 record in 2016. 

If Cousins plays up to his one-year, $24 million franchise tag, Gruden has a chance to continue building his coaching reputation. 

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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster: 20-11

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster: 20-11

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 11-20. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A former top pick who has to come through after a rookie season lost to injury.

—Kirk Cousins’ front-side protector.   

—Two free agent acquisitions.

—A third-year player in a pivotal season.    

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 11-53.

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.