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Silence is golden as Redskins and Cousins try to negotiate a deal

Silence is golden as Redskins and Cousins try to negotiate a deal

The widow is open but nobody is going to go through it just yet.

Today is the day that NFL teams can apply the franchise tag to their players. The tag essentially handcuffs a player to a team, either precluding the player from negotiating with other teams or allowing him to negotiate an offer sheet but requiring two first-round draft picks as compensation.

To be sure, the handcuffs are golden. The salaries associated with the franchise tag range from about $5 million for kickers to $21 million for quarterbacks with most positions falling in the $10-$15 million range. The salary is fully guaranteed when the player signs the tender.

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Tag talk is relevant in Washington, of course, because of Kirk Cousins. If the Redskins tag him he will get 120% of his 2016 tag salary of $19.9 million. However, don’t look for that to happen today.

In fact, even though there are at least half a dozen players around the league who are likely to be tagged, don’t look for any of them to get the designation today. There really is no reason for the NFL to have a two-week window to apply the tag. In almost every case the team wants to at least have the opportunity to try to work out a long-term deal with the player before applying the tag. Why do it two weeks early when they can wait until March 1, when the window ends?

Why the NFL does it this way is anybody’s guess. Perhaps they like that the nominal opening of the tag window generates a 24-hour round of media buzz when the sports world is relatively quiet. But they could open the window one morning and close it at 4 p.m. the next day and the timing of teams declaring tags would change very little.

The thing to watch over the next two weeks is what, if anything, we hear about the negotiations between Cousins’ agent and the Redskins. As they saying goes, silence is golden. If the state of the talks stays out of the media, that will be a good thing. If we start hearing reports of talks becoming contentious or one side or the other leaking contract numbers, get ready for a train wreck.

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Getting a deal done before they have to use the franchise tag would be beneficial for the Redskins in many ways. Once the tag is applied there is little incentive for Cousins, who has made it clear that he is happy to play on the tag and collect the big salary again, to work to get a new contract. The organization would have to go through free agency and the draft with a cloud of uncertainty over the most important position on the field.

Technically, they have until July 15 to get a deal done. But if they can’t make it happen by March 1 there is no reason to think that anything would happen in the ensuing four and a half months.

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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