The Redskins will get back to work tomorrow after their 7-6 win over the Bills in their preseason opener and their to-do list will be long.There were some positives, the most notable being the impressive performance of Robert Griffin III in his pro debut. But there were issues as well.After Griffin left the game after leading the game's only touchdown drive, the offense came to a grinding stop. Rex Grossman completed just two of 10 passes for 22 yards and Kirk Cousins was nine of 22 for 74 yards with an interception. For the game the Redskins rushed 32 times for 87 yards, an average of just 2.7 yards a carry.They did not get close enough for either Neil Rackers or Graham Gano to try a field goal. The in-game aspect of their battle for the kicking job, the part that Danny Smith said was the most critical, is now on hold until their game next Saturday in Chicago.The Redskins played better defensively. They allowed the Bills to net just 219 yards of offense. Three Buffalo quarterbacks combined to complete just 14 of 34 passes. And 37 of the 100 yards rushing the Bills picked up came on Vince Young scrambles.Perhaps the biggest issue on defense was some missed opportunities. Rookie Richard Crawford did intercept a pass with a nice, over the shoulder catch but at least three other Redskins dropped easier chances at picks. Buffalo fumbled twice and Washington could not recover either one.Some individuals are going to have to get back to work to improve on their performances. Cornerback Cedric Griffin allowed receivers to get free multiple times, even after the Bills put in their second string offense. Brandon Banks had looked good as a receiver in practice but he had just two catches for seven yards despite being targeted a team-high nine times. Those two along with a number of other players ay have cost themselves position on the depth chart or may have jeopardized their roster spots with their play on Thursday.The good thing for those players and for the team as a whole is that there are many more practices and three more preseason games before the final cuts on Aug. 31 and the Sept. 9 season opener.
If you've read this website, or this column, you know the likelihood of the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins before July 17th seems like a long shot. Still, some optimism exists that Washington will pony up the mega-cash required to keep Cousins.
Evidence to the contrary continues to mount. Last week former Redskins GM Charley Casserly explained the numbers required for Cousins' representatives to truly consider signing would be so staggering that he doesn't "see any way a deal gets done." (See full video above).
Well, here are a few more voices echoing Casserly's position.
- Albert Breer, MMQB: "If Kirk Cousins does a deal now? He’d be walking away from one of three scenarios. The first would be playing on the tag this year and the transition tag next, which would set his earning floor at about $52 million over the next two years, with a chance to test his market value next March. The second would have him franchised twice, setting the floor at $58 million over the next two years, with a chance to be a free agent in 2019 at age 30. The third is $24 million and unfettered free agency next year."
- Joel Corry, CBS Sports: "Cousins is in an enviable position. It's conceivable that he could do significantly better than this if he hit the open market in 2018, because there are more NFL teams than good quarterbacks."
- Steve Czaban, ESPN980: "I don’t think the David Carr signing does anything really to help or hurt the chances Kirk signs a new long term deal by July 17. I thought those chances were only about 5 percent before this new QB salary 'data point' and it was a 'courtesy' 5 percent anyway, filed under: 'Well… you never know.'"
There's more of this out there, just look for it. And more of this will pile up over the next few weeks, right up until the point where Cousins does not agree to a new deal with the Redskins and enters 2017 on yet another one-year contract.
The hard truth remains that from a purely financial standpoint it makes very little sense for Cousins to sign a multi-year deal unless it is simply overwhelming with guaranteed cash. The Redskins would almost need to go full Vito Corleone 'offer you can't refuse' to sign Cousins.
It's also possible Cousins will realize the money is already staggering and that the situation in Washington is strong. The franchise appears to already be headed in this direction. Doug Williams talked on NFL Network about the need to 'look at the big picture.' In Jay Gruden's offense, Cousins has excelled, and the team has a strong offensive line with solid skill position weapons.
Breer also touched on that theory, explaining that maybe the Redskins situation isn't that rosy: "And if you’re Cousins, and you know Kyle Shanahan and the Niners would be out there for you, and you’ve got a new offensive coordinator, and you lost your two starting receivers, and your organization just flipped things around in its front office, the idea of waiting would have benefits beyond just the economics, too."
The evidence slants hard one direction when considering if Cousins will agree to a long-term deal with Cousins. It doesn't look good.
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Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 27, 30 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.
The Redskins last played a game 177 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 75 days.
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 20
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 44
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 67
3 up, 3 down
NFL players’ fortunes shift during the year, not only while they are player games but in the spring and early summer as well. Here are three players who are in a better situation than they were when the 2016 season ended and three who are worse off.
WR Josh Doctson—He was a forgotten man by the end of last season, a first-round pick who landed on IR after playing in two games. Nobody was sure if he had fully recovered from his mysterious Achilles problem. Since January, we saw some videos of him working out and cutting, looking like a player who never was injured. Both Redskins’ top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, left in free agency, clearing a path to a starting job for Doctson. Doctson has looked fine in offseason practices and most are anticipating a solid season for him.
LG Shawn Lauvao—One can make the case that the Redskins’ season took a final turn for the worse in Arizona in Week 13 when Calais Campbell bowled over Lauvao and sacked Kirk Cousins, forcing a fumble that the Cardinals quickly turned into a critical touchdown. Although the popular perception was that Lauvao would be replaced, the Redskins went through free agency and the draft without acquiring a serious competitor for Lauvao. He could get a push from Arie Kouandjio but Lauvao is a strong favorite to remain the starter at left guard.
CB Josh Norman—It may not be accurate to say that Norman was “down” at the end of last year. But he was a first-team All-Pro in 2015 and he didn’t even get a Pro Bowl invitation last year. Since then, the Redskins have improved the players around Norman, giving him some help up front with their first two draft picks and bolstering the safety position. His prospects for recognition after the season are improved.
ILB Will Compton—First, the Redskins offered their starting Mike linebacker the low restricted free agent tender, meaning that the team would pay him $1.8 million if he stayed and they would be willing to let him go for no compensation if they didn’t match another team’s offer sheet. Then they brought in Pro Bowl inside linebacker Zach Brown as a free agent. Perhaps Compton will retain his starting role but it seems that Brown and Mason Foster will take some snaps from him. And after his RFA experience, Compton must wonder how much the organization will value him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018.
OLB Trent Murphy—Murphy had a breakout year in 2016, recording nine sacks. But things started going downhill for him after the season. First word came down that he was going to get a four-game PED suspension to start the season. Then the Redskins took OLB Ryan Anderson in the second round of the draft. Follow that up with Junior Galette surprising many by participating in OTA practices as he works his way back from a torn Achilles and Murphy must wonder if there will be snaps for him when he returns from his suspension.
RB Matt Jones—Yes, his “down” cycle started in London when he started his string of nine straight healthy appearances on the inactive list. But it has continued through the offseason as the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round. Part of the decline of Jones was self-inflicted as he decided to attend OTAs. That gave second-year back Keith Marshall a few more reps in the practices and he looked good. That perhaps pushed Jones from being Plan B if there was a training camp injury to a running back to Plan C or D. The former third-round pick ends up under contract with little prospect of making the team.
Tandler on Twitter
Poll: The Kirk Cousins long-term extension deadline is three weeks from right now. Will a deal get done?— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) June 26, 2017
In case you missed it
- Poll: Three weeks out; does a Cousins deal get done?
- Starters set at OT, but competition on tap for depth
- Don't expect to see much of Crowder at RB for the Redskins
- Pressure Points: More playmaking from Su'a Cravens?
- Showing, not telling, could make difference for defense
- Something's very wrong with this Redskins license plate
- Would Cousins give Redskins a discount like Oshie gave Caps?