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Taylor deal a short-term fix

Taylor deal a short-term fix

I don't usually like to do pull quotes from something I wrote just a few hours ago, but I'll make an exception in this case:

From this article posted today a 4:16 PM EDT:

Trading for Jason Taylor and giving up a conditional fifth-round pick and having him work his contract to a cap-friendly deal that would contain a big roster bonus to be paid on opening day of 2009 would be OK. Giving up a second-rounder and having to work around his $8.1 million salary this year, making him a very expensive one-year rental, would be dumb.

The deal that went down this evening was the "dumb" deal and then some. The Washington Redskins gave up an '09 second and a '10 sixth for the right to Taylor's contract as is.

The only potential mitigating difference here is that Vinny Cerrato is "100 percent confident he'll play more than one year." There's some reason to believe that this is the case as, according to Jason LaCanfora, the relationship between Cerrato and Taylor's agent Gary Wichard is "uncommonly close" (not that there's anything wrong with that).

So, if Taylor plays for two or three years, the deal starts to make a little more sense—but only a little. A second is a lot to give up for a short-term player and by any definition two or three years is short term.

The trade does improve the defense, immediately and considerably. Taylor was the league's defensive MVP just two years ago and he immediately becomes the team's best defensive linemen, perhaps their best overall player. For the first time in years the Redskins will line up bookend defensive ends, both of whom should post double-digit sacks. Andre Carter posted 10.5 sacks in 2007.

It's the kind of deal that would be great for a team that is just a player away from being a legit Super Bowl contender. Are the Redskins, a playoff team two of the past three years, that sort of team?

If not for a couple of factors like a head coach and a quarterback who are going to be doing some on-the-job learning, maybe. By Zorn's own admission, it's going to take Jason Campbell a few years to master his version of the West Coast offense. Jason Taylor won't be playing here in a few years and neither will the second-round talent that the Redskins gave up to obtain him.

Initially, the news that the Redskins had pulled the trigger on this trade surprised me. It seemed like they were changing their ways and using draft picks on college players instead of dealing them for short term quick fixes.

But then I remembered all the way back to April when Cerrato had an offer of at least one first-round pick and possibly two for Chad Johnson. They were saved from that one by the Bengals insistence that they were not going to trade away Johnson.

The Dolphins weren't inclined to save the Redskins from themselves on this occasion.

Maybe Taylor will play for three seasons, post 35 sacks, and be a key to a couple of deep playoff runs. Or he may provide a few, very expensive thrills before riding off into the sunset after the 2009 season.

The Redskins are all in betting the former.

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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.