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What does the Gruden extension mean for Kirk Cousins’ future with the Redskins?

What does the Gruden extension mean for Kirk Cousins’ future with the Redskins?

The Redskins have agreed to an extension for Jay Gruden, a deal that keeps him under contract through the 2020 season. That leaves the Redskins with one important deal done and another, perhaps more important contract yet to be done.

The still-unsettled situation is Kirk Cousins’ long-term deal. He’s under team control for 2017 under the franchise tag. Beyond that, his future in Washington is very much up in the air. But might extending Gruden help persuade Cousins to stay in Washington?

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Perhaps it will. While Cousins generally has been non-committal when asked if he would like to stay in Washington in the long term, he gave a hint as to how much he values continuity when asked about a situational football in December.

The longer we play together as a unit – and when I’m talking about we, I mean from Jay to Sean [McVay] to myself to Chris Thompson to Trent Williams to Pierre [Garçon] – the longer we play together, the more you can become situational masters and be very good in situational football like that situation at the end of the game, where we all know, ‘We’ve been here before, hey, let’s handle this the best way possible and be a mature football team.’

McVay, the offensive coordinator for the previous three seasons, is now gone, having moved up to become the head coach of the Rams. McVay was replace by former quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh, who has been Cousins’ position coach ever since he took the starting job. That’s a very smooth transition.  

Wide receiver Garçon is a free agent and he may or may not return. But left tackle Williams is under contract through the 2020 season and Thompson, a restricted free agent, is likely to return. Although DeSean Jackson appears to be likely to depart, Jamison Crowder is under contract for two more years. Tight end Jordan Reed, another key weapon, is signed through 2021. While you can’t have perfect continuity in the NFL, with Gruden now under contract for four more years the Redskins are doing a pretty good job of maintaining at least some semblance of stability.

Cousins has now been with the organization for five years with three years under Gruden including two seasons as the starter. He will turn 29 during training camp. The possibility of playing into his 30’s with the same head coach in the same offense likely has some appeal to Cousins.

That being said, the Gruden extension does not ensure that Cousins will stay. The money has to be right and at last report there was a good deal of ground between the two sides in the negotiation.

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And Cousins’ camp knows that a Gruden extension doesn’t mean that the coach will be around through 2020. Paying off a couple of years of a coach’s salary isn’t much of an impediment if Dan Snyder wants to make a change in the future. The same applies to almost any NFL owner. We saw the ultimate in that last year when the Rams’ Jeff Fisher was given a contract extension that started in 2017 in the summer and then he was fired before he worked a day under it.

Then there is the lack of stability in the front office. The future of GM Scot McCloughan is very cloudy after he missed the combine for personal reasons. Where that leaves the authority in the draft, free agency, and other key roster decisions is not at all certain. It’s not exactly the atmosphere for Cousins if he craves long-term stability.

But there are no perfect situations in the NFL. Usually, when a team needs a quarterback there are plenty of other issues in the organization. The Gruden extension could be a factor that persuades Cousins to stay but it’s far from being a deal clincher.

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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Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 21, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 51 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 20
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 29
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 43

Five Redskins who are under pressure going into training camp

QB Kirk Cousins–Going first with the most obvious. He’s under pressure to get this team back to the playoffs. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine will help the running game and perhaps the defense will improve. But this team still will rise and fall by scoring points through the air. From his point of view, he’s on a one-year deal. If he is going to get a record long-term deal next year–or get the Redskins to cough up $35 million on the franchise tag–he’s going to need to play well.

WR Terrelle Pryor–He also is in the one-year contract situation so he needs to impress all 32 teams to drive up his value. He’s also being counted on to replace the 1,000-yard production of either Pierre Garçon or DeSean Jackson. Or maybe both. That’s a lot to put on the plate of a player in just his second full-time year at his position.

CB Josh Norman–Cousins has the highest 2017 salari on the team but Norman has the biggest contract on the team and he didn’t have the impact to match it last year. It’s not that he had a bad year but it’s reasonable to expect more interceptions and fewer penalties. It’s fair to give him a pass with it being his first year in the system. However, the Redskins have a window to release him without a debilitating cap hit after this season and if the value isn’t there you can’t rule out them pulling the trigger.

S Su’a Cravens–Everyone knows that Cravens is perhaps a step slow for a safety. He needs to make up for it with anticipation, which means paying attention to all the details in practice and doing a lot of extra film study. There is no questioning his work ethic but it’s a lot to absorb in a hurry.

OLB Preston Smith–When he is on, few are better. When he’s off, he can disappear for games on end. Consistency is the key for Smith this year. If he catches on and starts playing at his best all the time, he may be in line for a lucrative contract extension next offseason. If he falters, Trent Murphy, Junior Galette, and Ryan Anderson all will be waiting to lay claim to his snaps.

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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Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

While his job and athletic ability separate him from most commoners, Rob Kelley is just like you and me when it comes to his diet. Well, when it came to his old diet, actually. 

Like many, the second-year Redskins running back loves him some crispy fried chicken, buttery, pillow-like biscuits and piping hot french fries. He also can get down with piles of nuggets, double cheesburgers and creamy milkshakes. 

But during this offseason, Fat Rob is looking less and less so, and that improvement is largely due to some new eating habits.

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"Changed the diet up," Kelley told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay this week at the former's youth camp (full video above). "Slowed down on the fast food and processed food and tried to eat more healthy."

When asked what places he's specifically cut out from his rotation, Kelley answered with a laugh. It wasn't a happy laugh, though — it was like one of those laughs people let out when they're feeling major pain but not trying to show it.

"Popeyes. McDonald's," he said. "Not trying to discredit those fast food places, but just, it's not working well for me."

Limiting trips to those establishments can no doubt be a difficult task (it's OK to nod your head in agreement) but it's also working for the 24-year-old. He told Finlay he thinks he's lost about six pounds since OTAs and now checks in at 229 thanks to his workouts and an increased reliance on Whole Foods, vegetables and his grill. 

But just because he's shedding pounds doesn't mean he's shedding the moniker that caught on during his rookie campaign. He may be trending closer to Svelte Rob than he is to Fat Rob these days, but No. 20 is going to keep his nickname moving forward anyway.

"It's always accurate," he said.

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