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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 Redskins week that was—Bouncing back from injuries

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Bouncing back from injuries

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 23, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 9
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 30
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 36

The Redskins week that was

Cravens officially won't return in 2017—This was the news that the Redskins had put Cravens on the reserve/left team list, which meant he can’t come back during the 2017 season. While we might hear something more on this before the end of December, the story is on hold until 2018. If Cravens does come back, he would start the second year of his rookie contract. The deal essentially is on hold until he returns (if he does, of course).

5 observations on the Redskins win over the Rams—The top takeaway was “you have to run the ball to run the ball.” Yes, it’s an obvious statement but the logic of it seems to escape Jay Gruden from time to time, as it did Sean McVay. Since Gruden came to Washington the Redskins are 3-19 when they rush for fewer than 90 yards and 1-14 when they attempt fewer than 20 runs. They committed to the run on Sunday and 229 rushing yards later they had the win.

Strong start for Smith but Redskins want to see more—Preston Smith has frustrated coaches with his inconsistency ever since arriving as a second-round pick in 2015. So, it’s too early to start thinking he’s going to have a breakout year after he started off with two sacks in two games. Still, a hot start is a key component to a breakout year and we’ll see if he keeps it up against tough opposition in the next two weeks.

First look at Redskins vs. Raiders—A Bay Area writer says that the Raiders’ offense is “doing whatever it wants” during the team’s 2-0 start. They are fourth in the NFL in total offense but they have that status primarily due to piling up 430 yards against the tanking Jets. I have no doubt that they will move the ball tomorrow night but I’m not so sure the will do whatever they want against an improved Washington defense.

Jay Gruden updates a lengthy injury report—When Gruden rattled off the injury list during his Monday press conference he listed seven players who were “day-to-day” with various injuries sustained during their physical win over the Rams. Six days later, it will be a surprise if any of them are out against the Rams tomorrow. Perhaps the most impressive injury return was that of Mason Foster. During the game, his shoulder was dislocated. He popped it back in and didn’t miss a snap. On Wednesday, less than 72 hours later, he was at practice giving some solid shoves to a blocking sled.  

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 Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

Redskins Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

The Redskins had a tough, physical game against the Rams last Sunday and it shows on the team’s injury report. Five players are listed as questionable for the coming game against the Raiders at FedEx Field.

TE Jordan Reed (chest), RB Rob Kelley (ribs), ILB Mason Foster (shoulder), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), and CB Josh Norman (shoulder) are the players who are questionable.

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Of those players, Reed was the only one to miss a practice this week. He was out on Wednesday and was back on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. The Pro Bowl tight end told reporters in the locker room that he will be in the lineup on Sunday.

There is particular concern about Kelley’s injury. He is likely to start as he usually does. But CSN is reporting that the team will have four running backs on the game day active list instead of the three they went with in Weeks 1 and 2. Mack Brown will dress for the Redskins after being inactive in both previous games.

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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.