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What does Ryan Tannehill's extension mean for the Redskins' RG3?

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What does Ryan Tannehill's extension mean for the Redskins' RG3?

Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins became the first of the quarterbacks who came out in the 2012 draft to sign a contract extension yesterday. The Redskins have one of those quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III. What effect will Tannehill’s deal have on Griffin?

First let’s look at the money. Tannehill was already under contract for the next two seasons with the last year of his rookie contract and the fifth-year option paying him a total of $18.3 million. The extension adds the years 2017-2020 to the deal and adds $77 million.

Tannehill’s contract gives him $21.5 million fully guaranteed at signing per Pro Football Talk. The total guaranteed money, which includes some that is currently guaranteed for injury only at the time the contract is signed, is $45 million.

So how does that compare to a contract extension that Griffin, who also has the last year of his rookie deal plus the option year left on his deal, might get? Looking at just their total career passing stats there is no reason to think that Griffin should get substantially less than Tannehill in a new contract. Here is a comparison of some key stats. (For detailed stats on each player go here for Tannehill and go here for Griffin.)

The two are equal in touchdown pass percentage and Tannehill is slightly better in avoiding sacks. But Griffin has the edge in completion percentage, interception percentage, gross yards per attempt, adjusted net yards per attempt and passer rating.

Griffin’s numbers include his stellar 2012 season, one that he did not come close to duplicating in his subsequent two seasons. But even Griffin’s 2013 season, which was widely considered to be a disappointment, was about the same as a typical Tannehill season. Here are some of Griffin’s numbers from that season compared to Tannehill’s career.

When it comes to the bottom line, wins and losses, there is no question that Tannehill’s Dolphins have been superior to Griffin’s Redskins. Miami is 23-25 in games Tannehill has started while Washington has gone 14-21 in Griffin’s starts.

However, the two quarterbacks have not had equal amounts of help when it comes to putting up wins. The Dolphins’ scoring defense has ranked 7th, 8th, and 20th in Tannehill’s three seasons; the Redskins have been 22nd, 29th, and 30th in scoring defense over the same three years.

All of the information above is the kind of data that Griffin’s agent will present to Scot McCloughan or Bruce Allen or whoever is negotiating a new contract on behalf of the Redskins, trying to argue that Griffin should get a deal at least as good as Tannehill’s or perhaps even better. But the Redskins will have plenty of data on their side to argue that Griffin isn’t worth as much as Tannehill.

Durability is the main quality that Tannehill has going for him over Griffin. The Dolphins have had him behind center for 48 of the 48 games they have played since draft him. He has been listed as questionable on the injury report just twice; other than that he has been either probably or not listed.

Griffin has started 36 of the Redskins’ 49 games since 2012 (counting the one playoff game in 2012). He missed one game due to injury as a rookie and was out six games injured last year. In addition, Griffin was “deactivated” for the last three games of 2013 and benched for performance for three starts last year. Tannehill has a clear advantage in terms of one of the most important “abilities”, availability.

The other thing that Tannehill has going for him is that he appears to be on the rise. In 2014 he posted career-best numbers in virtually every major category—completion percentage, touchdowns, interceptions, yards per attempt, passer rating, and adjusted net yards per attempt. He is doing what a young quarterback is supposed to do, learning and getting better.

Meanwhile, I’m sure it’s not necessary to detail the miserable 2014 season that Griffin had for the readers here. His arrow is currently pointed in the wrong direction.

Fortunately for both parties, it’s not necessary for Griffin and the Redskins to negotiate an extension right now. Griffin will have at least another year to try to turn things around. If he can, the $19.25 million per year that the new money in Tannehill’s contract will pay him would be well within his reach.

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Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

Don't count out a third straight franchise tag for Kirk Cousins, and here's why

For the second straight season the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins. While the two sides are speaking amicably about a long-term deal, the July 15 deadline for those negotiations continues to inch closer without much expectation that contract will get signed. 

A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017, that figure goes up to $24.

If the Redskins don't get a deal done with Cousins, many think the organization would not again go with the franchise tag because the price tag jumps to an exorbitant $34 million. 

Think again. 

Asked on Monday if another franchise tag would be an option for Cousins in 2018, Redskins team president Bruce Allen was clear.

"Yes," he said. "In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract."

Those options include the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag. Both franchise tags carry the same cost, but the non-exclusive allows Cousins' representatives to shop his services around the NFL. If a deal gets struck, and the Redskins don't match the contract, Washington is due two first-round draft picks as compensation for losing their franchise player. 

The transition tag carries a $28 million price tag, and the Redskins can match another contract but risk only receiving a possible 2019 third-round compensatory pick if Cousins walks.

Considering those options, another year on the non-exclusive tag might make sense. The NFL salary cap will be at least $168 million, which means Cousins at $34 million would account for about 20 percent of the Redskins' salary cap.

That's a crazy allotment for one player. Crazy. The Redskins do have about $54 million in cap space for 2018, so technically, another franchise tag could work. 

But the entire manner of the contract dealings with Cousins and the Redskins has been quite unconventional. The Redskins have already made history by franchising Cousins a second-straight year. 

"I think even Kirk said it, there’s a lot of players round the league who are on a one-year deal. It’s the nature of it, we’d like to get him a long-term deal and I think he should want to get one," Allen said. "Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons."

At this point, it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics to understand that the Redskins and Cousins have a different picture of the quarterback's long-term value. That could change by July 15th, it could, but it doesn't seem likely. The Cousins camp has little incentive to bend, as $24 million fully guaranteed for 2017 represents a great payday.

And maybe the Redskins don't plan on bending because the option of a third-straight franchise tag doesn't worry them. Or at least the option of letting Cousins shop his services on a non-exclusive tag, and then making a decision to match a deal or receive compensation seems a worthwhile endevaor. 

For Cousins, he's not counting out any possibility. 

"People, I’ve heard say, ‘There’s no chance they franchise tag him or even transition tag him the following season,’ and I chuckle because if the team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row," Cousins said to an ESPN podcast in March. 

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Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

Redskins' offseason program ramps up with start of OTAs today

The Redskins’ offseason starts to move into high gear today as organized team activities, better known as OTAs, get underway at Redskins Park.

Players have been participating in workouts at Redskins Park since April 17. The first phase of those session consisted of strength and conditioning. In the second phase, they were permitted to run plays but not with the offense lined up against the defense. Finally, in OTAs, they will go offense vs. defense.

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The practices, however, will not resemble an August scrimmage in Richmond. The players wear helmets but no pads and contact is not permitted. While players do block other players and there are collisions between players going after passes, the action is more like pushing and shoving that it is hitting.  

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule last year and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

MORE REDSKINS: Allen says new stadium ahead of schedule 

OTAs will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each of the next three weeks. The sessions will be open to the media on Wednesday of each week. While player attendance is strongly encouraged the practices are voluntary.

The week after OTAs end the team will hold its minicamp on June 13-14. Minicamp is essentially a continuation of OTAs but player attendance is mandatory.

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.