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What a Redskins-Cousins long-term contract might look like

What a Redskins-Cousins long-term contract might look like

We hear a lot of numbers being thrown around regarding a possible contract agreement between the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins. The top line numbers are important. According to a report the Redskins are offering $20 million per season and the Cousins camp, which has most of the leverage, wants close to $24 million.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

But the details of a deal are at least as important as the average annual value. The sports contracts website Spotrac has worked out a contract that will satisfy what Cousins may be looking for in terms of compensation while giving the Redskins a deal that will leave them with enough money to keep the rest of the team stocked with talent.

Here is their estimate of what ak five-year Cousins deal at $23.6 million per year ($118 million total) might look like:

(Go here for an expanded view of this graphic via Spotrac)

The contract would have $27 million fully guaranteed at signing. That seems low since when Cousins signs the franchise tage he will be fully guaranteed $24 million but we’ll look at that in a minute. Cousins would get a $15 million signing bonus along with a $12 million fully guaranteed salary. The first-year cap hit would be $15 million, saving the team nearly $9 million in 2017 cap space. As it is, all of Cousins’ $23.94 million franchise tag salary counts against the 2017 cap.

Year 1 likely would be acceptable to Cousins. But what happens after that probably would not work for him — but is not difficult to correct it. Cousins would get a salary of $18 million but the team could avoid that by releasing him prior to March. Their cap hit for walking away after one season would be $12 million. That would sting but it would be manageable.

It is unlikely that the Redskins will get Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, to agree to such an easy exit. And letting Cousins go after two seasons would cost only $9 million. That makes it too easy for the team to make it a short-term deal.

More Redskins: Will the Redskins risk the downside of letting Cousins go?

The problem could be fixed by fully guaranteeing all of Cousins’ 2018 salary at signing. That would keep the cap hit the same at $21 million while increasing the fully guaranteed money to $45 million. If that’s not enough for the Cousins camp they could guarantee all or part of the 2019 salary and bring the full guarantee as high as $66 million. That is a fairly low risk guarantee for the Redskins; if they aren’t going to stick with him for at least three years they probably should just let him walk after this season.

The cap numbers go up every year but so does the cap. Here are the yearly percentages of the projected salary cap that this deal would consume:

2017: 8.9%
2018: 11.8%
2019: 12.6%
2020: 13%
2021: 12.3%

The percentage does increase as the contract goes on. If this is a concern they could take more of it on in 2017 by increasing the first-year salary or by adding a roster bonus that would count against this year’s cap.

It’s still a lot of money to be going to one player. But alternatives are scarce and that scarcity manifests itself in terms of big dollars for a quarterback without a playoff win on his resume.

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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For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

For Redskins, will shorter term with full guarantees get a Cousins deal done?

The prevailing notion around the Redskins negotiations with Kirk Cousins on a long-term deal seem to center around a five-year contract, especially after the Raiders reached a five-year extension with Derek Carr, their young star quarterback. 

Much group think points to a similar deal between Cousins and the Redskins. If you're Cousins, however, why sign?

The Redskins passer has all the leverage in the situation. He's got $20 million in the bank from the 2016 season, and he's due $24 million this season on the franchise tag. All guaranteed. 

RELATED: What is the risk for Kirk Cousins in terms of a deal?

Washington team president Bruce Allen has repeatedly talked about team options for 2018. Those options would be a $28 million transition tag or another franchise tag at $34 million. Expensive options. Cousins has repeatedly talked about market value, and how he has little choice in what happens. 

One area Cousins has control: signing a multi-year contract. 

The longer this thing drags out, it seems more and more likely Cousins will play on the tag in 2017. While it might seem crazy, the Redskins have strongly suggested another tag is in play for 2018. 

That means Cousins would be in D.C. at least two more seasons. As Grant Paulsen reported, last offseason the Cousins camp was looking for a three-year deal with all guaranteed money, based on the 2016 franchise tag salary of about $20 million.

Could a similar, albeit more costly, deal get done now based on the 2017 franchise tag? Three years, $24 million per, all guaranteed?

Cousins knows, and has said, that the team can keep him at least two more seasons. The Redskins also know, should they use the transition tag to save some money, Cousins can walk with hardly any compensation next offseason. Is the organization brave enough to try a non-exclusive franchise tag in 2018? Cousins would likely be quick to sign a one-year deal at $34 million, and teams could wait for him to hit free agency in 2019.

The Redskins are low on options. Maybe less years makes more sense for Cousins, and maybe, just maybe, that can get a deal done. 

Washington might want a long-term deal, but after messing up this contract situation for two years, maybe now they should take what they can get. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.

Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind? 

Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.

Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.

  1. Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
  2. Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want. 
  3. Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain. 
  4. Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL. 
  5. Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too. 
  6. Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap. 
  7. Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy. 
  8. Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
  9. Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
  10. D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back