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What would a Kirk Cousins contract extension look like?

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What would a Kirk Cousins contract extension look like?

The Redskins have won two of their last three games, with quarterback Kirk Cousins playing a major part in the two wins. Cousins is a free agent at the end of the season and talk is starting to turn towards the possibility of the Redskins and the quarterback beginning discussions on a new deal.

According to reports, no talks have started between the Redskins and Mike McCartney, Cousins' agent. Jay Gruden said yesterday that Cousins "is a guy we'd like to keep around."

Cousins’ signed the standard four-year rookie deal after he was drafted in 2012. This year he is making the fourth-year veteran minimum salary of $660,000 this season. That’s great money for most of America but it’s not much for a starting NFL quarterback.

What would a Cousins extension look like? With seven games left in this, his first season the full-time starter, there are still a lot of variables. But barring either a total collapse or a Cousins-led run deep into the playoffs, we have a comparable deal that we can look at to get an idea.

Nick Foles, also drafted in 2012, recently got a contract extension from his current team, the Rams. He was traded from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason. In Philadelphia Foles had one very good year as a starter. In 2013 he started 10 games, threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and posted an impressive passer rating of 119.2. That performance earned him a Pro Bowl selection.

He came back to earth in 2014, missing half the season with injuries and posting 13 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 81.4.

Despite those pedestrian numbers, the Rams made the trade and got to work signing him to an extension. They agreed on a two-year extension that put a little more cash in his pocket this year (the last season of his rookie deal) and put him under contract through 2017. The two-year extension is worth $24.5 million with $13.7 million of that guaranteed. He can also earn up to $4.5 million in incentives and the last year of his contract can be voided by meeting performance benchmarks.

Foles’ deal also is fairly painless for the Rams to get out of after 2016 since all of the guaranteed money will have been paid out. That is relevant now because he has been benched, although Jeff Fisher said that Foles will return as the starter at some point.

There is a key difference between Foles’ situation prior to this season and the one the Redskins have with Cousins now. Foles had a year left on his contract so the Rams were giving him his payday early. That perhaps led to something of a hometown discount for the Rams.

At most, the Redskins will be buying out less than two months of free agency for Cousins and probably less than that. Between that factor and the fact that the salary cap will grow by some $10 million per team this year could push Cousins’ deal somewhat north of $12 million per year.

I don’t see it going too much higher than that, however, barring a tremendous run by Cousins and the Redskins over the last seven games. There has been speculation that Cousins could end up in the $17 million per year range, perhaps higher. But you won’t find any one-year starters who are making that kind of money. Quarterbacks with contracts averaging from $17-$18 million per year are the likes of Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Matt Stafford, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. That’s too high for Cousins, who will have 25 career starts under his belt at the end of the season.

The market is likely to force Cousins to take less per season than most starting quarterbacks will make (a deal averaging $12 million per year would rank 21st among quarterbacks) but he won’t sign a long-term deal at that price. And he will want some incentives and escalators in case he does outperform the contract.

Putting all of that together, we’re looking at something in the neighborhood of three years in the $35-$40 million range with about $15 million guaranteed. Throw in the possibility of adding a couple of million per year in incentives and make the third year void if Cousins plays well and you have the outlines of a deal.

Some of you who are not sold on Cousins as the answer for the future might think that $40 million is an outrageous amount of money to pay him. But quarterbacks are expensive and they are expensive because of simple economics—the demand exceeds the supply. If you don’t pay Cousins, the question becomes who do you pay? There is not a tree somewhere that a team can go to and grab a quarterback who can post a perfect passer rating in a game or lead three fourth-quarter comebacks in a four-game span including one from 24 points down.

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Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

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USA Today Sports Images

Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

It took the New York Giants a full game and another quarter before they scored their first touchdown of the 2017-18 NFL season.

Giants rookie Evan Engram was the recipient of their first touchdown of the season, scoring the first of his career on Monday Night Football.

Naturally he began to celebrate his accomplishment, but perhaps his celebration was too natural. 

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In the clip, right in front of the cameraman, the 23-year-old proceeds to dance with a finishing move crotch grab in the midst of his teammates.

Apparently the loosened NFL celebration rules from this off-season did not take out any sexually suggestive actions. 

It resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off for the Giants.

With the ball then kicked out of bounds the Lions had the ball at their own 45-yard line.

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Likely the grab will give Engram a fine from the NFL.

Last season Antonio Brown was fined for a similar celebration, by twerking following a score.

The touchdown remains the only time New York has found the end-zone through two games.

With only 13 points it is the lowest scoring two game start in 70 years for the franchise. 

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Snap Chat: Josh Doctson plays more but still looking for first reception

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Snap Chat: Josh Doctson plays more but still looking for first reception

The playing time of Josh Doctson in the Redskins’ season opener was a topic of discussion. In Week 2 against the Rams, his playing time increased by nearly 50 percent but he still is looking for his first catch of the season.

After being in 20 plays against the Eagles and not being targeted on a single pass attempt, Doctson played 29 snaps in the Rams game. The result was one target but it was a fade pass in the end zone that he never had a chance to get his hands on. The 2016 first-round pick still has a zero on the stat sheet in the receptions column.

Some other observations on playing time against the Rams:

Kirk Cousins and four of the offensive linemen played all 71 offensive snaps. Morgan Moses left on the last play of the third quarter with a sprained ankle. He was out on the ensuing third-down play, the Redskins punted and when they got the ball back Moses was back in there after missing just the one snap.

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—When Rob Kelley was in the game he was getting the ball. He played 16 snaps and had 12 carries before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib injury. Chris Thompson (29) and Samaje Perine (26) split the other running back carries.

—The Redskins played a lot of multiple tight end sets with Jordan Reed (40), Vernon Davis (55), and Niles Paul (36) combining to play 131 snaps. That’s an average of almost two tight ends per snap. Contrast that to last week when the tight ends played a combined 87 of the 69 plays on offense.

—On defense, CB Bashaud Breeland, S D.J. Swearinger, and ILB Mason Foster played all 50 defensive snaps. That means that Foster didn’t miss a play after he suffered a shoulder separation and popped it back into place on the sideline.

Zach Brown missed a snap and Josh Norman missed three, probably due to his shoulder injury.

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—Rookie Jonathan Allen again led the defensive line in snaps played with 29 this time. Matt Ioannidis was right behind him with 28.

—Non-Allen rookie watch: Fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson was a surprise starter at strong safety, playing 26 snaps before leaving with an injury. Fellow rookie CB Fabian Moreau played one snap on defense and 21 on special teams. Ryan Anderson played a dozen snaps on defense. Chase Roullier did not play an offensive snap but he got in on six special teams plays.

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.