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Why you're seeing more momentum building around Kirk Cousins trade rumors

Why you're seeing more momentum building around Kirk Cousins trade rumors

The rumors aren't new. The first reports came out more than a month ago.  Yet, momentum continues to build around a trade sending Kirk Cousins to the 49ers. 

The NFL's legal tampering period opened Tuesday at noon, and little actual news broke on the unofficial start to 2017 free agency. In a way, something has to fill that void, and that something is Cousins trade rumors. 

Unfortunately for Redskins fans that want to keep their quarterback, the increased talk surrounding Cousins leaving Washington is not something to be easily dismissed. In fact, it's the opposite, and there is mounting evidence why.

In 2016, the 'Skins placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, and the quarterback moved quick to sign the offer. 

In 2017, the 'Skins placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, and more than a week has passed without a signature on the tender. 

The delay in signing the offer creates some natural questions around Cousins' desire to stay in Burgundy and Gold. On top of that, reports showed that the Redskins offered Cousins a long-term deal worth $100 million. Not the peak of the market Cousins can likely earn, but still a legit offer. The Cousins camp turned that down. 

At this point, it seems possible Cousins might want out of D.C. It's also almost a certainty Cousins wants to maximize his value before signing any multi-year deal. 

Additionally, there is the situation at Redskins Park. General manager Scot McCloughan did not travel with the Redskins front office to the NFL Scouting Combine last week. On Tuesday, McCloughan was not with the team in their Ashburn offices. Whatever the reason for McCloughan's absence, it adds uncertainty to the equation. 

That uncertainty, combined with Cousins not signing his $24 million franchise tender yet and a lull in contract talks, breeds speculation.

And then there is San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan knows Cousins can run his offense, and is in a position to go for what he wants with the Niners. 

The Redskins are also in a tight spot with Cousins. If a long-term deal can't be reached, does Washington want to let their quarterback play again on a one-year deal and risk losing him with no compensation next season? To get compensation, the team likely needs to act quick, certainly before the draft. 

Plenty of league sources seem convinced that Cousins is on his way out, either this offseason or a year from now. 

Charley Casserly knows the Redskins well. He worked in the team's front office for more than a decade, earning three Super Bowl rings and serving as GM of the 1991 world champs. He also knows the NFL well. He's worked with the league as an advisor for years, ran the Houston Texans for a time, and is well plugged in.

Casserly released a mock draft on Tuesday, and sure enough, he had the Redskins picking No. 2 overall. Currently, San Francisco has the second pick. That means Casserly sees a trade happening too.

The noise is growing. That doesn't always mean a move will happen, especially this early in the offseason, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Defensive line

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Phil Taylor
Other roster locks: Terrell McClain, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier
On the bubble: Matt Ioannidis, A.J. Francis, Joey Mbu

How the defensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: The addition of Allen is a boost but the losses of Chris Baker (free agent) and Ricky Jean Francois (released) can’t be overlooked. Second-year players Lanier and Ioannidis should improve and Hood will be a rotational player instead of a starter, a role better suited to his ability. Andi new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will get the most out of them. The key to improvement will be McClain and McGee. If the two free agents live up to their contracts the line should be better than it was last year. If not, they will struggle again. Slightly better

To the rest of the NFL: But let’s not mistake an improved Redskins D-line for one of the better units in the league. While it’s tough to compare a 3-4 line to a 4-3 front, it still would be quite a leap for the Redskins to move from the bottom of the pack to the lower middle. Tomsula inherited a multi-year rebuild; one draft pick and a couple of free agents are not going to transform the line into a force. Bottom third

RELATED: 2017 OUTLOOK: WIDE RECEIVER

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Since I used his name in conjunction with that of Dave Butz above, that has to be Allen. He has both the physical ability and the mental makeup to be a very, very good one.

Most to prove: Nearly every player on the line has something to prove but only Phil Taylor has been out of football for the last two years. He has worked his way up from a brief retirement to a futures contract with the Redskins to a roster long shot to a probable starter. But he still only has 21 preseason snaps under his belt and he has a long way to go before he reestablishes himself as a legitimate NFL player.

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Rookie watch: The only rookie with a realistic shot at making the roster is Allen. His Nick Saban-Alabama background has him well prepared to handle the scrutiny that comes with being a top draft pick and the expectations that come with playing in a place like Washington.

Bottom line: The best-case scenario here is that Taylor anchors the line in the middle, Allen’s learning curve is short, Lanier contributes six sacks in a nickel role, and the rest of the players make up a good rotation. Anything more would be a big bonus. Anything less would be back to being one of the worst defenses against the run.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Phil Taylor:

Well, I’ll tell you, I was in Cincinnati for three years when he was at Cleveland and I know what a force he can be at nose. He was tough to deal with, he really was. We had him for a workout, and I didn’t even know he was on the streets. His knee looked better. He was in good shape. He had a whole offseason and did some good things. I think his body is finally back to where he feels really good. He’s moving around, he’s active, he’s strong, so I like where he is right now. He’s just got to continue to maintain it.

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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Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

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Associated Press

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

Let’s be clear here.

The Redskins’ loss of center Spencer Long for two weeks due to a knee injury is not a good development.

Long is going into his second year as the starter and he still has a lot to learn. Although he should be back for the games that count, he could have benefitted from the 30 or so snaps he would have taken against the Bengals in the team’s third preseason game this Sunday.

Also, the Redskins’ offensive line has struggled this preseason, especially when blocking for the run.

Another half with the full starting unit playing together would have helped them work on those problems. The third preseason game is supposed to be a dress rehearsal and it’s tough to have one of those if you don’t have all your lead actors.

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS PURSUE RETIRED JETS' CENTER?

However, in the NFL one’s player’s bad fortune can be an opportunity for another. Chase Roullier was a sixth-round pick of the Redskins. With Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan departed to Rams, Roullier became the backup center by default. While many expected the Redskins to make a move for a veteran backup center, they have kept Roullier running with the second-team offense through OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the first two preseason games.

He was a bit shaky against the Ravens in the first preseason game but he was solid against the Packers on Saturday. It should be noted that Roullier will be facing the Bengals’ defensive starters on Saturday, not backups and players whose names will soon appear on the waiver wire as he was in the first two games.

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The competition that Roullier will face, however, is one of the upsides here. If the Redskins need their backup center during the season, their opponent is not going to pull its starter and line up a reserve player against him. He will be facing starters. The Redskins organization should have a pretty good idea of what they have in Roullier after a half against the Bengals’ front-line players.

Again, it would be better if Long was there for the line to work on its game. But the Redskins will have a chance to make the best of a bad situation by finding out if they are set at backup center or if they will need to pull the trigger on finding a veteran option.

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.