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Need to Know: Do the Redskins want to see more before committing to Cousins?

Apr 18, 2016, 5:12 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 18, 10 days before the NFL Draft.


—The Redskins last played a game 99 days ago. It will be 147 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: 2016 NFL draft 10; Rookie minicamp 25 ;Redskins training camp starts 101

Hot topic

There isn’t much happening regarding long-term contract talks between the Redskins and Kirk Cousins and there may not be anything substantial happening until 2017.

The Redskins gave Cousins the franchise tag just before the March 1 deadline following the quarterback’s breakthrough performance in 2015, his first year as the starting quarterback. While that is a fairly small sample size, the price tag for keeping him around to gather another season’s worth of data was the $19.95 million franchise tag.

But it appears that the team is reluctant to commit more right now. “Right now, the Redskins view Cousins as a backup who ascended into a starting role,” reported Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. “Eventually, a threshold has to be crossed where they see him as the centerpiece of the franchise. Until that happens, an ironclad long-term deal isn’t getting done.”

The Redskins have until July 15 to sign Cousins to a long-term contract. If they don’t get it done by then he will play out the season on the tag. The schedule just game out a few days ago and a quick glance reveals that there are no games scheduled between now and the deadline. Unless the Redskins are going to judge him to have crossed that threshold while running plays in shorts and helmets during OTAs in minicamp, they won’t have any more to go on when July 15 rolls around than they do now.

Of course, things can always change they could change their minds and increase their offer. Or Cousins could decide that he’d rather risk signing for less than he might get if he has a monster 2016 and take what the Redskins have on the table.

But the way things stand right now the chances that Cousins will be the first quarterback to play out a season on the tag are pretty strong.

Stat of the day

Last year the Redskins ran 238 times on first down. The NFL average was 231.

In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Apr 18, 2016 at 6:40 AM

    McCloughan said as much in his interview with Jason Cole, unless cousins is going to give them some kind of home team discount which it doesn’t seem will happen.

    Surprisingly enough, I think both sides are fine with him playing on the franchise tag. Sure, they might have to pay him more than $20 M a year if he has a better season than last year but they’ll have more of an assurance if he does.

    And if he doesn’t and comes back to average Kirk, they can let him walk or pay him around $15 M a year on a long term deal.

    • lezziemcdykerson - Apr 19, 2016 at 11:28 PM

      It’s trickier than that if he backslides this year, reaaallly hoping that doesn’t happen. How much of that could be attributed to a tough schedule? Aging receivers? Reed injury, he was the safety blanket. Maybe the defense goes backwards this year and puts him in some tough spots. Not making excuses but I’m just thinking it would be a VERY REDSKINS thing to do to let him walk because he regresses a little (maybe even a lot, now im just talking out my arse) and then he goes to a team and lights it up for years to come.

      Could we imagine a scenario where Kirk slides a little but the Redskins still tags him again until we find our eventual answer at QB? Maybe promote Colt?

      • abanig - Apr 20, 2016 at 3:43 AM

        Well if he backslides this year then I don’t think it will be as hard to re-sign him, I just don’t. He’s not going to get $20 M a year from anyone if Cousins has an average season, like a RG3 type season from 2013.

        As for the defense, they put him and the offense in some bad spots last year, it can’t get much worse.

        I think if Cousins is average this year they let him play the market next year and then they’ll decide if they want to match what he gets offered – or hope it works out that way.

        Tagging Kirk for a second year in a row – if he’s only average in 2016 – wouldn’t be a good idea IMO. The franchise tag goes up if a players is franchised two years in a row. So, next years franchise tag for Kirk is 24 or 25 million.

        I think if he’s average in 2016 and they still can’t get a long term deal done it’s more likely they go with Colt for a year or two until they can develop a long term answer. I think there’s a good chance the skins draft a QB at some point in this draft, maybe Christian Hackenberg if he’s there in round 2 or 3.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Apr 20, 2016 at 4:32 PM

          Well let’s say for arguments sake he’s not 2013 Kirk, he’s first 4 games of 2015 Kirk. Decent but not really franchise worthy.

          As bad as the defense was last year we lost our leading tackler and Knighton who did an OK job this offsesaon. Think of how bad the defense could be during the growing pains of either starting rookies or aging veterans in those positions. Not mention we have second year guys and some possibly over the hill guys in our secondary. If anyone takes a step back this defense could be terrible.

          “I think if Cousins is average this year they let him play the market next year and then they’ll decide if they want to match what he gets offered – or hope it works out that way.” I agree here I’m just playing devil’s advocate I think if he drops off a little bit we shouldn’t overreact. Just trying to gauge which side of the overreacting spectrum we would favor; letting him walk or over paying if we tag him a second year because a desperate team met his demands.

          I’d like to see us draft Kevin Hogan. Keeping Colt around was definitely a smart move he looked perfectly competent to carry the team forward if need be.

        • Trey Gregory - Apr 20, 2016 at 7:44 PM

          Thank you. Thank you for understanding that losing Knighton and Goldson matters. Even if they weren’t great, even if they weren’t what we hoped they would be, even if fans didn’t like them, they still contributed and haven’t been replaced. They contributed more than people think. And I think some fans are going to have a rude awakening when they realize how different this D is without them. Unless we really get some good rookies.

          Especially from a leadership aspect. That matter so much more than some admit. When an entire team is unified and motivated and play for each other, it matters. Look at 2014 Carolina to 2015 Carolina. They didn’t get better on paper. What was the difference? Team cohesion and leadership. That’s how much it matters.

        • abanig - May 1, 2016 at 8:33 PM

          Again, Knighton sucked last year. People overrate him because he was big, but he couldn’t move.

          Goldson sucked last year also, he was a free safety and sucked at coverage and was one of the league leaders in missed tackles for the third year in a row.

          We got rid of two negative players on our defense and kept players who got better as the season went on.

          Our defense got better when Dhall returned and became a safety. Our D got better when Compton & Foster took over at ILB last year and Smith started at Rolb.

          We added Josh Norman, major upgrade to our corner back unit. Chris Culliver will be back to either play corner or most likely safety.

          Ihenacho will be back to play SS and be a run stuffer on run downs. When Ihenacho was healthy our run defense was good. He acted like another ILB against the run, filling in from his SS position.

          We added Fuller in the draft who’ll be a good nickel corner.

          Hood is a stout run defender, he has been since his rookie season in 09.

          Like I said before Reyes had a 5 & 5.5 sack season his first two years. He’s got that kind of talent.

          Our defense is going to be better this year. We don’t have any aging veteran on our defense except for DHall. Last year we had Knighton & Goldson who continued their poor play from their 2014 seasons.

          You also have your years mixed up on Cousins. Cousins had a down year in 2013. In 2014 he was good except for the Giants & Cardinals games when he broke down in the 4th quarter.

          Last year cousins had a few bad games in when Djax was hurt, Reed was hurt and Kory L was hurt. They all 3 missed or didn’t finish the Falcons & Jets games. And Kory L was only healthy the first two games of the season I think.

          The Kirk of the last 9 games is the Kirk we are going to get this year. That’s who he is, and who he’s going to be now and in the future. If the weapons stay more healthy this year, Kirk is going to have a better year than he had last year.

          If Lauvao, Kory L, Paul & Paulsen get and stay healthy this year our running game will be better because Jones will have better blocking. We also added Vernon Davis who is a good blocker and is expected to be our #2 TE/blocking inline TE and start opposite Reed.

          I don’t see the skins being worse in 2016, at worst they’ll be equal to what they were last year.

      • Trey Gregory - Apr 20, 2016 at 4:17 PM

        If Cousins backslides we still shouldn’t let him walk. We need to try and sign him to a reasonable contract. That’s probably going to be higher than a lot of fans like. But reasonable in 2016-2017 is a lot more than the past because of the inflating cap, lack of quality QBs, and the contracts that other mediocre QBs got.

        If he backslides then that’s our ammo to give him less than 20 mil, but we still need to try everything to keep him in the building.

        Because even if Cousins plays like he did in early 2015, he’s still good enough to bring stability and start while we try to find the future starter. He would also give us time to develop the new guy, and not start him before he’s ready. As in what happened with Aaron Rogers compared to RG3.

        Teams with a stable QB presence have a huge advantage over teams without one because they can take their time to develop new talent. That’s what we would be paying Cousins for. Time. The time and luxury to develop his replacement. Not his actual skill set.

        I know a lot of fans will hate that, but it’s smart. It’s a long-term strategy. We can keep building other parts of the team and insert the new QB once the team is ready.

        Because even before Cousins got into his grove last year, he was average. He was still good enough to win 7-8 games a year; depending on the team around him. It’s still better to have a mediocre QB than no QB or starting a young QB too early. A 2-14 season just takes it out of guys and can put that winning culture into a backslide. That’s the danger. Cousins should be our QB the next couple seasons regardless of if he backslides a bit in 2016. It just depends on how much another team would be willing to pay him or how much he wants.

  2. sidepull - Apr 18, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    I have been in the camp that feels the tag was the right way to go just to see it play out this year before a long term deal. On the other hand Scot is the guy who evaluates the position. If he is certain that he can build around Cuz, and win a championship with him then who knows what happens before July 15th. I hope they allow him to play it out. Better off to be off the hook for a boatload of cash if things go south. However,I think Cuz will be just fine this year and who in the Redskins organization isn’t pulling for this to work out? Finding a franchise has been no easy task for them. Here is hoping it plays out well and the Redskins can move on to building us a championship caliber D to root for.

  3. colorofmyskinz - Apr 18, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    Scot clearly stated he wanted to sign cousins to a long term deal. Just need to get the numbers right.

  4. bangkokben - Apr 18, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    It appears as if the winds of change are blowing in this direction (letting him play out the tag) but why do we feel this way? There certainly is contrary anecdotal evidence. Charles Robinson’s report implies direct opposition from the Jason Cole report and Cole going on ESPN 980 saying that McCloughan was the guy figuratively standing on the table for Cousins back in August in a one-on-one five hour meeting with the owner. We think Cousins will play out the tag because its mid-April and there is nearly 90 days until a deal has to get done. We are at the calm. We have endured six weeks of no negotiations only to see 10 more weeks on the horizon. As for the stories, nothing should be believed from a GM this time of year and there are going to be contrary stories.

    It has been my position that we will know after the draft what the Redskins plan to do with a long-term contract. If the Redskins use a draft pick from the top 4 rounds, then Cousins will play out the deal. If the ‘skins fill the 3rd QB spot with a 6th or 7th rounder or an undrafted free agent, Cousins will have a long term done and I’d say within a fortnight of the draft but there is no hurry. Now if the ‘skins use a 5th rounder on a QB, then we’re right where we are now — in limbo waiting for July 15th.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM

      Standing on the table saying you believe the guy should be your starter over another guy and caving to give him what you think is too much money based on the sample size you have are two entirely different things.

      • bangkokben - Apr 18, 2016 at 12:23 PM

        True. However the amount Robinson suggests $19M/year with $40M guaranteed is right where those of us who have been pushing a long-term deal have been stating what the market is all along. Do the ‘skins really need OTAs and mini-camp to make that deal when a deal like that lowers the cap for this year and keeps the guaranteed money less than paying back-to-back tags? Maybe Cousins wants considerably more. I don’t know, but I expect that a long-term deal with terms like those will get done before July 15. Are you changing your mind?

    • Trey Gregory - Apr 18, 2016 at 5:59 PM

      I want to know Charle’s Robinson’s source for that statement. Because that’s a big and bold statement to make. Did he talk to a training staff intern or the equipment manager for their opinions or is this actually what ascot McCloughan believes?

      Because if that is what McCloughan believes, maybe we should be mocking Paxton Lynch to Washinton at 21. I’m just not buying that statement at all.

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 18, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    “The Redskins are starting up their offseason program today but as far as being a sign that football is back it’s only symbolic.” – Rich T.

    Will there be medical updates? (For instance, I remember you saying the last time you saw Lauvao, he was using a scooter to get around, etc.)

  6. bangkokben - Apr 18, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Just sayin’ I’m a fan of the segment: “Stat of the Day.”

  7. John - Apr 18, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    They’ll get him signed by training camp. Just waiting to get through the draft, etc., before finalizing things. Scot M has told him, “hey I’ll build a team around him and we’ll win and you won’t necessarily have to be lights out.” They’ll get it done, so they can get the cap squared for next season. Archives

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