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Need to Know: Luck’s extension was no surprise to Redskins, Cousins

Jul 1, 2016, 5:13 AM EDT

Luck passing vs Redskins 2

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 1, 27 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 173 days ago. It will be 73 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 14; Preseason opener @ Falcons 41; Final roster cut 64

Quick hits

—One thing that needs to be taken into account when talking about the Andrew Luck contract extension and its effect on Kirk Cousins’ negotiations is that the deal did not come out of the blue. Jim Irsay has been talking about it publically for a couple of months and the $25 million per year figure has been speculated by many. Redskins cap guru Eric Schaffer certainly has had figures close to the actual amounts in Luck’s deal plugged into his evaluation of the QB market. Ditto for Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent. Luck’s contract is still a game changer but the change took place long ago.

—Last year the Redskins defense was 12th in the NFL in stopping opponents on third down, allowing the opposition to convert 37.7 percent of the time. As anyone who watched them consistently last year might guess, their room for improvement comes in their rushing defense. When opponents passed the ball the Redskins allowed a first down 31.4 percent of the time, significantly better than the league average of 36.2 percent. But when opponents ran the ball on third down they were successful 51.2 percent of the time, a tick over the league average of 50.6 percent.

—For the sake of comparison the 2014 Redskins, who were 24th in opponents’ third-down percentage, were better against the run than against the pass. They beat the league average against the run with 43.2 percent conversions compared to 48.8 percent for the league. But they were 31st against the pass, allowing first downs on 43.8 percent of third down pass plays compared to the league average of 37.8 percent. Since teams pass on third down almost four times more often than they run the ability to stop the pass on third down is much more important to overall third down success.

—Joe Barry and company deserve some credit for the improvement in third down conversions between 2014 and last year. That and improvement in takeaways (19 in 2014, 27 last year) were big reasons why the Redskins were able to rank 17th in points allowed while standing at 28th in yards allowed. That is a good statistical picture of a bend but don’t break defense.

Thursday on Twitter

If the Redskins could get Cousins to accept this they should send a plane for him and get him to sign it immediately.

In case you missed it 

 

  1. colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:51 AM

    If we can just sign him now we can avoid having to pay him about $3-5 M per year more if we let him play the tag. Listen, it is well documented we have the best receiving Corp in the NFL. We also will have a better line than last year. We will also have better blocking TEs than last year by far for the running game. Then add the fact that our defense is insanely better this year on pair than last, meaning Kirk will be on the field longer this year… So it is going to be way easier for Cousins to find success this year than last. It will be virtually impossible for Kirk to have a worse year this year than last. And that is what our contracting is hedging on. By all markers the team is better around Kirk this year than last, and Kirk has an entire offseason in the number one spot as a true leader of the team with NO distractions on the sideline (RGIII). It is completely insane to think he will have a year worse than last. So even if he matches last year, we will be paying him more every year if we sign him next year.

    If we don’t sign him in the next 16 days, we are basically committing to paying him $3-5 M per year more in future years. That is completely insane based on Normans contract. Without Normans contract that $3-5M more per year risk might be worth it. We are basically agreeing to get rid of a good player on the team to be able to pay him more signing him next year.

    Something tells me we will see a early Christmas present in July with a reasonable deal this year locking in our rising talented franchise QB. Otherwise we are looking at one hell of a gamble on Kirk failing. Might as well go to Vegas and place that $3-5 M on black or red on the roulette table, because that is basically our odds of making good on paying him the same or less than his tag next year.

    SIGN THE MAN! HTTR!

  2. smotion55 - Jul 1, 2016 at 6:53 AM

    If Cousins is really a team guy he will find a way to get this done and not have the drama that will come with the tag. Or is all the drama what he likes after getting a taste of this limelight. Or he is pissed at Snyder and the disrespect that the owner gave him playing 2nd fiddle to RG3 and proving he was farther ahead because he played under center for 4 years in college.
    A double tag and then free agency would be the way to go then. He would be a trend setter for sure .If they don’t get this done it will be a setback for the team and resentments on both sides somehow will rise to the top and become a problem.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 7:21 AM

      1000% agreed! How many QBs have played on a franchise tag??? That’s right NONE! We would be inviting RGIII / Snyder style drama to the team after we just got rid of it. It would be a disaster. It would take the growth of this team down with uncertainty of the cap budget in the future. There is nothing in it for the team to play Kirk in the tag. But maybe that is what Snyder likes, no years allowed without drama under my watch. Prove us wrong Snyder!!

      • goback2rfk - Jul 1, 2016 at 8:54 AM

        Kirk deserves the tag and not a penny more. He is no a proven commodity. In fact at one point even last season people were ready to throw the guy out the window. Now you want to pay him like he is a star.
        In fact I remember some of your posts talking sh|t about Kirk and now he is your best friend? The guy is good, but lets see if he can do it again and then he can get the bib money. Kirk, take us to the playoffs again this season and then we will talk numbers.

        • colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:05 PM

          I am a huge cousins supporter even when we had RGIII starting ahead of him 2 years ago.

          What about Brock or Bradford? He is better than them both and more proven. So is he worth less than them? They are making some pretty big coin…

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:10 AM

      The “team guy” stuff is nonsense. Every single player knows he would do the same thing in his shoes. You don’t become a better teammate by taking less money than you deserve.

      • bangkokben - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:55 AM

        Amen!

      • colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:13 PM

        I agree with you guys. However, we have players like Mannings and Brady that agree to take less for the sake of building the team to get to the big show and continue to play once in their twilight years. I get it, they are not in growth years. But players do do it.

        • bangkokben - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:18 PM

          Brady has a supermodel wife that makes $40 million a year. He can afford to be generous.

        • colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:28 PM

          LOL!! Ok I buy it!

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:41 PM

          Yeah they take less money after they’ve made their money. They’re taking less to solidify their legacy, not for the team. It’s still a decision about them. They also have endorsement deals. The more they win the better chances of getting a lot of endorsement money. Not every player has this luxury.

          Yes, Beady has a wife who makes more than he does. But also the Mannings grew up in a wealthy home. They have family money as well. I also remember Peyton being pretty pissed off that Denver asked him to take less money.

          Joe Flacco got a blockbuster deal. Can took a big contract. Russell Wilsom demanded to be paid like a top QB going into his fourth year. Andre Luck just became the highest paid player in NFL history. Are all of them not team players too?

        • Rich Tandler - Jul 1, 2016 at 6:22 PM

          Brady and Manning did that after they already had made big bucks a market prices for a number of years. They did not do it when they first had an opportunity to sign a free agent contract.

        • ajbus1 - Jul 2, 2016 at 7:49 PM

          Some of the “pay cuts” that Brady took were just restructures. I remember asking the question awhile ago. How are the Patriots able to just restructure Brady over and over? Why don’t other teams do it as often?

    • renhoekk2 - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      Kirk wants what every player wants, to be paid fair market value for the position he plays. Why do fans expect him to take less money than he should be paid to be a “Team Player”. If the team is not willing to pay him what the market states, then they are the ones inviting the drama, not Kirk. If they Redskins were smart they would have signed him to a short, modest contract extension that they could get out of cheaply and easily when they gave him the starting job at the beginning of last season. If he flopped as a starter they could have kept him around as a backup for a season or two while they moved onto Plan C. They gambled on him failing. The talk the whole time was “If he plays really well and becomes the QB we want him to be, having to pay him will be a good problem to have” Except now when it’s time to pay him they don’t want to do it. Or at least they don’t want to pay him what the QB market says they should.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 1, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      Seriously the team guy stuff is ridiculous. This is still a business and any of us would want to maximize our value negotiating with an employer. Do you scold a team for not being team players if they cut, trade, or low ball a good player who has worked hard and played well? Or do you praise the team for making a good business decesions because it saves cap room?

      People made this same “team guy” argument with Russell Wilson’s contract even though he had a ring, went to two Super Bowls, and had more wins to start his career than any QB in history. So stop with the “Cousins is unproven” nonsense. Wilson was proven but fans still didn’t understand market value. Fans still got greedy with the idea that player would take half of what they’re worth so the fans could have a super team. That Wilson deal now looks like a bargain. Think about that. They got the deal done sooner than later and it paid off. Wilson, Luck, and Cousins were drafted together. Indy could have extended luck at the same time and probably saved 5 mil a year right now. Washington will regret it if they don’t get this deal done too.

  3. redskins12thman - Jul 1, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    The Redskins definitely improved last season, from the very disappointing 2013 and 2014 seasons. Still, there is much more room for improvement and hopefully the team can take another step forward in 2016. I would like a defense that bends much less frequently. It would be interesting to compare statistics between the very top defenses, like the Broncos, with the Redskins; how big are the percentage gaps? Most importantly, being able to sustain leads or if necessary keep games winnable (staying within 7 points) against the better teams is what I’m looking for this season.

  4. garg8050 - Jul 1, 2016 at 7:31 AM

    The price tag has gone up…4 for $90 million or 5 for $110 million, $50-60 million guaranteed. The team needs to get this done. Especially with the Norman deal and the way it’s structured. If Galette and Baker both have good years, it will be next to impossible to retain both while paying Cousins $24 million next year. And that’s while probably allowing both DJax and Garcon to leave.

    The ‘Skins need to swallow hard and get this done. Unless there are still detractors in the organization.

    • goback2rfk - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:08 AM

      Think how mad you will be when he starts stinking it up next season and the ink is still drying on that big multi year contract. This dude does not deserve a huge contract right now. Let him prove it next season.

      • Trey Gregory - Jul 1, 2016 at 12:01 PM

        I wouldn’t even be mad. It would have been a smart decision that didn’t pay off. Or maybe it would. Him having one bad season doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be a good QB just like him having one good season doesn’t mean he won’t be a bad QB.

        So we would be stuck with a not-so-good QB on a bloated contract for a couple years. So what? Is that worse than no first round picks for a couple years? Is that worse than blowing multiple picks on guys who don’t work out? Is that worse than having extreme instability for years and years while we try to find the guy? It’s all a risk man. Not paying him is just as risky as paying him. I would argue more risky.

        At his worst Cousins is still better than a lot of other options. He would buy us time and stability for a couple years while we found and groomed his replacement. Instead of having the franchise spiral into distinction when Snyder loses patience. That’s worth the risk of overpaying him.

  5. kenlinkins - Jul 1, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    Rich, I am not buying in to all of the “soft cost” items many Redskins fans seem to want to bake into the Cousins deal (i.e. Drama, team first, leadership, helps pop corn sells etc). NFL QB’s are commodities / assets and each has a value like Oil / Gold etc. and commodities are only worth what someone else is willing to pay. The Luck deal showed that the market for QB’s is UP right now. They are rare and few are on the market. The Redskins hold the option for Cousins at $19 million in 2016 and $22 million for 2017 which means nothing if the Redskins think Cousins is the long term answer at QB now, (i.e. buying silver does nothing if you think Gold is going up) so I now throw those numbers away. If Osweiler is at about $19 million and Luck is at about $25 million per year, then Cousins should fall somewhere about $21 to $23 million per year (much higher than most had figured just 5 months ago). What is clear now is that Cousins has control now and should not sell himself short. You never get what you are worth, you get what you negotiate! I hope Cousins gets every dollar he can while the market favors him and the Redskins must ask themselves just what do they think Cousins will do the next two years and then price that answer into the 2018 NFL QB market. IMO they will be glad they signed him for the $22 Million per year over 4 or 5 years with $68 million guaranteed IF THEY THINK he is the answer! #trying to reduce the moving parts.

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:04 AM

      Tagging Cousins again next year would cost 120% of his salary thing year or $23.94 million. And it’s much closer to $20 million this year ($19.95 million).

  6. goback2rfk - Jul 1, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    The people on here are ridiculous. Cousins seems like he is pretty good but what has the man really done? He had 1 good season and thats about it. Cousins is no proven commodity so why should he get paid like one. Let him play out the year on the tag and lets see if this kid can put 2 good seasons together and then we will talk money. I have a feeling his market value will drop after next season. There is a lot of pressure on Cousins to perform and its not like he will break Redskins records again… Look for a sophomore slump type year from Kirk

    • RuddyJamesDIO - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      Thanks for being optimistic. We need more fans like you.

    • John - Jul 1, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      1 good season. Yeah, considering it was the first one where he started all season. A season where he broke team records and they won the division and went to the playoffs. He had 2 bad games all season. A season without much defense and not much out of the running game.

      Now, 2014 was a different story. Sure he had a bad game against the Giants, but he wasn’t the only reason they lost those games. Ex: Where was the defense against Philly and the Giants or Seahawks? Did any of the QBs shine for the Skins in 2014?

      In 2013, the team was all ready out of contention when he played, so I’m sure the team was not playing very hard at that point.

      My point is that with Kirk in there they have always moved the ball down the field. Last year as opposed to previous seasons, they scored TDs as opposed to FGs. Young QBs will take their lumps and teams usually end up paying more than what some fans think they should.

      If Luck (best young QB after a down/injured season) is getting an average of $23.6 million over 6 years and Osweiler is getting an average of $18 million over 4 years (based on 7 games, with a much better team), what do you pay Kirk? The market decides that.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 1, 2016 at 2:18 PM

      It’s like you’re rooting for Cousins to fail so we can save a little cap space. Holding out is like betting against him. It’s counterintuitive to what a team should do for their players. It isn’t a smart management decesion. It won’t help build him up and play with confidence.

      These guys are paid a lot of money to evaluate NFL talent. Maybe you’re unsure if his ability, but they should know. A first round draft pick gets made based off zero NFL snaps but we have faith in the staff to make that decesion. They have far more information on Cousins to make this decesion.

      I get it, you guys don’t want to pay him because you don’t like risk. But you’re not seeing the risk in not paying him. You’re not seeing how we’re already on the hook for more because we’ve waited and how we will pay even more if we wait another season. You’re not seeing the risk of an unsure lockerroom; in the possibility that we don’t retain him; the risk of instability in the organization; the risk of trying to find another QB in free agency; the risk of overpaying that free agent who isn’t any good because the FA market is so thin; the risk of drafting a QB high (possibly reaching) without a starter good enough to allow the young guy to develop; and the risk of starting that young QB before he’s ready; and how even a regressed Cousins can minimize that risk by buying us time to wait for the right guy and give him time to develop.

      But John is right. Cousins has always moved the ball well and looked good running the offense. It was just his turnovers. Is it really that inconceivable to think he developed, got better, and that’s behind him?

    • John - Jul 1, 2016 at 4:26 PM

      The only QB, “show me” situation is Fitzpatrick with the Jets. The guy has had 2 good seasons in his 11 year career and blew it for the Jets last year when he had a strong supporting cast. They were all but assured of a spot in the playoffs even though he blew several games and then he blew the Buffalo game. Now that guy is definitely not worth the money.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 1, 2016 at 5:24 PM

      Please tell me how Brock is proven with his $19M multi year deal? Bradford? Both half year wonders if that. Cousin way more proven than them. The bottom is set. And so is the top with Luck. Pretty simple math. Pay $20-21M per year on a multi year deal now or stand to pay $23-25 M on a multi year deal next year. He is not going to get worse with the team getting better. His probability of matching and surpassing his success from last year is greater than dropping performance year over year. Just the facts.

  7. dcfaninecuador - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    Ok, which one of you guys is actually sitting in on the negotiations? Show of hands, please. And if not, how does ANYONE know who is stonewalling? Thought so. It makes sense for the skins to let KC prove his sustained value on the field ( see Nick Foles, etc.). And it says a lot about KC’s character and confidence (which you want in a QB) that he is willing to let his performance in 2016 determine his value going forward. This is NOT a big deal. He WANTS TO PLAY. let’s let it play out on the field. In the big scheme of things, 4 or 5 million is peanuts if he plays as we all hope.

  8. bangkokben - Jul 1, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    In response to: “If the Redskins could get Cousins to accept…”

    The fact that Cousins’ tag is 30 times more than his last year’s salary and that he has already signed the tender has allowed Kirk the ability to play roulette with the Redskins. Come September, every week when Kirk cashes his game checks, he will be adding two 2015 season salaries to his bank account. That money is not his yet but it’s guaranteed and therefore coming once the games start.

    Hence, any piddling offer the Redskins make, Cousins can just plop down on Red Eight and watch the wheel spin. He can afford to play on the tag making $20M this year, gamble on himself, and get a better offer next year — one that is 33% better than what the organization is currently offering him — OR the Redskins can up their offer and get him signed.

    Suppose the Redskins offered him a 5-year, $110 million deal, with $60 million in guarantees. How might that look? It’s all about the guarantees and how they’re structured but the cap hits can climb like stairs — starting in year one: $18 million, $20 million, $22 million, $24 million, and $26 million. These hits could have a $30 million signing bonus prorated at $6 million a year. The Redskins could then guarantee the 2016 base salary ($12 million), the 2017 base salary for injury ($14 million), and have a $4 million roster bonus in year three.

    The Redskins would be committed to Cousins for two to three seasons paying him $56 million over the first two seasons but costing the cap just $38 million. In the third season, the Redskins could part ways with Cousins saving just $10 million of the $22 million cap figure. The Redskins could also wait until year 4 to part ways with Cousins, saving $16 million and carry a dead cap charge of $8 million. Bottom line: Cousins would get more money than playing two years on the tag while the Redskins would save $6 million in cap space then paying Cousins two tagged years and both the player and organization would have a two-three year window to ensure that they are the right fit. In addition, the organization would have MORE cap flexibility to improve the roster and stay well within the cap.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 1, 2016 at 1:36 PM

      I don’t get what’s so hard for people to understand about that. Particularly your last paragraph. It really seems like common sense once you think about it.

      • bangkokben - Jul 1, 2016 at 6:10 PM

        I don’t either. It seems to be a deliberate unwillingness to understand the finances of the game, poor math skills, or both.

        There are 22 quarterbacks that have average yearly cap hits of $16 million or greater. Of these 22, only Cousins and Brees would become free agents in 2017. The average cap hit of these 22 is $19,694,068.18. This notion of overpaying is extremely ignorant. It’s like going to the pump and expecting to pay 88 cents a gallon. This isn’t 1989.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 2, 2016 at 3:55 AM

          That’s actually a pretty good way to look at it.

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