Jul 14, 2016, 5:45 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 14, 14 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.
—The Redskins last played a game 186 days ago. It will be 60 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 1; Preseason opener @ Falcons 28; Final roster cut 51
Long-term Cousins deal off of the tag would be a first for the Redskins
—I’m publishing this about 36 hours before the deadline for Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract with the Redskins. I would think that if something is going to happen that we’ll start hearing some rumblings of talk and movement at some point today. If we hear nothing but crickets today it’s hard to imagine anything happening on Friday.
—The Redskins are taking a risk by not locking up Cousins this year but it’s a risk they have taken before. In 2014 they put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo. He was coming off of his best season since his 2009 rookie year when his contract ran out. He was tagged and signed the tender. The Redskins never made a serious long-term contract offer to Orakpo and the deadline came and went. Had Orakpo duplicated his 2013 season (10 sacks and his first career interception) they would have had to pay high premium dollars to keep him. But in 2014 he had just a half of a sack before getting going on injured reserve after seven games. While you hate to say that anybody “wins” when a player gets injured, it turns out that the Redskins made the right move. Orakpo left as a free agent and Washington drafted Preston Smith.
—The Redskins have never signed a tagged player to a long-term contract. Their first franchised player was LB Wilber Marshall, who ended up with the Oilers after a contentious debate over compensation. A few years later transition-tagged CB Tom Carter signed an offer sheet with the Bears and the Redskins chose not to match. DT Sean Gilbert sat out a year rather than play on the franchise tag in 1997. He was tagged again in 1998 and eventually signed with the Panthers, giving the Redskins two first-round picks. CB Champ Bailey was on the tag for a few weeks before being traded to the Broncos in 2004. They didn’t use the tag again until 2012, when TE Fred Davis was franchised. He suffered a torn Achilles in Week 7, signed a one-year deal to return the next year, and hasn’t played since. Then came Orakpo.
—This doesn’t mean that Cousins isn’t long for Ashburn. For one thing, what happened with Marshall over 20 years ago has no bearing on what will take place in 2016. But the scarcity of quality quarterbacks in the NFL today makes Cousins more of a priority than the other tagged players were (although it must be said that CB’s like Bailey don’t grown on trees). I don’t think they’ll let him get away. If they don’t sign him by tomorrow at 4 p.m. they will get something done next year. It may cost them more but barring a total collapse in his performance they will pay the going rate and keep Cousins under center into the next decade.
Update: I left one tagged Redskin off the list. In 1995 they gave the transition tag to kicker Chip Lohmiller. The Redskins and Lohmiller never agreed on a contract and in August they rescinded the tag and let him go.
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Worried about the Redskins’ schedule? Maybe you should be but schedules that look tough in July often look different when the games are played.
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