NFC Notes: Cousins, 49ers, Bears, Lions

With a chance to collect upward of $58MM via the franchise tag over the next two offseasons, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has plenty of incentive not to sign a contract extension, argues Adam Schefter of ESPN. If the Redskins do tag Cousins the next two years, as they did this season, they won’t be able to again after the 2018 campaign. Assuming Cousins continues the pace he has set since midway through last season, he would then have the rare opportunity to hit the open market as an established starting QB. Cousins is reportedly seeking nearly $24MM per year on a long-term deal, and Schefter adds that the Redskins would have to include guarantees in excess of the aforementioned $58MM to lock him up.

More from the NFC:

  • Currently amid a career-best season, 49ers contract-year tight end Vance McDonald is making a strong case that he’s worth re-signing, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. With 22 catches in nine games – all starts – the fourth-year man is on pace to easily eclipse the career-high 30 receptions he posted last season. McDonald has already found the end zone a personal-best four times, too, and is averaging a tremendous 17.4 yards per catch. “He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league,” head coach Chip Kelly said of McDonald, who’s on track to net a sizable raise over the roughly $800K salary he’s raking in this season.
  • The Bears entered this season needing to fully evaluate quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White, center Hroniss Grasu and cornerback Kyle Fuller, but they’re not going to emerge with clear answers on any of the quintet, opines John Mullin of CSNChicago.com. Three of those players – Cutler, White and Grasu – have seen the field either barely or not at all this year and won’t suit up again in 2016; Fuller has been out all season with a knee issue, though it appears the Bears will activate him from injured reserve soon; and the best player of the group, Jeffery, is a free agent-to-be who’s currently serving a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Cutler, White, Grasu and Fuller are under team control through next season. However, it’s doubtful Cutler will return, as Mullin notes, and Fuller’s inability to play has been inopportune for a team that will have to decide on his fifth-year option for 2018 in the offseason. A breakout campaign from White could have made it easier for the Bears to wave goodbye to Jeffery, on whom they placed the franchise tag last offseason, but a fractured fibula limited White to just four appearances this year. The 2015 first-rounder didn’t see the field at all as a rookie because of a stress fracture in his leg.
  • When speaking Friday, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah made it sound as though fellow DE Armonty Bryant will return from his three-game suspension Sunday in New Orleans. “We’re looking forward to what he’s going to do for us this week,” Ansah said (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). If Bryant is indeed coming back right away from his ban, Detroit will have to make a corresponding move to open up a roster spot for him.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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4 comments on “NFC Notes: Cousins, 49ers, Bears, Lions

  1. bollo

    Who’s running the Bears now, K. Williams?

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    • BeltonKenn

      It makes you wonder if Ryan Pace has the authority to make moves. I think they should part with Cutler after this season and start the rebuild.

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  2. GrumpyOldBearFan

    I think the house cleaning should begin at the top.

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  3. Wllmcasey

    I think pace is doing a good job if you look at the young talent there getting he has already begun the rebuild process

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