Kirk Cousins

NFC East Rumors: Cousins, Redskins, Cowboys

More bad news on the Kirk Cousins front. Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter links) hears that there isn’t a real price that will make the Redskins quarterback happy. The two sides, she adds, are at a point where they need each other but don’t want each other.

This comes on the heels of an Adam Schefter report indicating that a deal between now and mid-July is unlikely. Although there is an improved tone in talks, there apparently hasn’t been much in the way of forward progress. But, if Cousins is truly unhappy with the Redskins, then the problem is much more serious than just a disagreement over money.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • After converting to defense in 2016, quarterback Jameill Showers is working to make the Cowboys‘ roster as a safety. He faces competition from players with more experience in the secondary, but so far the early reviews for him are positive. “I’m really happy with what Showers has done,” Cowboys secondary coach Joe Baker told Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “He’s turned his body from a quarterback body into a defensive back body, which looks a lot different. You can tell he looks slimmer. He’s moving a lot better. The whole athleticism part of it is so much different at that position, and so I’m really proud of how he’s worked. He’s still got a ways to go, but movement-wise in terms of his backpedaling, changing direction, all those things we do as defensive backs, he’s really doing a nice job.”
  • The Cowboys worked out wide receiver Marquez North on Monday, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).

Latest On Redskins, Kirk Cousins

A long-term deal for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins is still viewed as a long shot, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. There has been an “improved tone” between the two sides, Schefter writes, but there apparently hasn’t been much progress. Kirk Cousins (Vertical)

[RELATED: Brian Quick Must Impress In Camp To Make Redskins]

It would cost the Redskins more than $34MM to use the franchise tag on Cousins for a third time in 2018, so there’s definitely incentive for them to get a long-term deal done. At the same time, Cousins is very comfortable with betting on himself, so he is not sweating things out. It is believed that the quarterback will push for $50-60MM in guaranteed money to get an extension done, a sum that roughly represents the money he would earn through franchise tags in 2017 and 2018. Even the less costly transition tag in 2018 ($28MM) would still give Cousins a projected $52MM over the next two years, so that $50-60MM ask makes plenty of sense.

Recently, the NFL pushed back the deadline for teams to sign franchise players to long term deals, so the to sides will have until July 17 to hammer out a new pact. Typically, the franchise deadline is on July 15, but the NFL bumped up the date since it falls on a Saturday this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Manning, Fins, Carr, Cousins

In the wake of quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s season-ending knee injury last December, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase reached out to the retired Peyton Manning about a possible comeback. “It started with Gase,” Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, told Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. “He said, ‘Hey 18, Tannehill went down.’ He said, ‘I think he’s going to miss some time. The first question I’m going to get at the press conference in the morning is if I’m going to try to bring you to Miami. What do you want me to tell them?” Peyton Manning was resoundingly successful under Gase when he was Denver’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2012-14, but neither a reunion with Gase nor joining a playoff-bound club late in the season could entice the future Hall of Famer to return. Continued Archie Manning: “The text message came back from Peyton, ‘You tell them I could probably come play, but there’s no way I can miss carpool the next two weeks.’ So, he was done.” With Peyton Manning unwilling to come out of retirement, the Dolphins turned to backup QB Matt Moore toward the end of the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs, in which Pittsburgh soundly defeated them.

A few more notes from around the NFL…

  • At $25MM per year, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr‘s newly signed contract is a record deal in terms of average annual value, but it still doesn’t match up to Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck‘s pact, writes Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com. While Luck is collecting less per season (just over $23MM) on the six-year, $139.1MM extension he inked last summer, he outpaces Carr in terms of both three-year value ($75MM to $67.6MM) and four-year value ($96.125MM to $87.7MM). Those are better gauges than the overall value of a contract, suggests Barnwell, who argues that the last year of a quarterback’s deal is essentially irrelevant. By then, the QB will have either landed a raise, thereby eliminating what was left on the previous contract, or gotten cut.
  • Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins isn’t going to sign a long-term deal worth less than $52MM over the first two years, contends JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com. That figure represents the combined totals of the $24MM franchise tag for 2017, which Cousins is slated to play under, and the $28MM transition tag for next year. Even that might not be enough for the Redskins to lock up Cousins by the July 17 deadline, observes Finlay, who’s not particularly optimistic that a deal will come together.
  • Fourth-year Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is facing a make-or-break summer, notes Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The 352-pound McCullers is coming off his first 16-game season, but he only played 17.4 percent of defensive snaps, and the Steelers opted against giving him first-team reps in minicamp while starter Javon Hargrave dealt with an injury. When speaking with the team’s official website about McCullers’ status, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell didn’t mince words, saying: “Dan McCullers, he’s got to grow up. It’s time to make a move right now. This is going to be his fourth year. And usually in this league, after about four years, you have got to make a move. Or, either, you move somewhere else.”

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Cousins, Giants

Redskins safety DeAngelo Hall wants to be a coach or a GM when his playing days are done.

I see myself in a suit doing something,” Hall said (via John Keim of ESPN.com). “I don’t see myself on the field coaching. I see myself in the front office….I feel I can see talent.” “I’m not saying I’m a mastermind or Bill Belichick…But when you play the game, or you’re asked to do other things, like Doug, you have a little more feel than the guy who has been in the office his whole life. I wish it was the NBA where you could stop and go be a head coach or GM like that. I understand it’s a process, but it’s definitely something I want to get involved in.”

Hall, 34 in November, recently took a pay cut for the 2017 season so that he could remain on the roster. The veteran obviously isn’t in a hurry to begin his post-playing career, but he has a pretty good handle on what he’d like to do when it’s all over. It wouldn’t be a surprise if 2017 was his final season on the field.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Talk of an extension for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins doesn’t mean a whole lot in June, one source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “So much noise,” said a source with knowledge of the situation. When asked whether progress has been made, the source added, “Nothing to report. Will be interesting to see what happens mid-July.” Recently, the NFL pushed back the deadline for teams to sign franchise players to long term deals – from July 15 to July 17 – and it’s likely that talks won’t really progress until the hourglass is almost out of sand. Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, may be seeking upwards of $52MM guaranteed at signing, representing the total of this year’s salary ($23.94MM) and next year’s transition tender ($28.7MM). The Redskins, presumably, are hoping to chip away at that number.
  • The Giants‘ deal for defensive end Devin Taylor is a minimum salary deal with just $40K guaranteed, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets. The advanced metrics haven’t been crazy about Taylor’s play, but he did record 11.5 combined sacks over the last two seasons.
  • Jason Peters could be playing guard for the Eagles down the road.
  • Will the Cowboys regret losing Barry Church to free agency? One beat writer believes that will be the case.

NFL Pushes Back Deadline To Sign Franchise Players

The NFL has pushed back the deadline to sign franchise players to multiyear contracts, relays ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Teams that haven’t yet extended their tag recipients will have until July 17 to do so. The deadline was previously set for July 15.

Kirk Cousins

The change could affect the Redskins, Rams and Steelers – the only teams that have players currently slated to play the season under the tag. The Redskins have the most expensive member of the trio, quarterback Kirk Cousins ($24MM), who could go through his second straight year as their franchise player. The same holds true for Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who’s in line to make $16.42MM. The cheapest of the three, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, comes in at $12.1MM.

Placing the franchise tag on Cousins again next year would cost the Redskins upward of $34MM, an unpalatable amount, and finding quality quarterbacks isn’t exactly easy. As such, Washington has been working to extend the 28-year-old Cousins prior to the deadline. Unlike last year, when the two sides made little to no headway toward an agreement, there has been progress this spring.

Meanwhile, there’s no indication that the Rams and Johnson have engaged in discussions, in part because they wanted to see how he’d fit in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme. Los Angeles’ coaching staff got a look at Johnson, 27, in Phillips’ defense during the club’s offseason program, and head coach Sean McVay subsequently praised the corner. It’s possible, then, that a deal will come together in the next month.

While Cousins and Johnson each signed their franchise tenders awhile back, Bell still hasn’t put pen to paper on his. He and the Steelers have been discussing an extension throughout the offseason, though, and despite his past suspensions and injury issues, the 25-year-old wants to become the league’s highest-paid back on his next deal. There’s a good chance that will happen, writes ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, who notes that the per-year value of Bell’s contract won’t match the tag.

“Even if he gets $10 million a year, that’s 25 percent more than any other running back is making right now,” one front office executive told Fowler. “You’d have to call that a market-moving deal.”

In the end, Fowler expects the Steelers to offer Bell a four-year accord in the $40MM to $45MM range, including $20MM in guarantees.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Floyd, Cousins, 49ers, Eagles

Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd is fighting back against a report that he violated his house arrest rules by testing positive for alcohol, telling Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: “Totally false. The whole thing is false. You can’t believe everything TMZ says.” Floyd, who had completed 91 days of his 96-day house arrest sentence as of Monday, is due in court June 26.

His agent, also named Brian Murphy, released a statement Friday, part of which says (full statement here via ESPN’s Adam Schefter):

“On June 10, 2017, Michael watched movies at his place of residence until 3:00 a.m. During that time, he drank several bottles of kombucha tea drinks, unaware that the drinks contain alcohol.

On June 11, 2017 at 5:30 a.m., Michael was tested and his blood alcohol content was .055. Michael was tested again at 5:54 a.m. and his blood alcohol content was down to .045. Michael was tested again at 6:23 a.m. and his blood alcohol content was .044. He then went back to sleep and missed a test at 6:33 a.m.”

More from the NFC:

  • Newly named Redskins senior vice president of of player personnel Doug Williams told NFL Network on Friday that he wants the team to extend contract-year quarterback Kirk Cousins “in the worst way” (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). Williams isn’t involved in talks with Cousins’ camp, though, as president Bruce Allen and VP of football administration Eric Schaffer “have been on this negotiation for a long time.” In the event the Redskins are unable to prevent Cousins from hitting free agency next winter, they’ll have to “search long and hard to find” a capable successor, Williams noted. “But at the same time, we got a capable backup here in Colt McCoy, who can hold the fort down for a while or even take it the long distance.”
  • The 49ers have not broached an extension with safety Eric Reid, the contract-year defender told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. Reid, a 2013 first-round pick who’s set to play his fifth-year option season at a $5.676MM salary, is moving from free safety to strong safety this year. Between that and the fact that San Francisco has a new regime, including head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, the team likely wants to see if Reid’s a fit before considering making a long-term commitment to him, notes Wagoner. Saleh’s impressed with Reid so far, calling the 25-year-old “unbelievable from a mental standpoint,” “very athletic” and “strong.”
  • The Eagles announced some changes to their scouting staff on Friday, including promoting Trey Brown from director of college scouting to player personnel executive college/pro and hiring Ian Cunningham to take over Brown’s old post. Brown was among a few candidates who interviewed last month for the Bills’ then-vacant general manager job, which ended up going to Brandon Beane. Cunningham’s new to Philly, having spent the previous nine years with Baltimore. There, he worked with Joe Douglas, whom the Eagles hired as their vice president of player personnel last year.

NFC East Rumors: Cousins, Hollins, Jaylon Smith

We learned yesterday that long-term contract talks between the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins were finally progressing, though Cousins is still holding all the cards in those negotiations. After all, since it would cost Washington north of $34MM to put the franchise tag on Cousins for the third time in 2018, Cousins can afford to play hardball, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com says it will still take $50-60MM in guaranteed money to get an extension done. Indeed, the Raiders and Lions are preparing to hand out massive paychecks to Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford, respectively, the Bears just gave Mike Glennon — who threw 11 passes over the past two seasons — essentially a one-year, $16MM deal, and the 2018 class of rookie quarterbacks is supposed to be better than this year’s crop, but it still lacks any Andrew Luck-type certainties, all of which enhances Cousins’ value.

Now for a quick trip around the NFC East to close out the night:

  • The Eagles reportedly have no interest in reuniting with old friend Jeremy Maclin, and Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks he knows why. Bowen says the Eagles are willing to sign a free agent stopgap like LeGarrette Blount if they do not have young, promising options at a given position, but otherwise they do not want to stunt the growth of a talented prospect that could blossom into a quality starter by the time they are truly ready to compete for a championship in a couple of years. Maclin may not be especially productive by that time, whereas rookie wideouts Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson would just be entering their prime. Hollins in particular is making the Philadelphia coaching staff excited, and as ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets, Hollins is well-regarded around the league and would have been a second- or third-round draft choice this year if not for a broken collarbone that hurt his draft stock.
  • Reporters finally got the opportunity to see Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith on the field yesterday, as Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press reports that Smith did individual drills and some 7-on-7 work with reporters watching. It was Smith’s sixth practice overall but the first one that the media was allowed to observe, and afterwards, Smith was characteristically vague about his practice time and recovery. However, he remains adamant that he will be ready for Dallas’ September 10 season opener.
  • We learned earlier tonight that NFL agents and front office personnel expect Giants receiver Odell Beckham to land a contract with a total value very close to, or even exceeding, $100MM.

Redskins, Kirk Cousins Making Progress

The July 15 deadline for Redskins franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins to sign an extension is approaching, and there are finally signs that a deal could get done. There has been an “improved, encouraging tone” in recent talks between the two sides, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN. Discussions have gone so well that there’s hope the Redskins will be able to re-sign Cousins after the season if they’re unable to reach an agreement with him by next month, according to Schefter.

Kirk Cousins

“There’s no doubt it’s been more positive lately,” a source familiar with these negotiations told Schefter. “Everything has been much more positive in the past several months.”

It’s unclear if the Redskins have upped their offer from the reported five-year, $20MM-per-annum contract they were willing to give Cousins earlier this offseason. But one thing is certain, per Schefter: Owner Daniel Snyder wants Cousins in the fold for the long haul. Perhaps at Snyder’s behest, team president Bruce Allen and Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, had a face-to-face meeting at last month’s owners meetings. That was the first time the two sat down together since the Redskins first placed the franchise tag on Cousins last offseason.

In 2017, his second straight year as Washington’s franchise player, Cousins is slated to rake in a $23.94MM salary. While that’s a tenable amount for a quarterback of the 28-year-old Cousins’ caliber, tagging him again next offseason won’t be nearly as easy. Doing so would cost the Redskins upward of $34MM, leading Schefter to point out that Cousins is the one with the leverage in discussions between him and the team. Unsurprisingly, then, the Redskins seem more willing than they were in the past to recognize Cousins’ long-term value, writes Schefter.

Cousins, who entered the NFL in 2012 as a fourth-round pick and a backup to Robert Griffin III, has certainly looked like part of the solution for the Redskins since he took over for RG3 as their No. 1 signal-caller prior to the 2016 season. The ex-Michigan State Spartan has started 32 straight games, thrown 54 touchdowns against 23 interceptions, amassed over 9,000 yards (4,917 last year) and completed 68 percent of passes since grabbing the reins in Washington.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Eagles, 49ers, Vikes

Quarterback Kirk Cousins indicated Wednesday that contract talks between him and the Redskins will go down to the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players, per JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “Deadlines do deals,” said Cousins, who added that July 15 “will be a telling date, as it was last summer.” Cousins and the team weren’t able to find common ground then, leading him to play last season under the $19.95MM franchise tag. As of now, Cousins is set to make around $24MM as the Redskins’ franchise player in 2017, and that number will climb to $34MM-plus if the club tags him again next offseason. While astronomical, that figure wouldn’t necessarily scare off Washington, according to president Bruce Allen.

More from the NFC:

  • The Eagles’ Jordan Matthews was a potential trade candidate earlier in the offseason, but he referred to those rumors as “fake news” and “alternative facts” on Tuesday, writes Zach Berman of Philly.com. “I don’t really care about that stuff, bro,” he continued. “I feel like it’s the NFL – everybody has a price. Those talks, they happen. It really doesn’t faze me in any way.” Regardless of whether the Eagles shopped Matthews, who’s now part of a much more accomplished receiving corps than he was last year in light of the acquisitions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, he might not be long for Philadelphia. Matthews’ contract is set to expire after the season, and the Eagles haven’t yet made an effort to extend him. “I haven’t really talked to anybody about that,” said the 24-year-old Matthews, a three-year veteran who already has 225 catches and 19 touchdowns on his resume.
  • Coming off the second major injury of his career, a torn Achilles, longtime 49ers starting inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will have to compete with free agent signing Malcolm Smith and first-round pick Reuben Foster for snaps, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). Bowman, a three-time first-team All-Pro who has started in all 68 of his appearances since 2011, vowed Monday that he’ll relegate Smith and Foster to the bench (via Branch). “I won’t be on the sideline. I’m going to tell you that now,” declared Bowman, who revealed that he spoke with GM John Lynch regarding a recent trade rumor. “He mentioned that it was a rumor,” Bowman said of Lynch. “Things were misinterpreted. And I also heard about the guy who reported it who wanted some type of attention. … But the NFL knows what type of player I am. Injuries are part of the game. I’ve done everything I needed to get back to where I am today. I’m ahead of schedule. I don’t feel anything in my Achilles or my knee. And guys can see that out on the field.”
  • Receiver Michael Floyd‘s deal with the Vikings features a $1.16MM base salary and per-game roster bonuses of up to $250K, tweets Ben Goessling of ESPN.com.

Redskins May Franchise Kirk Cousins Again

A third consecutive franchise tag for quarterback Kirk Cousins would net him north of $34MM for the 2018 campaign, but that hasn’t dissuaded the Redskins from considering another franchise tender, as JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes.Kirk Cousins (Vertical)

“Yes,” said Redskins president Bruce Allen when asked if his club could deploy the franchise tag on Cousins next season. “In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract.”

The NFL’s CBA would require Washington to pay Cousins 144% of his 2017 salary if it used the franchise tag for another year. Given that Cousins is scheduled to earn a fully guaranteed ~$24MM during the upcoming campaign, he’d be due almost $34.5MM in 2018 (that figure, too, would be fully guaranteed). If the Redskins opt to go that route, Cousins would have raked in roughly $78.5MM from 2016-2018.

Trade rumors surrounded Cousins throughout the offseason, but now he’s almost assuredly staying put in Washington for the 2017 season. Cousins, 28, has been adamant that he hopes to remain with the Redskins for the long-term, and Allen said Monday the team is optimistic an extension will eventually be hammered out. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a new deal, or else Cousins will play out the year under the franchise tender.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.