1. I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day festivities. Since my life's story is largely told through television and movie references, you won't be shocked to know that one of my favorite Memorial Day traditions is the watching (and re-watching) of Band of Brothers on HBO. It is hard to believe that this miniseries is 15 years old, but it is even harder to believe that there are people out there who have not yet seen it. I get it--not everyone is into shows about war--but this remains one of the most important entries into our country's storytelling efforts (SPOILER ALERT: we won). When BoB first came out, I was neither a husband nor a father, which is to say I had a lot more time to sit down for a marathon viewing party. I was able to flick over to BoB throughout the day, and then more meaningfully between the Nats game and then the Warriors game. First question of the day: Is there a show or movie that you like to watch on Memorial Day weekend? My second favorite is Patton, but I also have some buddies who binge-watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia starting on Friday night. Thankfully, the weather cooperated somewhat so that people could get outside, but if you were cooped up, surely you had a plan.
2. The second question today stems from the first: If you have any kids, or hope to one day have kids, is there a movie or show that you can't wait to watch with them someday? I had my Star Wars moment(s) with my son, but I still look forward to sitting through BoB when he is old enough to understand it better. Sure, both Star Wars and BoB are historical re-tellings of good versus evil, and both are set in sweeping, grand locations, but the aim of the characters' gunfire is WAY more accurate in BoB. Before we move on, I wanted to make sure and remember all of those men and women who served our country so heroically and selflessly. If it wasn't for the sacrifices that so many made, we wouldn't even have the chance to have a forum like this to discuss what we would or wouldn't get to share with our families over long holiday weekends. How about this for a Redskins transition: if you could watch any game--let's say regular season game--that you remember vividly but your son or daughter never got to see, which one would you sit your kid(s) down to watch together? This question pretty much assumes games prior to this season or even the most recent few seasons, but I think the Tampa Bay game from earlier this season ranks among the best ones in recent memory.
3. Alright, I know that many of you have no kids now or in your near future, so the rest of this will be dedicated to the kind of talk to which we are most accustomed. How about the Kirk Cousins contract situation? Hahaha! I can honestly say I wasn't expecting to see this topic dragged out this far into the spring/summer. I always said that the long-term deal would get done, even when the franchise tag deadline came and the two sides locked up a one-year accord. So far, I have been extremely wrong. All of you out there who said that Kirk needs to play on a one-year "prove it" contract are looking very smart. I will continue to wave my hands and insist that the team and the player will agree to a contract that locks up Kirk for the next four or five years, but until that happens, I will continue to be wrong. I will say this: I used to be so dead set against letting Kirk play on a one-year deal that it made me upset. This is obviously predicated on my belief that Kirk IS the guy we think/hope he is, and he needs to be locked up. The good news is that he is locked up. The good news is that he didn't take our franchise tag offer and shop it around the league, begging someone to offer him more. He signed his tag tender almost right away. Don't ever sleep on that being a good sign of things. The farther we go, the less upset I am over this matter. The Redskins control Kirk's immediate future, and the one-year $20 million deal in place is not destroying our ability to add talent (see: Josh Norman). The team wants to see more and they are paying top dollar to see it, without yet risking future top dollars--I can more than live with this. As for Kirk, think about it: he is guaranteed roughly $20 million this year, and if he plays well, he will sign a long-term contract next year guaranteeing him another $30-40 million (maybe more). If no long-term deal is signed before July 15, I am starting to feel a little more comfortable for both sides. We're talking about astronomical numbers, but the NFL's salary cap is expanding and it shows no signs of slowing down. At some point, you have to pray that you have a quarterback that is worth top dollar, and when you do, you pay him.
4. As I get more comfy with this situation, I can't help but wonder how much of this is in any way tied to Dan Snyder's handling of Robert Griffin III (haven't mentioned him in a Sixpack lately). In all fairness, I think both the team and Kirk Cousins have pretty much moved on from all of that nonsense. They have to--no real choice in the matter. Still, simultaneous to the contract discussions has been a somewhat steady trickle of stories (most notably Jason Reid's on ESPN) documenting the manner in which Dan Snyder and RG3 handled their business and the way in which this created friction with one Mike Shanahan (oh yeah, he has also had plenty to say on the matter). I get that Dan Snyder wants to win, and I actually love that about him. I also get that Kirk Cousins was essentially crammed down Snyder's throat, with Shanahan making it clear who he thought was the better prospect on our roster. No matter what anyone says, jettisoning Griffin and paying Kirk like an elite quarterback is a gigantic turd sandwich being served in the owner's suite. If you're looking for reasons to give Snyder credit these days, look no further than the professional manner in which he has gorged himself on that sandwich. Seriously, this is Dan Snyder doing what is best for the team and getting out of the way of Scot "McLovin" McCloughan. Kudos.
5. This whole conversation is great because it is yet another thing shining a light on the way McLovin prefers to build his roster. It's the difference between picking through the bargain bin and shopping at the boutique, flagship store for an expensive name brand. I think it would be fair to suggest that there was a time when the Redskins could have signed Kirk Cousins to a 5-year, $90 million contract with somewhere around $30 million guaranteed, give or take $5 million or so. Had they done it right away, prior to other quarterbacks signing, many would have claimed we were overpaying. Once Sam Bradford got $18 million a year, all bets were off. It would be hard to see Kirk's agent agreeing to much less annually than the $19-20 million he is making this year. To Tim Strachan's point, if he earns it in 2016, he will earn it forward. There are players you hunt for in the Lost and Found, and they come at Lost and Found prices. When it comes to "your" quarterback, you stroke the check. We will get a taste of what it feels like to have a $20 million player under center for us this season. What's more, we might get to drive that Cadillac for an entire year without having to worry about making the payments for years to come! If nothing else, we are currently being spared that feeling that we are one hit away from having our salary cap blown up for the next five years. We have some very core players locked up for the next four or five seasons. Maybe McLovin's plan is to add Kirk's contract to that stack beginning in 2017, so he won't have to re-sign so many people at the same time? As strongly as we all feel about this matter, I think we can all agree at this point that our team is not held hostage by the situation. Going forward, Kirk's salary cap number is going to be pretty close to what it is now, so having to pay him after a good season does not change the calculus all that much--yet another subtle aspect to McLovin's genius.
6. Tonight is Prediction Night on The Audible. I am not sure why it gets capitalized, because we intend to do these way more frequently. We are joined in-studio tonight by Jeff Clay, former wide receiver at both Gonzaga High School and Catholic University. In addition to breaking every record at Catholic that was available to break, he also was able to topple a couple of collegiate receiving records held by a guy named Jerry Rice. As his quarterback, Kevin Ricca will gladly take some of the credit--we'll just have to wait and see which part of tonight's show we get to that. We'll be predicting starting lineups on offense and defense for the Redskins for the first week of play. In addition to that, we'll be making some way-too-early individual player predictions.