ESPN writers published a list of 100 predictions that will frame the 2016 season yesterday that included two predictions for the Washington Redskins. There were also several involving the three other teams in the NFC East, and some former Redskins players.
First, John Keim predicts that the Washington Redskins and Kirk Cousins will not be able to work out a new contract before the July 15th deadline, and he will become the first QB in NFL history to play out the season on the franchise tag. Cousins is scheduled to make $19.953 million this year, and quickly signed the franchise tag tender after being tagged. Redskins executives and coaches have publicly expressed their desire to get Cousins signed long-term, but there has been no reported progress yet. Cousins seems fine with playing under the tag and letting his play this season earn him a huge contract nextyear.
I think this is exactly how the contract negotiations will go and would not be shocked at all to see Cousins play out the year under the franchise tag. This could be a mistake on Cousins part, and he is betting millions of dollars that he will be as good or better than last year. The Redskins don't seem 100% sold on giving him Top 5 money now, but Scot McCloughan will likely pay him like a top QB following another good year. Will Cousins be able to repeat last year's numbers from the 2nd half of the season, and what other teams will be calling if he does? What happens to his next contract if he regresses?
The Redskins have the option to franchise tag him again, but that is a bad situation for the stability of the position and next year's salary cap. Here's to hoping the team can get a deal done in the next 6 weeks.
11. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will play under the franchise tag this season. Both sides want a long-term deal, but unless Washington meets Cousins' asking price by the July 15 deadline, there's little incentive for him to sign now. The Redskins want to see more; Cousins is willing to bet that he'll show them what they want and cash in next offseason. --John Keim
Keim also predicts a huge year for Junior Galette, and I'll have to agree with him again here. Galette received universal praise during last offseason from Redskins coaches, executives, players, and beat writers for his work on the field after being signed. You could see the life sucked out of Gruden at the presser where he announced Galette's season-ending Achilles injury.
Galette signed another 1-year deal to come back to Washington, and is looking to return to form with another double-digit sack year. He wanted a 1 year deal to prove he was still an effective pass rusher, and to turn that performance into another big payday. If he plays as expected, the Redskins could look to lock him up for a few years, or allow him to walk and potentially collect a compensatory pick in return.
43. Redskins LB Junior Galette will recapture his pre-injury form. He looked so good last summer before tearing his Achilles, and the early reports from coaches and teammates have been positive. Galette had double-digit sacks in both 2013 and 2014. -- John Keim
Some other predictions involving the NFC East and former Redskins players:
- Darren McFadden will be trade-bait with the additions of rookie Ezekiel Elliot and former Redskin RB Alfred Morris in the Cowboys backfield.
- Sam Bradford will be the Eagles No. 1 QB at least through the preseason
- Robert Griffin III will be the Browns starting QB but might not have that position by the end of the year.
- Tony Romo gets hurt again, prompting Jerry Jones to trade too much for Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon
- Benson Mayowa will win the starting DE job for the Cowboys due to multiple defensive suspensions(Randy Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence)
- Rookie Sterling Shepard will be the Giant's No. 2 WR, and Victor Cruz may never return to form.
- The Cowboys won't trade unhappy guard Ronald Leary
- The Giants will have to sign a veteran safety again this year, but not Brandon Meriweather
- Disappointing WR Nelson Agholor, and OTA holdout Fletcher Cox will both look good in training camp.