1. If I started every column I wrote with a nod to the soul-crushing events that seem to be constantly unfolding around us, Hogs Haven would cease to be the escape it so desperately needs to be in times like these. Let me just say that I hope everyone finding us today on the ol' interweb is safe and happy, and contributing positively to the world around them. We'll continue focusing on those things that bring us together--in this case, the Redskins and football--but please know that our hearts are with all of you out there struggling with the news of the day.
2. Well, the Kirk Cousins saga did give us a hard stop with regard to "Will they or won't they," but if you think this story is dead, you are so sadly mistaken. I did like Barnum's comment (in the #5OCC) that the Redskins have placed a $20 million value on him and that "anything else is click bait." I will agree with the first part, but humbly disagree with the second part. We're talking about the quarterback for the Washington Redskins. We're talking about the front office of the same organization. This saga has some new names and faces, but to suggest that any talk of this is a plot to gain traffic is unfair. The manner in which we are building a winner not just for this year, but also for years to come is right in our wheelhouse of topics to discuss, and the Kirk Cousins contract story shines a bright light onto that process. I will steer away from talking about how far apart the team and the player were in contract discussions, instead looking at the possible reason why the team at least seemed so unwilling to accept what many considered to be market value.
3. We have been hungry in this town for a quarterback--a franchise quarterback--to call our own. The team tried to manufacture one, attempting to transform a fortune in draft picks into "the guy." Over the years, you might suggest that the closest we ever came to having a true field general under center for an extended period of time was Brad Johnson--and he was not given an extended period of time here. I did love Jason Campbell, and he came awfully close to filling the role, but in the end, he was doomed by turnover in both the coaching staff and in the playmaker department. I would argue that Campbell had the best chance to do it because he was drafted by Joe Gibbs, a man that Dan Snyder worships and trusts.
4. This last part is somewhat important, as neither Brad Johnson nor Kirk Cousins were "Dan Snyder" players. Dan chose Jeff George over Brad Johnson, and Kirk Cousins was a nice, fat turd sandwich that Mike Shanahan delivered to the owner's suite on draft day four years ago. Robert Griffin III was the Snyder guy at that point, and word on the street for some time has been that Shanahan's gift was not exactly...appreciated. Listen, don't think for a second that I don't believe the owner should have a say--even despite all the circus antics we have seen associated with this football team. I can promise you that if I was a billionaire and became the owner of my favorite football team, I would be actively involved. Very few of you out there can honestly say you wouldn't do the same. The truth is I was not in that room and I am not kept updated on contract talks by McLovin, but I believe in my heart that a personnel man of his value would have preferred to put a long-term deal in place with a quarterback like Kirk Cousins. Further, I believe he would have been reading the tea leaves of this market a lot better than it looks like the Redskins did. One of the conclusions we could come to is that he wasn't sitting in the driver's seat. If he was, maybe it was one of those Driver's Ed. front seats where there is a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals on both sides of the car? Still, I am not convinced that we can reasonably claim this is 100% what happened. It certainly isn't the kind of thing I want to spend a lot of ink (or pixels) on. Even if it were true that Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen were too involved in this particular episode, the fact remains that Kirk is our quarterback and our immediate future is BRIGHT.
5. We can all argue about what could have been--even though I hope we don't. Barnum is right when he says the team has place a $20 million value on its quarterback. That is a fine point to make, and a positive one at that. In an effort to find a silver lining, I would argue that the manner in which the Redskins would like to line up their mega-deals is at the heart of this whole thing. Isn't it possible that with the contracts handed out to Jordan Reed, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent WIlliams (to name but three), the Redskins might not want to have a bunch of huge back ends (hold it together, people) all coinciding at the exact same time? Wouldn't it be better for future salary cap flexibility if we put Kirk's deal together so that it could be a little bit staggered from those other deals? (Don't look now, but if that is really the strategy, you could see another franchise tag in Kirk's future!) Otherwise, isn't there bound to be a parade of re-structuring meetings in three years that could cause us some...heartache?
6. On this week's episode of The Audible, we will be ranking our all-time favorite defensive backs. As we have made a habit of throwing out consensus #1/#2 picks, it doesn't look too difficult to see who will be sitting this debate out, but I'll leave that for the show tomorrow. Other topics we will discuss:
- The current value of training camp--with all of its collectively-bargained splendor. Is it as meaningful today as it used to be?
- Injury-watch...preseason is the time of the year we live in fear of injuries to our top guys. Do the Redskins have the kind of depth to ratchet down the threat level we have experienced in recent years (decades)?
- Preseason memories/fan favorites. You know the names...maybe we'll call Scott (HogHunter) to give us a little primer on his upcoming Mason/Brennan Award prospects.