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Kirk Cousins' contract dominates discussion

There were more questions on Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and his situation than anything else. So, for the topic of the week, I'll address Cousins (@midnight57, @MattFulgham, @shondeveron).

Whether keeping Griffin around is a bargaining chip: No, it's not. Griffin won't be returning to the Redskins and everyone there knows it so if the Redskins wait until March 9 to release Griffin it's for a different reason. Here's one thought: If they could get him to redo his option, lowering it, they might be able to coax a team into a trade. But I don't know if that's realistic. Regardless, if Griffin remains on the roster for the time being it won't have any impact on negotiations.

Length of contract: My guess would be four years, just basing it off contracts signed in recent years by quarterbacks. Here are the lengths of the deals signed by starting quarterbacks in the last two offseasons with their prior team -- Eli Manning (four years), Philip Rivers (four), Russell Wilson (four), Cam Newton (five), Ryan Tannehill (four), Ben Roethlisberger (four), Peyton Manning (two), Andy Dalton (six), Alex Smith (four), Colin Kaepernick (six). Now, Cousins is not as established as those quarterbacks (most of them at least), but it's all about leverage.

Does he deserve such a big deal? He plays a position in demand and is coming to free agency after his best season -- and only year as a full-time starter -- at a time when the cap is increasing. Cha-ching. He hasn't shown that he can be a franchise quarterback -- a guy who wins games on his own (see: Newton, Cam). But Cousins did show he could lead a team with weapons around him -- and he was good down the stretch. If your only criteria is that he must be a franchise-type quarterback, you'll be left without a quarterback because there are only a handful of such players and they're not available. There's a leap of faith involved here, but let's see how the contract is eventually structured first. The Redskins are well aware that they can't be handicapped by one deal. And Cousins also knows what he needs around him. Both sides have self-awareness, which should help.

Impact on the cap: As of now, the Redskins have approximately $10 million in cap space -- that's fluid; it'll change based on incentives that were earned in 2015 (affecting the amount they can carry over from last season). Also as of now, Griffin counts $16.155 million against the 2016 salary cap because the Redskins picked up his option. Let's say Cousins signs for $20 million a year (not sure that will be the amount, but with a rising cap this offseason and next, it's a possibility). That would only increase the Redskins cap by nearly $4 million. The Redskins do have an ability to free up cash for more moves.