Kirk Cousins, going on three offseasons, is a highly coveted commodity in NFL free agency. Although the top free-agent quarterback is willing to sign his tender should he be franchise-tagged by the Redskins for a third consecutive time, that’s unlikely to happen at a $34.47 million price tag for 2018.
It makes no sense for Washington to use two-thirds of its $52 million-plus in cap space to keep Cousins just for ’18. His age should make the Redskins hesitate to pay him long-term now, too, and Gruden, firmly on the hot seat, is unlikely to keep attaching his tenure to a QB who frustrated him often in ’17. Picking No. 13 overall in April, the Redskins will be in the wheelhouse for a preferred prospect at the position. It’s smarter for their focus to be there, anyway.
According to a person familiar with the NFL’s deliberations, the league believes that Burfict’s suspension is warranted under the new directive. It also believes that Burfict’s suspension would have been warranted even without the new measure given it was an illegal hit, in the NFL’s view, delivered by a player with a long history of on-field infractions. Discipline also might have been warranted based merely on the unnecessary roughness of the hit, in the league’s view. So, to the NFL, it was a straightforward decision and a relatively easy call.
Burfict is appealing the penalty, and the Bengals are offering public support.
“The Bengals are aware of the NFL’s letter to Vontaze regarding a play in last weekend’s game,” a written statement issued by the team said. “The film shows that the hit was legal, that Vontaze engaged his opponent from the front, and that contact was shoulder-to-chest. The Club will support Vontaze in the appeal process.”
Burfict also says the hit is legal.
Among owners, there appears to be no unanimity of opinion. Jerry Jones has said that any member of his Dallas Cowboys who does not stand for the anthem will be benched and Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins feels the same way. (The Cowboys do not play this weekend.) However, Ross’s coach, Adam Gase, gave his players permission to remain in the tunnel during the anthem and Michael Thomas, Julian Thomas and Kenny Stils, who have long protested, remained there Sunday.