It is that time of year again. The NFL season is winding down and we’re in the middle of a “wedge week”, a time where the news train slows and there is zero football on television for the first time in nearly six months. Super Bowl coverage will be plentiful next week, but for now, we are beginning to look back at the season that was.
For forward-lookers that are itching for draft content, Rotoworld’s Josh Norris is covering the Senior Bowl from every angle starting with his Day 1 Observations. As for now, there are a few news items that need to be reviewed in Thursday’s Dose. Let’s hit it all…
On Tuesday of this week, both Washington HC Jay Gruden and President Bruce Allen were fully adamant that Kirk Cousins will return to Washington for 2017 and beyond. Allen hinted that there was “speculation” that Cousins would go elsewhere, referring to the likelihood Kyle Shanahan will try to go after Cousins whenever he becomes the San Francisco 49ers’ new head coach. Cousins himself was non-committal on his return to the Redskins on Wednesday, but he’s just vying for his position in the market. He knows he’s due for a big, long-term payday. If the two sides can’t work out a long-term deal, Washington can just franchise-tag Cousins once again.
Even though Washington’s season ended abruptly without a postseason bid and Cousins played poorly against the Giants, the Redskins would be foolish not to bring Cousins back on a long-term deal. Cousins’ has improved his league-wide rank among qualified quarterbacks in Adjusted Yards per Attempt every single year since 2014. He finished 10th (7.4) in AY/A three years ago, eighth (7.7) in 2015 and fifth (8.1) this past year. Just this past season alone, Cousins was one of the league’s most accurate passers. Per PFF, Cousins ranked eighth in accuracy on passes traveling 20-plus yards downfield, he finished tied for seventh in accuracy rate under pressure and was the eighth-most accurate quarterback when the pocket was clean. It’s easy to bash Cousins for throwing two interceptions in a must-win game in Week 17 against a division-rival, but he was undoubtedly underrated for most of the 2016 season. Both sides will jostle for position this offseason, but the odds Cousins returns to Washington are very strong.
Per Tampa Bay Times' beat writer Rick Stroud, it does not seem like Doug Martin is a part of the Buccaneers’ plans for 2017. After injuring his hamstring which caused him to miss Weeks 3-9, playing poorly upon return and subsequently getting suspended (Adderall) for four games, Martin is rightfully in hot water in Tampa Bay. Martin was wholly unimpressive in 2016 after a strong bounce back campaign in 2015. In weekly PPR output, Martin finished as a top-12 (RB1) scorer just once in seven healthy games this past year. Martin had five top-12 performances in 2015 alone. Outside of his rookie season and a 1,400-rushing yard performance in 2015, Martin’s career has been a mixed bag. Now 28-years-old and suspended for the first three games of the 2017 regular season, the Bucs have an easy out with Martin. Because he was popped with a four-game ban prior to Week 17 this past December, all of Martin’s remaining guaranteed money in his contract is voided. If the Bucs’ want to cut Martin this offseason they can do so, scot-free. Martin’s ugly situation combined with the fact that Charles Sims dealt with major knee and pectoral injuries in 2016 could lead the Bucs to target a running back in this year’s loaded draft class. Sims himself is 27-years-old and is heading into a contract year. After a 9-7 season, the Bucs have four picks inside of the top-120 overall in the upcoming NFL Draft (19th, 50th, 84th and 114th).
Falcons C Alex Mack will not practice this week because of a "swollen, painful sprained ankle."... Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry said he'd like to re-sign with the team… Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said he is in “wait-and-see” mode with suspended WR Martavis Bryant. Tomlin also mentioned on Tuesday that he knew that Le'Veon Bell was playing with a groin injury, but it was “just something to manage”... Cowboys Executive VP Stephen Jones said the team would like to re-sign impending free agent wide receivers Terrance Williams and Brice Butler… Aaron Rodgers said impending free agent Jared Cook "needs to be near the top of the priority list" for the Packers this offseason… Redskins’ WR Josh Doctson (Achilles) still has yet to be cleared to run without restrictions… Dolphins Executive VP Mike Tannebaum said there's been no decision on whether Ryan Tannehill will undergo offseason knee surgery… The NFL and NFLPA concluded that the concussion protocol was "not strictly followed" for Matt Moore's head injury after he was hit by Bud Dupree during the Wild Card Round against Pittsburgh.