La Canfora: Redskins A Sleeping Giant That May Finally Be Awakening

The Redskins received some glowing praise for their roster construction in ESPN’s NFL Future Power Rankings (Insider subscription), which places them as having the 12th most optimistic three-year outlook in the league and best in the NFC East.

These types of positive preseason press clippings are abnormal for the Redskins, just as the Redskins winning the division is abnormal, but all signs seem to be pointing the Redskins in the direction of sustained success rather than being one-hit wonders (as they were in 2012).

If you’re waiting for the rug to be snatched out from under you, that’s not really what this is about.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who has long been (justifiably) critical of the Daniel Snyder-run Redskins from his time on the beat for The Post, has even trudged into the vicinity of saying nice things about them.

He was asked during an interview Tuesday with 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes if the Redskins truly are the best-run team in their division, as ESPN’s Future Power Rankings suggest.

While he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of forecasting teams’ success three years out — “I just don’t understand how you project that with the draft being so much the lifeblood of these teams and their success” — he did agree that, yeah, things are looking good in Ashburn.

“They have a paradigm and a construct in place now unlike any we’ve seen there probably since [Joe] Gibbs and [Bobby] Beathard,” La Canfora said. “And I’m not comparing Scot [McCloughan] to Beathard, and I’m not saying that [Jay] Gruden is Gibbs, but at least there seems to be the right kind of healthy checks and balances, and the lack of interference and the lack of outside influences.”

“If that continues,” he says, “it bodes well for long-term success. If there is no meddling and just cut the checks at the right time and stay out of the way, then this has long been a sleeping giant and maybe they’re finally really awakening.”

La Canfora offered up his own projections earlier in the week in assessing the odds of each team extending its franchise-tagged player before Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline. He put the Redskins’ chances of landing a deal with Kirk Cousins at one percent.

“I can remember the piece I wrote in November when they first met in Chicago and basically they told his camp, ‘You’re never going to hit the open market this offseason,'” he told Dukes.

“And even at the time, I reported then it was close to certain the Redskins would franchise this guy if they had to. And [Cousins] was already spinning it forward, knowing with his agents, once they do that, I’m going to sign it.

“And then once the thing’s signed, and the quarterback market explodes the way it did, then I think this has always been sort of the short-term endgame. And, you know, these guys haven’t had to pay big bucks to a quarterback, I mean, really ever, right?”

Okay, I might have lied when I said there was no rug. There’s always a rug.

“They haven’t had to do this in a while,” La Canfora said of the Redskins. “It’s not a bad problem to have. If he balls out, is it going to cost you a little more on the back end? Let’s say you hypothetically did this before [Brock] Osweiler and Sam Bradford and all that hell broke loose… could you have gotten him a little cheaper? Maybe, but I understand their trepidation. And I really shouldn’t say ‘they,’ because I think, really, if this was purely just the GM, and the agent and the cap guy in the room, I think maybe it could have gotten done.”

Uh oh.

“But the sense I’ve always gotten is that ownership just was not ready to stroke that $55 million check, not put that kind of guaranteed money in front of this quarterback just yet. But if you play him like you did last year, I mean just do the math. It’s $20 million this year, right? Let’s just be conservative and say he’s going to break Osweiler’s guarantees, right?

“So that’s $40 million — and I’m going at the floor, not the ceiling — so that’s $60 million guaranteed right there, so do the math. If he has another big season, yeah, will it cost them a little bit? Sure, but the cap’s going up, they haven’t had to pay top dollar to a quarterback really in a long time, and for them to have that security and to feel like, ‘Okay, we are ready to commit to this guy’?”

“If he plays well, he’s not leaving,” La Canfora ironed out the bottom line. “They’ll have to overpay to keep him and maybe three years from now there’s some ramifications to it, but, again, I think given all that they’ve gone through at that position, I think you could sign them up for that.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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