Free agency slows to a crawl. The NFL draft is several weeks in the rear view mirror. And the talk of trading Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to another team fades to black.

Here’s what hasn’t disappeared. In less than two months (July 15), the club faces a deadline to ink their exclusive franchised signal-caller to a lone-term contract. If not, they face waiting until after the season to get a new deal done. Earlier this offseason, the five-year pro signs his franchise tender. That means he’s under contract for the 2017 season. And it appears that’s the only matter at the moment for ‘Skins head coach Jay Gruden.

“I won’t be concerned about (the deadline),” stated Washington’s sideline leader earlier this week to John Keim of ESPN. “I know he’ll be here this season, and that’s all I care about. Whatever happens, happens with him and his agent and our organization. But I’m excited to coach Kirk for a third year in a row.”

The marriage between the coach and the player is a good one. Cousins was named the starting quarterback prior to the start of the 2015 season. That year, he led the NFL in completion percentage, played exceptional football down the stretch and helped lead the team to an NFC East title. This past season, the former Michigan State standout was once again solid. Washington finished with an 8-7-1 record but fell short of the playoffs.

“He’s had two good years in our system,” added Gruden, “and I think it’s going to be very good for him. You’ll see major growth from him again. I’d love to have him for a long-term deal, but this is the year I’m worried about.”

So is Gruden alluding to the fact that this could be Cousins’ final year with the team? It’s a possibility but it’s not in the hands of the coach. It’s upper management that has the call. The Washington Redskins prepare for another season. They look to get back in the playoffs for the second time in three years. They are led by a man that knows he has to take care of his business in leading the team. And that means letting the organization and Cousins take care of theirs.

Russell S. Baxter is the Washington Redskins lead writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Redskins news and features? Like our Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_redskins on Twitter.

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