Kirk Cousins is probably going to be a free agent next offseason.

Ninkovich played every linebacker position and defensive end and was even the backup long snapper. But what Belichick loved the most out of Ninkovich, originally a fifth-round pick from Purdue by the Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft, was his toughness.

“My relationship with Rob dates all the way back to Purdue when we scouted him coming out in the ’06 draft, right? He was a little bit of a ‘Was he a linebacker? Was he a defensive end?’ Well it turned out he was both and we missed him the first time around but we finally got it right,” Belichick said. “He’s Croatian so I knew he was tough. There was never any doubt about that. All Croatians are tough.

“But after New Orleans, Miami, back to New Orleans, we’re sitting there in training camp in 2009 lacking a little depth at the outside linebacker position. Nick [Caserio] said ‘There’s a guy, Rob, he should be on a roster, he should be in a camp and he’s available so let’s get him.’ Really, it’s just history after that.”

After Belichick spoke at length about Ninkovich as a special player and “really special guy,” it was Kraft’s turn to heap praise on Ninkovich during what Belichick described as a day of mixed emotions.

After not reaching a long-term deal with Washington before the July 17 deadline, Cousins is on Philadelphia Eagles Cheap Jerseys a Personalized Cheap Jerseys one-year deal with the team that pays $23.94 million.

Washington will have a last chance to keep Cousins after the 2017 season, but franchise-tagging Cousins again would mean owing him more than $34 million in 2018, and giving him the transition tag would cost more than $28 million.

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