Cousins is elite with two tight endsTop NFL quarterbacks with two tight ends on the field, according to yards per attempt, 2015-17 1Kirk CousinsWSH1772562,62110.24 7Sam BradfordPHI/MIN1361851,5968.63 15Tom BradyNE3124693,7878.07 10Andy DaltonCIN1732632,1848.30 2Matthew StaffordDET1121651,5469.37 14Peyton ManningDEN45705708.14 6Jay CutlerCHI/MIA1261781,5608.76 13Marcus MariotaTEN2423642,9798.18 8Jameis WinstonTB1943252,7988.61 But some of the teams vying for Cousins’s services don’t have even one tight end who is a receiving threat. Of the teams that are reportedly after Cousins in the free-agent negotiation period that begins Monday — the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets and Vikings — Minnesota seems best positioned to take advantage of Cousins’s talents. The Vikings have a Pro-Bowl tight end in Kyle Rudolph and last season used the two-TE more than the league average (19.2 percent of pass plays, compared with 18.2 for the league). Minnesota lost their offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, but replacement John DeFilippo comes from the Eagles, who ranked third in the league in share of pass plays that came with a two-TE set (24.6 percent).The most notable free-agent tight end this offseason is quite familiar with DeFilippo’s offense and could be a great Cousins complement. Trey Burton of the Eagles is one of the league’s best athletes at the position, registering a best-in-class 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle time in his draft year of 2014. Last year, in the two games that starter Zach Ertz missed, Burton scored three touchdowns.Burton is expected to command top dollar based on how well he projects as a receiver. So pairing him and Cousins would require ample cap room this year and beyond. But he’s not the only free agent available. Others include Jimmy Graham, 31, who led the position with 10 touchdowns last season, and Tyler Eifert, 27, who had 13 scoring grabs in 2015, his last healthy season.Here’s the thing about these tight ends, though: There’s a case to be made that every team should load up on the position and try to use two tight ends more frequently. Overall, from the start of the 2015 season through 2017, quarterbacks averaged 0.64 more yards per attempt with two TEs than they did otherwise (7.76 vs. 7.12). This suggests a two-TE strategy might be worth a look — even for teams that aren’t paying a quarterback $30 million a year. 11Drew BreesNO2513633,0028.27 9Case KeenumLAR/MIN1422131,7758.33 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 4Carson PalmerARI1742762,4318.81 12Russell WilsonSEA1892842,3328.21 3Matt RyanATL1712492,2288.95 playerTeamComp.AttemptsPass. Yds.Yd/Att Total Kirk Cousins is in a class by himself when it comes to maximizing salary at the quarterback position. The signal-caller is on the eve of signing a deal with what could be the highest average annual price tag in NFL history. Few people — including the former general manager in Washington, where Cousins played for the past six seasons — think he will ever play up to his lofty contract. But no matter who signs the free agent, Cousins’s new team would be silly not to also sign a brand-new tight end. Otherwise, the huge amount of money being spent on Cousins — the Vikings have reportedly offered roughly $90 million over three years — will be going to waste.Cousins’s recent performance in Washington offers his next employer a clear blueprint for turning him into a truly great player: employ fewer wide receivers and more tight ends. For the three-season period from 2015 through 2017, Cousins was the most efficient quarterback in football when two tight ends were on the field, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. During that time, Cousins threw 256 passes with exactly two tight ends in the formation and averaged 10.24 yards per attempt. That’s nearly a yard better than the second-best quarterback with two tight ends, Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions (9.37), although Stafford attempted nearly 100 fewer passes. And Cousins beats the NFL quarterback average of 7.76 yards per attempt with two tight ends on the field by nearly 2.5 yards.Cousins is far less effective in more traditional formations. He averaged nearly three fewer passing yards (7.37) when not equipped with two tight ends in the formation. If you were to prorate Cousins’s two-TE production over a full season, he easily tops Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner’s record for most yards per attempt in a single season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Without them, he’s 2017 Josh McCown. 5Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ/TB58877668.80
Dan Cohen AUTHOR Lawmakers are considering tightening a federal program which has provided a significant source of financing for base redevelopment projects in California.The EB-5 visa program grants 10,000 visas annually to foreigners and their families who have invested $1 million in projects in the United States that create at least 10 jobs, or who have invested $500,000 if the money supports areas of high unemployment.Two San Francisco reuse projects have benefited tremendously from the program. Lennar Urban has obtained nearly $300 million through the EB-5 program for its redevelopment of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and adjacent Candlestick Point, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. The site’s reuse plan calls for 10,500 units of housing to be built over the next two decades and 3 million square feet of office space.Lennar has raised about $200 million through the program for the redevelopment of Treasure Island, which is expected to create 8,000 homes, including 2,000 affordable units.Critics of the EB-5 program, however, point to a number of shortcomings since it was created in 1990. Questions have been raised about the screening of applicants by the Department of Homeland Security. In a number of cases, prosperous areas have been deemed eligible to accept investments under the program intended to bolster impoverished locales.And now lawmakers from both parties are proposing reforms to the program. Legislation under consideration would raise investment thresholds, increase oversight and restrict the gerrymandering of the defined employment areas so developers cannot connect prime real estate in downtown neighborhoods to underutilized areas miles away, according to the story.“I’m not against the program, but I do have issues,” said Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), whose bill also includes creation of a visa category for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.One vociferous proponent of the program is Patrick Hogan, who began pooling investments under the initiative for base redevelopment projects in California. Closed bases are ideal investment targets for the program, with their vast infrastructure needs and potential for economic development, according to Hogan, president of CMB Regional Centers.“There wasn’t a single Amazon employee in the whole state of California until we built two 1 million-square-foot facilities on the former Norton Air Force Base,” Hogan said. “Now they employ something like 2,500 people, and I didn’t claim a single one of those jobs,” he said.