Monday at 4pm, the long-term deal deadline passed and went like a typical lazy summer afternoon.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nothing happened and realistically nothing was ever going to happen. But this makes no sense. Obviously Coach Jon Gruden, Bruce Allen, and the rest of the front office have said they wanted Kirk in Washington for the long haul. They know he has been the best quarterback this city has seen since Mary Rypien in ’91 ( Brad Johnson in 1999 was amazing but that is another story.)
The Redskins have watched Cousins break record after record and right the steady stream of quarterbacks that have flowed through Washington like the lies coming from Congress. Surely Cousins must know the opportunity he has in Washington. Leading an historic franchise in a major city where football is king. Playing for an offensive minded coach like Gruden must be a quarterback’s dream scenario. So where did it all go wrong?
Value vs. Actual Value
The difference has always been the perception of Cousins. Redskins fans are routinely split between a basic game manager and a top 5 quarterback in the league. Is Cousins in either one of those categories, probably not, but the case could be made for either one. Cousins obviously threw for almost 5,000 yards last season, completing 68% of his passes along the way. His receivers have loved playing with him and he got them some decent contracts. Pierre Garcon (49ers) and Desean Jackson (Bucs), both went over a 1,000 yards last season, Jamison Crowder was at 850 yards, and Jordan Reed was all-world TE when he was healthy.
One should expect the same from Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Crowder, Reed, and the rest this season. Then there was the play on the field in big games and big moments. There was week 2 showing versus the Cowboys at home driving down the field for the win, turnover ‘Skins lose. There was week 1 game versus the Steelers on a Monday night when the Steel Curtain played soft zone all night and Cousins looked lost. Or Week 15 at home versus the Panthers, a chance to control our playoff destiny, dud. And of course, Week 17 at home versus the Giants, who were already clinched and didn’t try, the turnover of the year and season over. And that is what the front office is looking at. So one hand the stats say top 5 quarterback the other, middle of the pack game manager. So that is the value vs. actual value argument.
Was there ever a true negotiation?
This moment would have been normal for most franchises, deadline passes and that’s it. But this is the Redskins. Right after the deadline passed, there was Bruce Allen reading a prepared statement about the offer they gave and the no response from the Cousins side. First that offer should not have been taken by Cousins. $53 million guaranteed sounds great until you realize that he is getting $24 million this year and at minimum $28 million next year. That is $52 million right there.
The Redskins wanted to have him under contract for five more years, but only two years guaranteed. Cousins would have been a fool for taking that deal. Some fans were saying that since it’s the “biggest” deal for a quarterback ever, he loves Washington so much then why are you being greedy Kirk? That is the game manager price for a quarterback.
However the most important line of the statement was the no counter offer from the Cousins camp. Is this true? If this is true then this is a horse of another color. Most negotiations start with both sides presenting an offer and going from there. The Redskins came to the table to play ball. Cousins did not. There was a rumor of the Cousins camp asking for $95 million guaranteed, which sent the fans off, but apparently either that wasn’t true or never was presented to the team. So that can only lead to two conclusions: 1. Kirk was waiting on the Redskins to back up the Brinks truck or 2. Cousins wants out of Washington.
Where do both sides go from here?
The 2017 Washington Redskins did not change at 4pm on Monday. Cousins is still the starter. They have a revamped defense and a younger offense with a lot of potential. They are coming off back-to-back winning seasons, which hasn’t happened around here in ages. The team seems stable, which is an accomplishment for this team.
However, the firing of Scot McCoughlin was weird at best and horrible at worst. Was he fired because of job performance or because he was drinking? That was a huge PR disaster. This Cousins saga on the back of the RG3 era is another one. However both sides need each other. Cousins is betting on himself having another great year. The Redskins are getting younger and deeper and hope Cousins is good but maybe not great. Next offseason becomes the problem from the Redskins. Cousins won’t go less than $28 million to start next year because he knows that’s what he would make on a third tag. He may just be driving up his price so he can get out of Washington.
San Fransisco is his desired location ( just remember his random visit to a Falcons playoff game with big fan Kyle Shanahan) Rams with Sean McVay could happen as well. The Browns would love him. So would the Jets. Cardinals too. So he has all the leverage. The Redskins were probably leery of giving a huge contract to someone they view as a game manager. They look to the north to the contract that the Ravens gave Joe Flacco after their Super Bowl run in 2012.
The Ravens haven’t looked the same since. Always built on defense, the Ravens have looked off since. So as we head into the 2017 season we are stuck where we were for the last two years. The Redskins look either cheap or don’t have faith in Cousins; Cousins looks greedy or likey he wants out. So Monday at 4pm on a lazy summer afternoon nothing has changed.