Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins have found themselves in a peculiar situation. It is a situation that has many variables, variables that make a simple decision a bit more complicated than some realize.
Over the next decade, the NFC East will be dominated by Dak Prescott in Dallas, and Carson Wentz in Philly. Eli Manning and his receiving corps will be a threat to the division for at least another five years, and the Redskins having the ability to trade punches with them is critical.
For the past two seasons, the Washington Redskins have had above average quarterback play at the position. It has led to records of 9-7 and 8-7-1, no playoff wins, and a continued refusal to sign/pay a permanent solution.
Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback. In 2016, he threw for 4917 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. These incredible stats led to an 8-7-1 record that required 4 game winning drives to achieve. That means his record could have easily been 4-11-1 had he not come through in the clutch. This fact isn’t meant to take away from the grit Cousins showed to win those games, it is meant to show what the Redskins’ front office looks at when they consider making him the highest paid player in NFL history.
The Future Is Worth More Than The Past
At this point in time, Kirk Cousins is the best option for the Washington Redskins, but he shouldn’t be paid “Andrew Luck” money. There is a flawed philosophy that believes the money that is paid to franchise quarterbacks is based on a body of work when in reality it is based on the prospect of things to come.
Derek Carr has never played in a playoff game and at the moment he is the highest paid player in the NFL. This money didn’t come because of his resume; it came because of the future success the Raiders see in him, and what losing him means to the franchise.
Many critics don’t see the same future in Cousins, and from the looks of things, neither do the Redskins, despite what president, Bruce Allen, may say.
Andrew Luck is the exception that proves the rule. He has gone 3-3 in playoff appearances and despite all the hype surrounding him and his career, he has yet to deliver a Super Bowl to Indianapolis. The Colts, however, see him as the future of their franchise, not because of what he’s done for them, but for what they hope he will do in the future. To Colts owner, Jim Irsay, this glimmer of hope is worth $140 million.
Holding All The Cards
As the situation stands today, Kirk Cousins is holding all the aces, which gives him an unbelievable advantage when the time comes to talk money next off-season. Cousins will play the 2017 season under his second franchise tag and will make just under $24 million. At the end of this season, he will be faced with a few options: he can walk (presumably to the 49ers or Rams), play under a third franchise tag in 2018 worth a fully-guaranteed $34.5 million, or get a long term deal with the Redskins.
The question that remains is: What’s important to Kirk Cousins? Is it money, or respect? Does the faith of his organization mean more than the money they pay him? Only time will tell.