Posted on July 10, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Washington Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins have just one week to agree to a long-term deal. Without a new deal in place, Cousins will play under the franchise player tag for a second straight year. Such a scenario will pay Cousins just under $24 million for the 2017 season. It will also leave the door open for him to leave Washington next offseason. The deadline to sign a new deal is July 17, and reports out of Washington are not optimistic that the quarterback will sign a long-term contract with the Redskins.
At the moment, neither side appears willing to back down from its stance. Washington made an offer of five years at $20 million per season earlier in the offseason. But that doesn’t appear to be enough for Cousins. After all, he made just under $20 million under the franchise tag last season. He’ll also make $24 million this year if he does nothing and plays 2017 as a franchise player.
Cousins also appears to have much of the power in negotiations. He’s already set up to make over $40 million between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Cousins is also likely to land a long-term deal if he hits the free agent market next year. If the Redskins can’t sign Cousins to a long-term deal, they may have to use the franchise tag for a third straight year at a cost of $34 million. Otherwise, Cousins could sign elsewhere, leaving the Redskins searching for a new quarterback.
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Clearly, Cousins has no reason to come down on his demands. Few quarterbacks with Cousins’ track record ever hit the open market. Even with so few teams in need of a franchise quarterback, there would still be great demand for Cousins on the free agent market. Most notably, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the Redskins offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted, may want to bring Cousins to San Francisco.
This puts all the pressure on the Redskins to offer Cousins a contract extension he can’t refuse. As of right now, there’s little to indicate Washington is prepared to make such an offer to Cousins. With Cousins showing no signs of giving Washington a hometown discount, it would take a substantial offer from the Redskins to convince Cousins to sign an extension.
For what it’s worth, recent comments from Cousins create some hope that he’ll agree to a deal with the Redskins. For instance, it may not be just about the money.
“I never want to play football thinking about money,” Cousins said last week. “I think that you get in trouble doing that.”
The quarterback says he’s going to let his agent handle the money side of things. Cousins also says that he’s most interested in winning.
“I’m with Washington this season regardless and can’t wait to get started,” said Cousins. “I want to win, that’s all that matters. Stats good, stats bad, let’s just win. I’ll trade good stats for wins any day so hopefully, we can put a lot of wins up this year and do something special.”
If Cousins wants to win, staying in Washington may be his best chance. Few teams in the market for a starting quarterback are in a position to win right away. Meanwhile, the Redskins have had a winning record with Cousins at the helm each of the past two seasons. It’s not hard to envision the Redskins continuing to compete for a playoff spot on a yearly basis as long as Cousins is in Washington.
That being said, there is little optimism from either side that a deal will get done. One week is more than enough time to hammer out an extension for Cousins. But time is running out. With each passing day, it’s becoming less and less likely that Cousins and the Redskins will agree to a new contract, and all the pressure appears to be on the side of the Redskins to get something done.