Quarterback Kirk Cousins has never felt the security a number one guy should have gotten. He’s been the starter for the Washington Redskins for three seasons, but the team has shown little confidence in him long term.
He started all 48 games in those three seasons, throwing for 13,176 yards, 81 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions. He’s finished with at least 4,000 yards passing and 25 passing touchdowns in each of those years. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2016, and has finished top eight in passing yards for the last two seasons (12th in 2015). I guess that wasn’t enough to warrant long term stability in his contract.
For the last two seasons Cousins has been tagged by the Redskins to retain his rights. First a transition tag in 2016 which gave the team the right of first refusal of an offer if another team tried to sign him away. He then signed a one year, $19.9 million deal. Compensation under the transition tag is an average of the top ten players of any particular position.
This season Cousins played under the exclusive franchise tag which means he could only negotiate with the Redskins. About two weeks after being tagged he signed a one year $23.9 million deal to continue as Washington’s signal caller.
All these formalities in lieu of signing him long term. If we are being serious, Kirk Cousins has never been Washington’s first overall option. Remember he was taken in round four of the 2012 draft to be a safety net to former first round pick Robert Griffin III. He wasn’t even drafted as a the team’s future, so why would they commit to him?
Sadly the writing is on the wall for Cousins as he found out he won’t be the answer in Washington. Reports late Tuesday night have the Kansas City Chiefs sending Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith to Washington in a rather shocking move. Not only have the Redskins acquired Smith, but they also will extend his contract four years worth around $90 million. The kind of long term deal Cousins worked hard to receive himself.
Kirk Cousins will be a hot commodity as a free agent. Teams like the Denver Broncos and New York Jets would be happy to put him at the forefront of their offense. Finally, after all these years, Cousins can play the lead role with the full backing of an organization, something the Redskins didn’t provide.