Washington Redskins must approach Kirk Cousins deal as long-term or bust
By Ian Cummings
A long-term deal with Kirk Cousins is possible, but if the Washington Redskins can’t pull it off, or don’t want to pull it off, then they can’t play pretend.
The offseason is young, and already, much has been made of what Kirk Cousins has said. Just one week ago, Cousins held a community forum with Redskins fans, and in that discussion, he reiterated his desire to remain a Redskin.
The comment was a nice gesture, but many treated it as a declaration of his intentions. The same reaction was also observed yesterday, when a report surfaced that Cousins would strongly consider playing in Cleveland, if given the opportunity.
While each of these statements garnered lots of reaction, in differing ways, it’s important to note that both statements are things we already knew. And both statements are things that Cousins has said before.
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In a world where all offers are equal, yes, Cousins would stay with the Redskins. Why not? The offense is tailored to him, and he knows the scheme well, having started three straight years. Continuity breeds prosperity in the NFL, and Cousins knows this.
At the same time, Cousins would be foolish not to consider all his options in free agency. And because the Browns have ample cap room, they would be able to outbid most, were the oft-anticipated Cousins sweepstakes to occur.
The Washington Redskins can still sign Cousins to a deal, if they are willing to come to terms with the mistakes they’ve made in years past. They had several opportunities to lock up Cousins, and each time, they came up short. His contract this year, if he had signed long-term in 2015, would be a bargain.
A sparsely-brought up fact is that, were Cousins to be signed long-term this year, in 2020, the same effect would occur. The market is always growing, and each year, the allotted cap space for a given team increases. If the Redskins lock Cousins down now, in his prime, they can set themselves up well for the future.
If a deal can’t be reached, however, the Washington Redskins can’t keep wasting time. Either tag him and trade him, transition him and let the offers come in, or simply let him test the market that beckons for him. Another tag through the course of 2018 would have a crippling effect on the roster, and Cousins, with his leverage exhausted, would undoubtedly be gone in 2019.
Next: Revisiting the situation of Redskins backup QB Colt McCoy
The Redskins can’t compete with the circumstances they themselves have cultivated. No matter what, the Redskins need to gather some clarity on their own future this offseason. Will Kirk Cousins be the man for 2018 and beyond? Or will he be gone? There is no ‘year by year’ anymore. It’s the future, or it’s never. Long-term, or not at all. The Redskins can’t afford anything else.