But Cousins' contract was up at a good time for him -- with the salary cap rising this season and in 2017 -- and at a tough time for the Redskins. Of Cousin's 25 career regular-season starts, 16 came in 2015. Before the final 10 games last season, Cousins had been inconsistent. Down the stretch, however, Cousins led the Redskins to an NFC East title, throwing 23 touchdowns and only two interceptions. For the season, he threw 29 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
There's risk for both sides, but the Redskins would rather overpay Cousins after two good seasons than have buyer's remorse after one. Cousins would rather bet on himself than accept an offer that for the average person is like hitting the lottery a few times over, but is not close to what it could be for him in the future -- or came close to what Osweiler received. You can easily state a case that both sides are right.
The trap is designed to take away one of the most common two-receiver route combinations. The receiver marked number one runs a go route, intending to take Breeland deep and clear space for the slot receiver. That slot receiver, marked number two, runs an out route into the space created by the outside receiver. To counter this, Washington has Breeland read the number two receiver and break on him if he cuts outside. If that happens, the safety has to account for number one, staying on top of him all the way.
Kirk Cousins wasn't an obvious Big Ten prospect in high school. He wasn't especially big, wasn't notably fast and didn't have the sure-fire pedigree of a future star. So when his high school coach, Tim Lont, began talking with the quarterback about his future, Lont's initial thoughts were modest. Maybe Cousins could go to nearby Division III Hope College, his coach's alma mater. If that didn't work out, there was Division II Grand Valley State. Or, if Cousins wanted to dream big, there were Mid-American Conference schools like Western Michigan and Central Michigan.
Almost more importantly, though, was the amount of guaranteed money. Cousins' nearly $20 million for 2016 is fully guaranteed, and if he gets franchised again next season, that would be a fully guaranteed $24 million. Based on that, former NFL agents said that $44 million would be a baseline for guaranteed money in any multi-year contract. Former Redskins and Texans GM Charley Casserly, speaking to CSN, suggested the Cousins camp would want somewhere around $50 million guaranteed.