Every week this season, each NFL team site on the SB Nation network is reviewing the offseason decisions made—or not made. The question is: “Now that the season has begun to play out, what would your team do today if they could go back and change one move they made in the offseason? Would it instead be a move or addition they didn't make?
Ahhhhhhhh...a Redskins fan’s favorite game: jumping in a time machine and changing the past. Of all the questions/topics that occur with quasi-regularity in the world of sports talk, this is one I find that gets the most consistent answers from Redskins fans. If you ask a Redskins fan if he/she could go back in time and change one team-related event from the past you’ll get one of these two answers:
“I would make sure Dan Snyder never bought the team.”
“I would make sure Sean Taylor and his family were not in that house on that tragic night.”
I would estimate that—at minimum—90% of responses to this question in my time covering this team have been from that short list.
Today’s question is a bit more specific, as it relates to a mere handful of months ago. Most Redskins fans look at the manner in which this season is going down, and are somewhat pleased with the offseason preparations that got us here. For anyone that would answer, “Keep Pierre Garcon,” that simply isn’t/wasn’t an option. In addition to the very hard-to-match contract structure that San Francisco gave Pierre, the Redskins were forced to spend money on defense this offseason. Despite being a receiver that I think would be KILLING it for the Redskins this season, Garcon simply wasn’t coming back.
For a team coming off its first back-to-back winning seasons in about 20 years (yes, I’m still trotting that stat out), the offseason in Washington was surprisingly rocky (you know...the Offseason On the Brink). I mean, right away, the whole Scot “McLovin” McCloughan debacle comes to mind. I’ll tell you, as much as I hate the fact McLovin is gone, I don’t think that changing the decision to let him go would be as clean as it sounds. I am not the president, or even a member, of the Bruce Allen Fan Club, but if people can’t get along, change needs to occur. I don’t think forcing Bruce and McLovin into cohabitation would be good for the team—and Dan Snyder is nowhere near getting rid of Allen.
We can quibble over free agent pickups. Terrelle Pryor is not blowing anyone’s skirts up, but he has time still this season to earn his money, and it’s only a one-year deal anyway. The Irish Twins (Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain) haven’t taken the world by storm, but they are getting minutes and with Jonathan Allen out, we will see a lot more of them.
To me, if I could go back in time to the offseason, the one change I would make is pretty simple: I would have stroked the check necessary to lock Kirk Cousins up for years to come. Let’s set aside—for a moment—what we know about how Kirk has played this season. (He hasn’t been Joe Montana, but he has produced, and quite frankly, he has proven he is a top-flight starter in this league.)
Driving my decision to lock Kirk up would be these two simple facts:
- He’s the guy. This is the Jay and Kirk show. We have the trigger man that fits this offense perfectly, and it is becoming somewhat apparent that the pieces around Kirk (on offense) can change without a significant drop-off in production.
- QUARTERBACKS ONLY GET MORE EXPENSIVE.
Every time another quarterback signs a contract or extension, Kirk’s price goes up. This is not speculation. This is not my opinion. You don’t have to be a capologist or Adam Schefter to know this. The whole world knows which quarterbacks are coming up for extensions or coming up on free agency. I screamed this point out loud in 2015 when the Redskins likely could have locked up Kirk for $18 million a season. It is an organization’s prerogative to make players play for contracts, but when they do play for and earn the big money, you have to give it to them. As I said at the time this past offseason, $24 million is a fair price for Kirk Cousins this year. The Redskins aren’t getting ripped off. Still, avoiding the debacle that is sure to ensure next February when we are once again dealing with Kirk’s contract has value. Getting a deal with Cousins done ahead of some of the other mega-deals that have been signed, as well as the ones that are coming down the pike, DEFINITELY has value.
It’s worth noting that despite the ridiculous drama that the Redskins managed to manufacture this offseason, they really did some great roster work. It isn’t as easy as second-guessing the signing of a guy like Albert Haynesworth, or the decision to make Adam Archuleta the highest-paid safety...ever. It’s not as obvious as retracting the decision to jettison Stephen Davis, or the million times that Vinny Cerrato should have been fired.
I would have gotten the long-term deal done, but hairs are being split here, because technically, the team DID get a deal done. The problem is that it sets up the team to make a far more costly deal with Kirk than it needed to be...but one I would still do if I were the Redskins.