For the past two years now we have heard several rumors about how someone in the Redskins brass is not that impressed by Kirk Cousins. This view regarding perceived value of the QB position, specifically of Cousins the player, has now caused the implementation of two franchise tags with no long term deal in sight. There is a lot to hash out if you believe everything you read. HogsHaven writers specifically James Dorsett have already made the common sense case for keeping Cousins and signing him to a record breaking deal would not mean hindering the team in articles and in comments. Obviously, the opinion of many in the fan base is Cousins is an integral part of the team. He has led the team to success two years in the row and has posted personal bests along with franchise records. Cousins is home grown and waited his turn. It wasn’t always pretty but we have watched him grow and develop into a borderline top 10 QB if he isn’t already.
This poses questions which are the meat of this article. This first of which is: What is the disconnect between the front office and the value regarding Cousins?
After 2014, I was completely on board with the front office taking the cautious approach regarding a Cousins extension after his rookie deal was scheduled to end. At that time Cousins had only played well for around half a season and there were still questions about him as a player regarding his level of consistency and big play ability. Cousins came out in 2015 as the starter and put together a heck of a season which lead to a playoff appearance for the team. In my opinion, the front office rightly placed the tag on him. We had to see if he could do it for a whole season. He did.
Cousins proceeded to put up personal bests and a franchise record for passing yards during the 2016 season. The team missed the playoffs by a single win but most of us at this point are convinced that the team has its QB of the future. So what was the issue in not getting a long term deal done at this stage? Cousins has demonstrated he can play at a high level and lead a team. Derek Carr has also set a baseline price with his new deal, and you have even more guidance on the guaranteed dollars using the price of the first two tags combined. In the NFL, the QB is the highest paid position by far and there shouldn't be any pipe dreams about what a good one is worth by a front office. Cousins has also plainly said that he wants to be here uttering the words “it's good to feel believed in” and “why would I want to be anywhere else” in press conferences and interviews among other instances
Two common theories have been a mix between Cousins’ camp has been asking for too much money or that Bruce Allen is the unnamed official who has expressed less than 100% confidence in Cousins. I dismiss the former because that argument is framed in the context of Cousins wanting to go to Free Agency to find out his worth. Franchise QBs rarely hit the free agent market, in fact, it's borderline unheard of in the modern era of the NFL. Most of them happily sign an extension with their current team and want to avoid any contentious interactions and complexity. In addition to that, it would be foolish of Cousins to keep betting on himself via one-year deals as anything can happen and potentially reduce his value.
From all my comments on the matter you know I believe it's the latter. Bruce Allen has an enormous amount of power within the Redskins organization. As President and returning GM every decision that gets made at Redskins Park goes through him. Of course, I’m just a guy. I have no proof other than what makes sense to me. But I believe Bruce Allen is the only party able and willing to hold up a deal of this magnitude.
I say that because the rumor of someone in the front office not having full confidence persisted after former GM Scot McCloughan was fired. I say it because there is next to a 0% chance Coach Jay Gruden cares what his QB makes. It's also clear that Jay does, in fact, have full confidence in Cousins as we know he was a catalyst for making the switch from Griffin III to Cousins in the first place. Here comes the fun part. A few months ago it was reported by several outlets that Kirk Cousins would not sign a long term deal with Washington as long as Bruce Allen was the GM. That is a pretty wild rumor to be made up out of thin air.
You could argue that Cousins should suck it up and play for a boss that, if the rumor is true, he is not very fond of but Cousins plays in a privileged line of work where effectively he can choose his boss and his salary. I think the result this evening gives more credence to that rumor. Do you believe Bruce Allen made a push to sign Kirk Cousins to a long term deal? My answer is no I don't believe it for a second.
I need not remind people that Allen is no talent evaluator and has been the architect of more bad deals for the franchise than he has good during his tenure with the team. Why should we have confidence that he has done everything he could to lock up the most important piece of the team?