- I imagine I wasn’t the only disappointed Redskins fan when the games ended yesterday. (How can the season be over, but I still have that “disappointed Redskins fan” feeling after a day of football?) I don’t believe any of us pulled for the Eagles last night against the Vikings, and I know I sure wasn’t cheering for the Patriots over the Jaguars. That means the Super Bowl just got pretty terrible. I know we will all watch, because that is what we do, but I am going to have to work overtime to discover the joy in this game.
- I think this is an interesting question to pose to the group: As a Redskins fan, which Super Bowl team do you dislike more? I mean, I never thought I would look at a Philadelphia game and ask this question. I really, really don’t like the Eagles, but I am so done with the Patriots, it is starting to wear on my psyche. At the end of the day, I feel like this will be one of those games where I root hard against Philly, without really pulling for the Pats.
- I found it interesting that the television announcers (and everyone on Twitter) spent far less time yesterday openly wondering if Kirk Cousins would be the quarterback for the Jaguars next season. Do I think Kirk Cousins is a better quarterback than Blake Bortles? Yes I do. Do I think the Jaguars will be overly eager to jettison the guy who just helmed their offense to the AFC Championship game? I don’t. I grant you that Tom Coughlin will be on the lookout for ways to improve his squad, but I have a hard time seeing him specifically making Kirk Cousins the highest-paid player in the league. I could be wrong, of course. Either way, people on this site know I think highly of Bortles (to my own detriment), so I am penciling him in as the starter in week one next season. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other teams that will come calling for Kirk.
- As we laid out last week on The Audible, the evolution of the Kirk Cousins argument/debate in Redskins Nation has twisted me around a bit. While there are some that still quibble over whether or not Kirk is deserving of top dollar, I think the rest of us know we are past that—quarterbacks are paid what the market is when they become available. Stats and timing is what matters when a passer hits the market...and Kirk’s numbers warrant him getting the money. If it won’t be from us, it will be from someone else. My top priority remains keeping him in our organization and continuing to try and build a roster around him. I do think the team will find themselves in position to add playmakers in both free agency and out of the draft. Obviously, the draft would give us the more affordable player(s), but even after giving Kirk his money, the Redskins will not be prevented from finding and paying for talent. Saying we can’t pay KC and build around him is a false argument—it comes down to drafting well. Saying you’re concerned that Bruce Allen is the one making the draft decisions...well, that is fair.
- At this point, my Kirk Cousins stance is as follows: We make a genuine effort to sign him to a long-term deal before having to make a tag decision (key word here is genuine). If there is no deal before the tag must be placed, we put the franchise tag on our quarterback, guaranteeing him $34 million for one season of play. The Redskins should aggressively pursue the LTD with Kirk for a solid month or so, certainly well into March, and perhaps the beginning of April. If the team is convinced that Kirk is more likely to play the season on the one-year deal than agree to terms with the Redskins for a five-year deal or so, the team should work to trade him before the draft. We know there are at least a handful of teams that are interested in Kirk, and they would be interested in paying him what the market wants to pay him. Because there are multiple teams that would be delighted to add Cousins to their squad, it stands to reason that the Redskins could be in position to net a top draft pick or two, which we can only get by using the franchise tag up front. Many of you might be saying, “Yeah, but how high would you go to get a long-term deal done?” I would simply suggest that the quarterback market is not a mystery. There are recent deals out there on which to price a top-tier player like Kirk, and that is the kind of money he is going to get. I am not worried about it being an extra $2-$3 million than the BEST/OPTIMAL number. Hell, we paid Terrelle Pryor $8 million on a one-year deal and we all stood up and applauded. I think we know what we are getting in Kirk Cousins and if we can lock him up for another five years at market rate, I am all in. If we can’t lock him down, have no fear: the phone will be ringing off the hook.
- I don’t think the Redskins are in position to be the team that pays Kirk Cousins $34 million for one year. Despite the front office turmoil last offseason, Washington actually did draft well (thanks, McLovin!) and the roster is younger and more talented in the middle and bottom portions than it has been in the past. We would be hard-pressed to declare that the Redskins’ window for winning a championship closes after next season, so the need to so drastically overpay for one year of Kirk Cousins doesn’t seem to exist. I was perfectly happy to pay Kirk the tag each of the last two seasons, because I didn’t believe we were overpaying for a quarterback of his abilities. At $34 million, I think we would be overpaying and that the team would be better off netting an additional first round pick or more in this upcoming draft, continuing to build out its core of talent, and finding another player to build around at the quarterback position. It hurts to suggest that, but my love of #8 is not so irrational that I would advocate a path forward that I think would derail what looks to be a solid rebuild up and down the roster. Finally, to Tim’s point all along, as much control as the Redskins have, Kirk will be pulling most—if not all—of the strings. The Redskins can not allow themselves to be held hostage by a player that may ultimately have no desire to sign the long-term deal here. It’s #realtalk time! If the team plays this correctly, I think the next three to five seasons hold tons of promise for the fans regardless of outcome (irregardless, even). For the moment—and only for the moment—I will conveniently ignore our track record of “playing this correctly.”
The offseason is in full swing for the Redskins...and now the Vikings and Jaguars too! Queue the quarterback questions!