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Cousins’ 2016 price tag likely in $13-$17 million range

Dec 17, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

Cousins-at-line-vs-Saints

Although it probably won’t happen until sometime this spring, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is going to get paid.

Yes, he is either a work in progress or a flawed player, depending on what point of view you take. Or perhaps it’s a bit of both. Regardless, in the NFL even unfinished and/or imperfect quarterbacks can make a lot of money.

Cousins will be a free agent at the end of the season and assuming he starts the remaining three games this year he could be a rarity. Quarterbacks who started 16 games the previous season rarely hit the free agent market.

Because of that and the fact that Cousins has just one full season as a starter under his belt his value is hard to figure out, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry. He wrote a long, detailed look at what Cousins’ next contract might look like. And, because of the variables involved, he finds it hard to come up with anything definitive.

One possibility is for Cousins to get a traditional free agent contract that covers four or five years. Corry says that Cousins’ passing numbers are comparable to those of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Alex Smith of the Chiefs. They are in the middle of contracts that average $17.6 million and $17 million per year, respectively.

The difference is that Stafford and Smith both had much longer track records as starters before signing their contracts. The Redskins may not be willing to commit that much to Cousins based on one season as the starter.

That is where a contract like the one Nick Foles signed with the Rams earlier this year could come into play. The deal was for two years and $24.5 million with $13.7 million fully guaranteed. There are incentives for both personal goals (like Pro Bowl appearances) and team success (such as playoff wins) that can add up to $4.5 million per year to the deal.

A deal like that would allow the Redskins to continue to evaluate Cousins while giving the player an opportunity to further establish himself and increase his earning power in a future contract he would sign in a couple of years before the age of 30. Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney might want a higher floor and higher ceiling

One option that Corry puts out there is the franchise tag for 2016. If Cousins has a strong finish to the season the Redskins might think of tagging him if they can’t come to a deal by the tag deadline in late February. That would give Cousins a $19.7 million salary for 2016. The two teams would have until mid-July to work out a longer-term contract or Cousins would play out the year with the tag and that guaranteed salary.

The Redskins will have the cap room to do it but they would rather not. That gives them incentive to make a deal sooner rather than later, well before the free agent market opens up in March. From Cousins’ perspective, it would be a nice payday for one year but there would be no security in place.

Cousins could be tempted to explore the market but quarterback movement in the free agent market is rare in part because QBs like to stay in the system that made them successful. That doesn’t mean Cousins won’t go elsewhere and he is unlikely to give any sort of a hometown discount to the Redskins. But if McCartney thinks that a deal on the table is a good one, there is a good chance that Cousins will sign it.

There are still a lot of variables in play and there are still three important regular season games and possibly one or more playoff games to go in January. But the best guess right now is that Cousins stays in Washington and gets a three-year deal with the third year voidable with a base average of $13-$14 million per year with another $3-$4 million in incentives.

  1. jtaylor68 - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    Just get it done already. Unless someone can put up a “legit” plan B, Kirk is our best option and he has earned it in my opinion.

    • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Both sides want to wait and there still is the crash and burn scenario that some think would put a fork in the coach and QB when it more likely keeps Cousins in the $10-$12M range instead. Despite some opinions that it all coach and QB there are obvious improvements across the team – especially in the areas of youth and player development.

  2. bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    Great work Rich! Thanks for including the link as well. The only thing missing is the {I believe bangkokben had this} remark at the end of the story. ;) I’m kidding. Let’s see how the next four games play out. (Yes, I think they will host a wild card game – for anyone who questions my ability to count.) Then we can watch the tension between the lack of starting experience as well as the comparisons to Matt Flynn and Scott Mitchell vs. the dearth of starting caliber quarterbacks.

  3. ericstylezz - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Wouldn’t have as much of a problem if he was a bigger qb. With our OL starting to slack lately Sunday could be a violent day and he took a good pounding last week. Can’t deny his 6 W’s this year but i won’t be a believer until he wins more big games. We have 3 coming up

    • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Cousins is 6’3″ and has that Eli Manning trait of not liking contact. Injury will not be a consideration.

      • sidepull - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        He has not missed a game due to injury. There is something to be said for that. Durability = Availability.

    • Skulb - Dec 17, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Wins and losses are not all on him though.This isn’t Brett Favre not knowing what a nickel D is and fumbling seven times in his first game, only to go on to the Superbowl with his hillbilly mannerisms three years later. That happens once and can not be replicated. Most QBs are system guys and depend on the team around them. And Kirk hasn’t had all his pieces on offense on a consistent basis in 2015. The lack of Jackson early on as well as two games without both Jackson and Reed on the field are a particular thing to keep in mind when evaluating Kirk here.

      Given how he approaches the game and how durable he seems to be I feel pretty confident that as the team improves he will improve. And the team will improve this offseason. I think Scot McCloughan has demonstrated that he does not rest on his roster building for a second. Give him one more draft and I think this team could light up the NFC East next season, if nothing else. And you need Cousins in the middle of that after what he has shown this season. And then the big wins will come. Hell they might even come this season. It isn’t over yet.

  4. shermanp79 - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    If you have a franchise QB the money is worth it but 17m for a guy still growing seems like too much. I would try to get a short deal done in that 13m range. If he turns into our guy long term, you can sign him to a big deal. The team has been good with contracts so they will figure it out. I think Cousins will want his money but will be reasonable. He drives an old van, he is a humble guy. He is smart too, knowing he needs help and those guys need to get paid too. He has shown growth but how much more can he grow and expand his game? Why they give him that short 2 yr deal, they could even do another after next year if his play expands and improves enough. I don’t think the franchise tag comes into play. I think Cousins wants to stay here, along with being reasonable a deal gets done pretty quickly. They have enough deals to look at, even if they give a longer deal but with an out for team in 3 years.

  5. sidepull - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    I think they need to see how this season finale plays out. We are going to get a good idea of how this guy approaches these must have games with the season on the line. Going forward, he needs to lead this team to victory. He needs to put this team on his shoulders and roll. I know, its a team effort but how about paying for some leadership at crunch time? Its all meaningless unless we can see this guy extend plays, get the ball to the playmakers, limit the game killer turnovers, and advance the Redskins agenda of getting into the playoffs. Play now. Pay later.

    • skinsdiehard - Dec 17, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Winning or losing the division title is not just on Cousins. I think the defense is a weaker link than Cousins. Wherever DeAngelo Hall plays, he is a weakness. Look at last week when he attempted a feable tackle on Forte’s TD run. Or how he failed to cover the TE Miller on another TD. Or the soft coverage that he has become known for on 3rd downs. Will Blackmon is a weak spot too at CB. The defense is very susceptible in my opinion and can derail the whole thing. Joe Barry is allergic to blitzing or pressure defense. So, it’s likely that they won’t be able to stop Tyrod Taylor or Philly next week.

      • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 2:47 PM

        Joe Barry is 1-0 against Philly holding them to just 20 points. Tyrod Taylor? The guy is a fantastic athlete playing super for the Bills but is he Cam Newton? No. He might not even be Jay Cutler. Allergic Joe Barry has limited the last two opponents to 40 points – 14 of which started inside our own 20. Sure, I like to put more pressure on the QB but I’ll take the defense that has been averaging 14 points a game in the last three – minus the drives beginning in our redzone.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 17, 2015 at 3:00 PM

        The issue with us blitzing is it has worked out so poorly for us this year.

        I haven’t seen a link lately, but I do recall seeing one earlier that showed our opponent’s QB rating being absurdly high when we blitz.
        ~

        • ajbus1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 6:45 PM

          I saw the same stat. As weird as it may seem, QBs are better against us when we blitz.

  6. renhoekk2 - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    They can come up with whatever scenario they want. My guess is Cousins and his agent will be looking for a Ryan Tannehill type deal. 4yr deal, $19M/yr $45M guaranteed.

  7. warpath1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    I think cousins would love to play qb for a team not owned by Dan Snyder with the way this team was run the previous 3 years, so it might cost more to keep him here. Hope not!! The combination coach, quarterback seems to be producing and improving. Pay him and let Scot continue to add productive players that clock in and do work. This will look very good in 3 years. Otherwise we will spend another 5 years rebuilding

  8. troylok - Dec 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    The history books are full of teams that overpaid a quarterback based on a one year performance. I’d get him for the lowest one year committal, load the one year with incentives, and then have an option on subsequent years. That would give them another year to see if he’s the real deal. In the mean time, the Redskins need to draft a QB. I don’t suggest they burn a first rounder for a position that might solidify a little more this year, but maybe a day two pick in the draft that needs a little polishing. On top of that, they need to sign a veteran for injury insurance and a player that can also help as a coach on the field.

    • warpath1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      why would he sign a one year deal when another team will sign him to a longer one?

    • sidepull - Dec 17, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      And Scots history was to land Matt Flynn to compete with then starter T Jackson in Seattle. Flynn got something like 20 mill and 9 guaranteed in 2012, the same year he hit the jackpot and drafted Wilson. That was one for the history books right?

      • ajbus1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 6:47 PM

        So your sayin he signs Kurt and drafts the next Russel WIlson?

  9. 226thebeatdontstop - Dec 17, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Cousins is not a 19 million dollar quarterback even pundits of him have to face reality. He has had one ok season, he has not led this team to the playoffs yet an the team is still below .500.

    To make franchise money this guy must demonstrate he can rally and lead the team in the playoffs winning at minimum 2:games.. He is strictly a system guy an everything must go according to script, off script be has not demonstrated he can win .He has also never won more then one game in a row.

    Don’t over pay for this guy , please…

    • colmac69 - Dec 17, 2015 at 12:37 PM

      Doubt he get franchise money……deal rich mentioned maybe realistic…depend on market for him and what value others place on him

      Whatever happens he gonna make decent money either here or elsewhere….

      Hopefully he signs a reasonable contract here….team is only going to get better and I believe he will improve along with team

      If he goes elsewhere for more money then no one can blame him…quite a few teams looking for decent qb

    • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      There is no chance he gets the franchise amount and there is no chance the Redskins will “overpay for this guy.” The franchise tag is there in case they can’t get a deal done by February. They may have to use the tag but that will be to get more time for a deal. Cousins will at least $20M in guarantees so putting the tag on him isn’t an issue for the team or Cousins – just a time extender. The Redskins now have keen personnel that not only know the market values but know how to arrange a contract around those values that best helps the team.

      As for this concept of overpaying. Can you overpay for a Toyota Corolla? Of course, you can. Can you over pay for a Lamborghini? No. The thing costs what it costs and even though it is an outrageous amount of money, if you don’t want one, don’t buy one. The same goes for starting quarterbacks. They cost an outrageous amount of money because there are only about 18 in a 32-team league and if you want one, you have to pay the price. It doesn’t matter if the starting quarterback was originally an undrafted free agent (Tony Romo), a 6th rounder (Tom Brady), or a 1st rounder (Matt Stafford). When they reach the level of starter, they get paid like a starter. And if you don’t want one because you don’t like the price, you can keep drafting one and pay them the slotted rookie salary or you can dabble into the journeymen QB market.

      Starting QBs cost $13M and up. Cousins likely falls into $13-$17M/season. This is not a surprise to the team or league. The question is whether one season is enough to make the commitment to Cousins (how ever long that is will be clear in the contract.) For the Redskins, with this coach and this system the answer is yes. For another team, with another coach, and a different system; the answer is less certain. Collin Kaepernick recently got a big contract but San Francisco can get out of it at the end of the season with little ramifications. Any team that signs Cousins will likely have a similar structure. The best way to tell how many years the team that signs Cousins is committed to him is the take the guaranteed millions and divide by 10. For instance $20 million in guarantees is a two year organization commitment; $40M, four years.

      • smotion55 - Dec 18, 2015 at 4:40 PM

        very good breakdown, Cousins has gotten better and his receivers are healthy . I am for a 3 year deal=he has weathered some real Stupid Stuff for better than 3 years and now given the chance to play I like this much better than the alternatives. He should make what RG3 was to make.

    • therealistcat - Dec 18, 2015 at 7:27 AM

      Excellent breakdown! Its obvious Jay wants his guy to look like a rockstar decision to bench the guy that didn’t fit his system. With all that being said, I am not super impressed with Kirk simply because he has been given the keys to the kingdom with super easy reads, and he has produced an average season at best. The team currently sits at the bottom of the pack in yards per catch. Scot M would be a fool to give him above average money and certainly not a long term deal. In fact, I wouldn’t sign him for more than one year for sure. And yes I would keep Griffin; he’s too young to give up on and has proven to be a winner when healthy and operating in a productive situation; scheme, coach, blocking, and overall team support. Based on his life and activities off the field I don’t think he is the Diva that others have tried to make him out to be.

  10. brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    Have been thinking he should get something in the Nick Foles range for quite some time now, especially considering that extension was given to Foles after he had a top-notch, 119 rating, Pro Bowl season. It was a nice deal for a one time performance.

    Sure, he hasn’t much earned it since then, but that’s often the case with NFL QB salaries — especially guys who have such a limited body of work. (Unless they had blown the lid off the league, of course — which no one would say Cuz has done. Would they?!) So there’s gonna be some risk. Just gotta find a way to hedge it.

    Sweeten that deal with a few reasonable incentives also, and then see if that dog will hunt.

    (And it almost goes without saying — but not quite, obviously ;^} — that comparing Cuz to Smith & Stafford is kinda misleading, for like Rich wrote, Alex & Matt have shown above average ability to on multiple occasions. Only once Kirk has done that — even once — can we make valid comparisons. Gotta wonder, too, if any of the three teams would trade their guy for either of the other two? Any guesses on that?)

    • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      The Redskins aren’t hiring Cousins off the street and they aren’t making changes to their offense or coaches. These are the variables that can alleviate the “one-year-only” fear. If say Cleveland, Houston, or San Francisco wanted to sign Cousins there would be legitimate concerns of whether Cousins could duplicate his success.

      • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        Sure, but then the Eagles extended Foles, who I’m comparing Cuz to, with the knowledge that he’d be in the same system with the same coach, and it STILL didn’t last more than a year before they parted ways – and stuck someone else with that bad contract. No matter what the Eagles hopes dreams and aspirations for Foles was, the love affair didn’t continue. My original premise stays the same — its very risky giving an unproven QB a big contract. (Just make sure that not TOO much of it is guaranteed.)

        (Btw, ben, I guess when evaluating an NFL QB “success” is a relative term, huh? ;^} )

        • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 3:46 PM

          The Eagles didn’t extend Foles. They traded him to the Rams who extended him.

        • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 3:56 PM

          Success IS relative. If you need franchise records though, you’ve got that. Most games starting a season with a TD pass (13), 300-yard passing games (5), Completions, etc.

          As for Foles from Over The Cap
          “Nick Foles signed a two year contract extension worth $24.5 million with the Rams on August 8, 2015. Foles received $12.02 million in fully guaranteed salary upon signing the contract and a total of $13.7 million in guaranteed salary. The guarantee is made up of $5 million in bonus money in 2015, his 2015 base salary, and a $6 million roster bonus due in 2016. Foles can earn up to $4.5 million in performance incentives and can void his contract in 2017 based on playing time and performance.”

          Teams don’t trade QBs with recent contracts. The are cap consequences.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:26 PM

          True there should be some interest for Kirk from those teams, but with some caveats.

          Don’t forget that there will be a few more QBs available than just him; Fitzpatrick & Bradford both stand to be FAs, Kaepernick, Griffin & Foles will probably be on the market (and there’s even scuttlebutt that guys like Brees & Rivers may be ready to move — or BE moved — on.) It’s hard to say for sure that the teams you listed will love Cousin Kirk better than those other QB options (especially depending on his price tag — as well as what kinda QB those teams are looking for), or that they will jones for him more than GRUDEN does … which obviously is fiercely! (Cuz has Gru “tickled to death”, I read!)

          Now, Cleveland. The Browns have had several cracks at Cuz in the past with only very tepid interest. And while I’m pretty sure that interest is greater now, everything you here from there lately (VERY lately, that is!) is that Johnny Football is on the radar again as the possible future of the Browns. (But there ARE still 3 weeks left in the season so that could change). If so, I don’t think they will be spending a LOT for Manziel’s fallback option.

          Finally … the Rams. Not so sure that they wanna give another larger-than-Foles’ contract to any unproven QB, especially after their recent “Foles Fiasco”.

          No, I think the Skins and Cousin Kirk will come to an agreement … and that he really doesn’t want to go elsewhere anyway. He’s gotta see things are moving in the right direction at Redskins Park. Dollars to donuts they find a number that all parties are satisfied with.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:30 PM

          “The Eagles didn’t extend Foles. They traded him to the Rams who extended him.

          Excellent pick up, ben!

          Appreciate the heads up!!

    • renhoekk2 - Dec 17, 2015 at 2:28 PM

      There will be other teams interested in Cousins. CLE, HOU, STL, SF come to mind. It’s not far fetched to think at least one of them will offer something more than a Foles type deal. I think that is what a lot of Skins fans are not accounting for. It’s not just what is he worth to the Skins, but what is his going market rate. And if they choose not to pay going market rate, then what? McCoy and a rookie project? Is that progress?

      • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:17 PM

        True there should be some interest for Kirk from those teams, but with some caveats.

        Don’t forget that there will be a few more QBs available than just him; Fitzpatrick & Bradford both stand to be FAs, Kaepernick, Griffin & Foles will probably be on the market (and there’s even scuttlebutt that guys like Brees & Rivers may be ready to move — or BE moved — on.) It’s hard to say for sure that the teams you listed will love Cousin Kirk better than those other QB options (especially depending on his price tag — as well as what kinda QB those teams are looking for), or that they will jones for him more than GRUDEN does … which obviously is fiercely! (Cuz has Gru “tickled to death”, I read!)

        Now, Cleveland. The Browns have had several cracks at Cuz in the past with only very tepid interest. And while I’m pretty sure that interest is greater now, everything you here from there lately (VERY lately, that is!) is that Johnny Football is on the radar again as the possible future of the Browns. (But there ARE still 3 weeks left in the season so that could change). If so, I don’t think they will be spending a LOT for Manziel’s fallback option.

        Finally … the Rams. Not so sure that they wanna give another larger-than-Foles’ contract to any unproven QB, especially after their recent “Foles Fiasco”.

        No, I think the Skins and Cousin Kirk will come to an agreement … and that he really doesn’t want to go elsewhere anyway. He’s gotta see things are moving in the right direction at Redskins Park. Dollars to donuts they find a number that all parties are satisfied with.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:28 PM

          Aww shoot … I posted that overstuffed manifesto TWICE!!

          Sorry fellas!

  11. bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    The good news about the cost for keeping Cousins next year is that it was already budgeted into the team’s plans. Of course the name on the back and the number on the jersey are different.

    • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      Haha! Good one!

      But that deal was just for one year. How long should Cuz’s deal be for? How much guaranteed?

      Now if it’s for a few years and the average yearly number is around $17mill (that’s what they extended RG for, right?) with only a quarter to a third guaranteed, I think that would be fair. But to START at 17, and then go UP … too much.

      • bangkokben - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:13 PM

        Fair. Schmair. What does fair have to do with anything? The price for a starting QB is $17M. ALL of Griff’s 2016 salary was guaranteed, wasn’t it? All for injury at least. The escalator was so there was something on the books while they worked out a long-term deal. It is quite different. Cousins will get about $10M in total guarantees for however many seasons the Redskins are willing to commit to him as a project. It might be for the end of Gruden’s contract. $3oM Guaranteed with cap hit’s of $13, $15, $17M, $19M, $21M. That’s a $85M contract over 5 years with $3oM in total guarantees and probably another $15M in incentives. It sounds huge but in essence it’s a three year deal. After two years if Cousins and Gruden are performing well, Gru will get an extension and Cousins will be on the books for the low end of starter money.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 4:44 PM

          $30 million (10 per year?) guaranteed –out of a possible $85M? About 1/3.

          $15M in incentives? I like incentive-laden contracts.

          Sounds fair to me! Sign him.

          Btw, ben, thanks for mentioning the RG’s contract was fully guaranteed — but ONLY for injury! Others mighta left that important little factoid out. But we can depend on you for honesty.

          Because we all know what that extension will ACTUALLY be worth; zip, Zilch, NADA!

          Bupkis. Just a boot in the @$$ as he’s been thrown out the back door.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 6:51 PM

          And just tying up a few loose ends here, ben.

          At 4:13 you wrote that “The price for a starting QB is $17M”, but at 1:47 you had posted “Starting QBs cost $13M and up”. Gun to your head, which one in your opinion actually is it? Or did it jump $4,000,000 in 2 1/2 hours? ;^}

          Not trying to get snarky with ya ben, or bust chops (I’ll save that for others much more deserving of it! LOL! Yer one of the good ones.), just trying to get to a “realistic” number for Cousins. (I won’t say “fair”, cuz then you’ll say “fair schmair”, the I’ll misread it and ask “Schmeer? Where can I get one for my bagel?”, and on and on we’ll go!!)

          I say start from $13M, then up to 17, then maybe 20 — if they wanna keep him round. But starting him at 17M??!! Risky.

        • bangkokben - Dec 18, 2015 at 7:51 AM

          Fair question Bruce. Here is a link: http://overthecap.com/position/quarterback

          The average per year cap hit for a veteran starting quarterback with at least two years of starting experience is between $16M-$22M. There are about 18 guys on that list. Tom Brady would be on that list but has taken less money for the team and the fact that his wife makes $35M/year helps a little too. The next two guys are Foles and Bradford at the $12-$13M range. Theses are guys that soured with their original teams and didn’t have two full years starting due to injury. Bradford may still be on his pre-rookie cap salary as well. Then after these two are guys on their rookie contract or journeymen. Cousins because of his single season as a starter will likely start at the Foles/Bradford area, but I do think the average will be around $17M/year. I gave the example of $85M over 5 years.

        • ajbus1 - Dec 17, 2015 at 6:54 PM

          I think that deal sounds about right ben.

    • Derrick Motley - Dec 17, 2015 at 7:08 PM

      He throw alot screen passing I give him 3 million a year that’s what he worth.IF he stop throwing int then I go up on his pay.This buffalo game going to show you how much he worth he can’t when a big game.

  12. goback2rfk - Dec 17, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Kirk ‘franchise’ Cousins: 3 years – 54 Million – 18 Million Fully Guranteed. WIth 2 – 3 million worth of extra incentives. Can be cut after 3 years no penalty.

  13. JOHNNY B - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    Oompa loompa time on Thursday night football. Too bright for my eyes.

  14. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 17, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    Funny thing about the deal the Rams signed with Foles: Foles is riding the pine tonight.

    Again.
    ~

  15. kenlinkins - Dec 17, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    Back before Free Agents there was only one data point if you wanted to play in the NFL (i.e. the GM’s value of the player), when the reserve clause was removed, this added another data point (i.e. what the market would bare). The owners got smart and added a third data point (i.e. The Tag). The Tag allows the GM to show the Delta (i.e. difference of the guaranteed money on contract offered – Tag = Delta or Risk). Negotiating 101 “It is the Delta Dummy”! The amount of the Risk a player is will to take in dollars is why the better players avoid the Tag. IMO the Delta on the Cousins offer will be about $ 9 million and I am not sure that will have Cousins running to Redskins Park with pen in hand! (assumes Cousins play stays about the seem over the next three games). In this case it might make more sense to Tag Cousins and buy another year at $19 million while you have the Cap money. Risk works both ways and if the Redskins get Cousins wrong even on a 3 year deal a lot of rebuilding go down the tube. IMO the Redskins will have to increase the Delta to about the Tag number in order to sign Cousins. That means increasing the Real money to about $40 million on a 3 or 4 year deal and I do not think the new GM places Cousins in the same class as T. Williams! You have to give a QB a reason to sign and fear of injury and losing $9 million after placing $19 million in the bank on the Tag just will not do it. QB’s and OLT’s cost money, the above deals seem to sell Cousins short. I just do not see a middle ground until Cousins has more time under center and that points to the Tag IMO.

    • bangkokben - Dec 18, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      The Redskins were willing to pay a quarterback $16.7M next year. If #10 had the same stats and production as #8, the GM would be patting himself on the back for using the 2016 option and NOT having to use the franchise tag. There is no question that Cousins will get a fair deal by the Redskins and if were allowed to go on the open market a fair deal there as well, but Kirk will get Robert’s money. No doubt. The only way that doesn’t happen is if the Redskins lose out by a combined score of 150-0. The organization will not operate in the realm of fear, {if Cousins reverts to his pre-starter days hooey}. There’s risk in every contract or trade (Griffin’s for example). Doesn’t mean the risk outweighs the reward. Do you think Scot McCloughan thinks Cousins recent production is smoke and mirrors? This isn’t a gimmicky offense that is out-scheming the defense. It is simple execution of a standard NFL offense. Do you think that the GM secretly doesn’t support Gruden? Because you don’t make the deal if you’re changing head coaches or systems. Why would outperforming your expectations get you canned? The Redskins set the market for a 2016 QB when they exercised the option of Griffin. Cousins’ agent will start with that for negotiations and the Redskins’ RISK is lowballing Cousins. For what? There is plenty of room under the cap and why would they want to continue to search for the elusive franchise QB when they’re ridiculously impossible to find?

      • kenlinkins - Dec 18, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        I agree 100%, low balling Cousins is the biggest risk. IMO I would offer a $70 million dollar contract over 4 years with the break out of $10 million signing bonus, $10 Million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $18 million in 2018 and $19 million in 2019 with $32 million guaranteed. That covers the first two years at an avg of $16 per year which is $ 3 million under the Tag number with Cap numbers of $12.5 million in 2016 and $14.5 million in 2017 PLUS puts $20 million in Cousins bank account in 2016 which is a little bit more than the Tag number. It also places $13 million on the Delta which is close to a years pay. It also is about $9 million under the guaranteed money that T. Williams got and would allow the Redskins to draft a QB in 2017 with a high pick if there are concerns about Cousins (or if they just see someone they want) with out breaking the bank / Cap number. It would only add about $6 million to the Total Cap number in 2016. RICH: The down side of this plan is the $5 million of dead money if Cousins is cut before June of 2018. The Redskins would still save $13 million of Cap space but IYO is $5 million of dead money too much to risk? You once said that about 10% of Cap Space is used for Dead money so I guess that $5 million would be about 1/3 of the 10%. Trying to find the sweet spot but in Cousins cases with the Tag helping Cousins it is not easy.

  16. John - Dec 18, 2015 at 2:16 AM

    For those that have their doubts about Cousins, keep in mind that this is his first year of consistent playing time. In 2012, he played in relief in parts of 2 games and started and won 1 game. In 2013, he started a couple of games after the team had all ready given up on the season but put up big numbers against Atlanta and Minnesota. In 2014 he came in as the backup and had big games against Jacksonville, Philly and played well against Seattle. He had a bad game against the Giants and dropped off against Arizona and Tennessee.

    Fast forward to this year, he’s been pretty solid. His worst games were against the Giants in NY and the Jets. Keep in mind that the defense was invisible in both games. In addition, the vaunted running game took those games off. For the better part of the season, Kirk has been getting it done without a running game and a porous defense. He has been NFC Player of the week twice this year. When was the last time any Redskin achieved such a thing? He has brought the team back to win against Philly and Tampa. He put the team in position toget into overtime with very little time in Atlanta. Believe it or not, he is currently on pace for 4,000 yards and 20 TDs, something very few Skins quarterbacks have achieved. He has also thrown for 300 yards, 5 times matching a team record. Not bad.

    Some unrealistically think that wins and losses rest solely on the quarterbacks shoulders. Some think of Cousins as an interception king unfairly. Unless the guy is Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck or a few choice others, its unrealistic to expect a young quarterback to tear it up. In most cases, it takes 2-3 full seasons of consistent playing time for a young quarterback to take off. The team needs a few more studs on offense and defense to fill in around Kirk.

    In closing, he’s the starter. Robert is going to be gone. Colt is a journeyman backup. There are no stud qbs coming out in the draft and the free agent market is lean. He wants to stay in DC and you can get him at reasonable number now but if they get to the playoffs they will have to pay a premium to keep him.

    • jtaylor68 - Dec 18, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      So well said, that’s what I was trying to say with the first comment on this article.

      • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 8:22 PM

        Unfortunately to many think that the team should draft another qb or sign one when we all ready have a good one. Sorry folks, Tom Bradys and Peyton Mannings don’t grow on trees. If a team has a good qb, their not going to let him walk.

  17. timwillhide - Dec 18, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Resigning a QB that can’t throw down field with accuracy would be a huge mistake.

    • John - Dec 18, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      Your seats must be behind the other teams bench, because you sure aren’t seeing what everyone else is seeing. That or your an ostrich with your head buried in the sand, totally in denial.

      • timwillhide - Dec 18, 2015 at 7:19 PM

        Really because every time I watch him Throw Down Field and it’s behind the WR or uncatchable or hitting the defender Most of the time exactly what stats do you have for Passes Over 20 yards that show he is accurate? For that matter what stats do you have that he is accurate on passes Over 15 yards?

        I have game pass and it isn’t pretty Passes further than 15 yards down field.

        • gasngo14 - Dec 19, 2015 at 10:01 AM

          I feel so sorry for your loss of Robert!

        • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 10:15 AM

          That’s odd, the last I recall, they run a west coast offense which uses a short passing game and often times short throws = runs. Regarding deep throws, for the majority of the season, without Jackson, they lacked a deep threat, so no deep passing game for much of the season. Do you follow Cooley or the WP Insider? They took 5 deep shots against Dallas. They hit big ones against NY, Carolina and Dallas. Looks like he did pretty good with the deep shot to Desean to close out Chicago. He was behind the receivers in NY against the Giants and the game against the Beta was bad but half the line was out and so were Jackson and Reed . That and the defense collapsed in the 2nd half. Other than that, he’s done good, considering the lack of a running game. You have to look at the big picture.

          Check out Hoffmans blog on espn980.com. He puts up the screen shots and they breakdown plays with diagrams, explaining what’s going on in each play. Fans will often miss things that players and coaches are trained to look for.

        • timwillhide - Dec 19, 2015 at 11:02 AM

          They still throw down field in a west coast offense. What’s up with all the excuses? How come people want to make excuses for Cousins and that’s ok but if anyone mentions how RG3 was playing behind the 31st ranked Oline and he was coming off of an injury those aren’t viable reasons for bad play. He’ll RG3 didn’t have a lot of playmakers either he was missing Jackson and Reed. Cousins is Healthy and playing behind the 3rd Ranked Olin in Pass Blocking.

          I like the stats you were unwilling to provide

        • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 2:12 PM

          You just love to rattle that worst o line stat off but Kirk and Robert played behind the same line, same 5 step drops, a lot less sacks of Cousins per attempt. Sure they are better this year but also the qb calls protections and Kirk gets the ball out quick. Was Robert doing that? No.

          Stats are irrelevant unless viewed in context. I remember how Mike Tom Zak was suuposed to be so great because of the win % when he played for Jim McMahon on those dominant Bears teams (84 – 88). As soon as some of those players retired, he was exposed for what he was.

          Matt Flynn is another one. Big game, record game at end of year against Detroit a fee years back. Other than that he has sucked.

          Fitzpatrick. Good this year and good one year with the Bills but beyond that? He is only performing because of a solid running game and Brandon Marshall and Decker. Kirk would do that or better if he had those receivers and running game.

          Regarding deep balls, if its there by all means take the shot but you have to set them up. Last I checked the other guys get paid to play to. You’ve probably heard Sonny and just about every qb say, “you take what the defense gives you”. If they take away the deep stuff, then you work your way down the field, even if it takes 10-15 plays. Perhaps having done that gives them the confidence that they can do that late in games like Philly and Tampa.

        • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 2:25 PM

          I think I provided some relevant stats.

          70% completions – best in league

          5, 300 yd games – ties team record

          Low sack %

          2 times league offensive player of week

          On pace for 4000+ yards & 20 TDs

          All without much of a running game.

          Small point: with him in there how many times have they had to call timeout because they were about to run out of clock because of people being out of place or wrong people in, etc as opposed to previous years?

          RGme won’t be playing here anytime soon. Considering pay and picks given up, their not going to put him through remedial qb training and wait 2- 4 more years to finally “get it”.

        • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 3:14 PM

          For those that say he stares down receivers go back to the Reed non touchdown against Chicago. Kirk has to holdthe safety to the right side of the field with his eyes then hit Reed coming out of his break on the left hash without looking when releasing the ball. Big Time no look pass.

        • timwillhide - Dec 19, 2015 at 8:04 PM

          There were plenty of shots down field that Cousins didn’t take or threw inaccurately. Even Gruden Commented about him not throwing to WRs down field. I like how no one wants to talk about his inaccuracy down field just want to quote his short passing accuracy. He’ll Brunnel threww 20 couple without missing short but we were losing the game till he hit Moss with 2 Deep balls to beat Dallas. You can’t succeed in this league without being able to throw down field accurately which Cousins can’t do. Way to get excited about a guy who barely wine 6 games in a weak division with a weak schedule SMH.

      • John - Dec 19, 2015 at 8:16 PM

        The deep balls will come more frequently, when teams respect the running game. That’s not on Cousins. He probably has backed off of risky throws since so many cry whenever he throws a pick. He has been given the go ahead to have a multiple pick game if necessary so he’ll get it out of his system.

        He does throw a nice deep ball and will be even better when he has had an off season and full work with the starters. I’d take him over any qb in skins history since Brad Johnson.

        • John - Dec 20, 2015 at 11:56 AM

          Oh yeah your right. Its all Kirks fault the team has only won 6 games. What about the no existent defense for more than half the season? What about the running game that wasn’t? What about the early season special teams blunders. What about the drive killing penalties against Miami and in other games this season? I guess the quarterback is at fault for all those things. Brunell was good, not great and in 3 seasons here, he was pretty average. Keep living in the past.

  18. John - Dec 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    Oh yeah your right. Its all Kirks fault the team has only won 6 games. What about the no existent defense for more than half the season? What about the running game that wasn’t? What about the early season special teams blunders. What about the drive killing penalties against Miami and in other games this season? I guess the quarterback is at fault for all those things. Brunell was good, not great and in 3 seasons here, he was pretty average. Keep living in the past.

    • jtaylor68 - Dec 21, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      What more does he need to do, after his performance/numbers from yesterday? I say again; Get it done already.

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