Lack of faith in Kirk Cousins will cost the Redskins an additional $4 to $6 million to sign him in 2017.
Not bad for a man Charlie Casserly recently said was the worst quarterback in the division. Charley couldn’t see past his 2012 pre-Draft conviction about Kirk and neither could the higher ranks of the Redskins front office.
The Redskins lowballed Kirk Cousins with $12 million per year offer last year, then bumped it to $16 million per year, $24 million guaranteed, according to news stories at the time.
$16 million is the amount offered to Robert Griffin III on the Fifth-Year Option before the 2015 season. It is also the 2017 guaranteed base salary for Brock Osweiller.
Draw your own conclusion.
Kirk did not bite. The front office briefly considered the Transition Tag for Cousins, then wisely concluded they would lose him to a better offer from a quarterback-needy team.
Thus, they franchised Capt. Kirk, locking him into a second “contract year” to prove his worth and to retain exclusive negotiating rights. The price was a fully guaranteed $19.9 million.
Now comes news that the front office has already decided to franchise Cousins again if they can’t reach a long-term deal this offseason.
A second franchise tag will cost the team just under $24 million fully guaranteed. And it hands Cousins’ agent a golden lever against the team. One way or another, Cousins will earn $44 million over 2016 -2017.
There is no reason to accept any offer from the Redskins of less than $22 million per year with a $24 million signing bonus and $60 million guaranteed.
It was prudent of the team to demand Cousins show more consistency before making the big bucks, but Kirk could have been had last July for an annual base salary of $17 to 18 million on a long-term deal. That seems a bargain today.
GM Scot McCloughan said last July that he liked Kirk, but he was “not gonna put our franchise in a situation where we’re gonna lose three or four younger guys that I think are gonna be good football players for one guy.” That’s the exact spot the team is in now for not signing Cousins then.
Fortunately, the Redskins manage the salary cap far better than they did in Dan Snyder’s early days. They can absorb the hit and still sign free agent targets like T Ty Nsekhe, K Dustin Hopkins and anyone that can help that defense.
Just don’t expect the franchise scenario to play out as smoothly in 2017 as it did in 2016.
The Dallas game was Kirk Cousins 36th game start, the point when GMs feel confident in their conclusions about a player’s potential. It’s also the point when we can directly compare Cousins’ career passing record to Robert Griffin III. RG’s one appearance for Cleveland was his 36th start. These stats are from pro-football-reference.com.
Griffin rushed for another 1,715 yards and 8 TDs to bring his career total offense to 9,993 yards and 48 TDs. Cousins has six rushing touchdowns to his credit and has never (knock on wood) missed a game because of injury.
Griffin’s legacy in Washington will never be forgotten. That has confounded the Redskins’ (cough: danielsnyder’s) thoughts about Cousins.
If the Redskins make the playoffs, then they will make the post-season for the third time in five seasons with quarterbacks picked by Mike Shanahan, suggesting that Snyder backed the wrong man in the conflict between RGIII and Shanny.
Washington is less spectacular yet more effective with Cousins.
Just pay the man, Danny.