Kirk Cousins says the ball is in the Redskins court when it comes to his next contract, but he is still holding the Aces. Yet, it’s the GM’s job to consider all the alternatives for every player. Veteran quarterbacks could come into play and diminish open market demand for Kirk’s services. That would help the Redskins.
The Redskins wilted down the stretch. Cousins and a lot of other people did not do enough to finish strong. Hog Heaven shudders to think about the 2016 season without Cousins.
GM Scot McCloughan must think of the 2017 season with and without Cousins. He must do so by March 1 when teams set their franchise and transition players, but before the new League Year begins on March 9, 2017.
What McCloughan sees when he looks at quarterback market should make him shudder.
Kirk Cousins was the 13th best paid quarterback in 2016 in total pay. (Source: Sportrac.com.) Cousins out-performed his franchise salary.
Hog Heaven agrees with Coach Jay Gruden. What else does the guy have to do to justify a long-term deal at market rates?
Kirk Cousins is the top rated 2017 free agent QB under age 30.
Here are your top alternatives:
- Case Keenum
- Matt McGloin
- EJ Manuel
- Blaine Gabbert
- Geno Smith.
Some Redskins fans have been so team focused on the money that they’ve not looked at free agent alternates until now.
McCloughan won’t go in that direction with Colt McCoy is already on the roster. But he must also hope for a veteran value play.
Veteran quarterbacks could compromise screw up Kirk’s negotiating position.
Some well-known QBs are rumored to enter the market early in the 2017 league year. They could be short-term alternatives to Kirk for quarterback-needy teams, including the Redskins.
Age 37. A top tier quarterback with an injury history. Scheduled to make $14 million base salary. Costly for the Cowboys to trade him unless some team offers high Draft picks. Cleveland has 13 Draft picks including two first-round picks. That makes-up for their crappy season, somewhat. Romo would gag at a trade to Cleveland. Could McCloughan offer a second round and a future pick to Dallas? Would Redskins fans accept Romo in burgundy? Unlikely. More likely: A trade that removes a team from the QB market. Lowest cap hit to the Cowboys would be an outright release after June 1. (hat tip to CBSSports.com.)
Factoid: Jersey No. 9 is “reserved” in honor of Sonny Jurgensen.
Age 33. Daniel Snyder once man-lusted for the guy as an alternative to Jason Campbell. Cutler is scheduled to make an affordable $15 million on his current contract with the Bears. The smart money says Da Bears will release him, for good reason. GMs could see him as a value play as a short-term alternative to Cousins. You get what you play for.
Romo and Cutler would be short-sighted solutions for Washington. Does the owner see it that way?
Age 27. Taylor is scheduled to make an eye-popping 2017 salary of $27 million…on paper. With a lot of finagling, that number can drop to $15 million if the Bills pick up the option on his current deal. $15 million is closer to his real market value. His youth makes him attractive. McCloughan may dangle him as a credible alternative to get movement from Cousins’ camp. Taylor could be a hard sell to the coach who must engineer a playoff run in 2017. (hat tip to CBSSports.com.)
Robert Griffin III.
I KNOW. I KNOW. RGIII’s return to Washington would be incredibly bad for all parties. Cleveland’s decision about him affects market demand for Kirk. If the Browns release him, they become even more quarterback needy and another team for Kirk’s people to talk to. By all that is holy in God’s Heaven, Cleveland is the last team I hope to see Kirk join. The Browns are three seasons away from title contention; thus, may jump at lower cost Taylor, which would take a credible alternative to Kirk off the market.
The Redskins cannot talk to these players until (and if) they are released after March 9. Their presence as QB options would work against Kirk.
McCloughan may risk transition tagging Cousins if there are fewer teams hunting for veteran quarterbacks in March. The Redskins toyed with that idea in 2016 before quickly dismissing it. But then, their offer to Kirk was so ridiculously low that any number of teams could have beat it.
OTAs and mini camps begins sometime in May. We want the matter settled by then. Kirk signed the franchise tender as soon as it was offered last year. Call it a hunch. He will not be so quick to do so this year.