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Kirk Cousins will be all in for 2016, with or without long-term deal

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When Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins signed his franchise tender, he forfeited the primary leverage that franchise-tagged players have: The ability to withhold services without financial penalty. But Cousins has a bigger objective in mind.

Per a league source, Cousins intends to be fully engaged in all aspects of the offseason program and preseason preparations, with or without a long-term deal. It’s what he did last year as a backup making $660,000, and it worked out pretty well. It’s what he’ll do entering the first offseason of his career as the clear-cut starter.

He knows he needs the reps, and he knows he needs the development. Cousins will get it as the unquestioned starter.

If, before July 15, Washington offers him a long-term deal that justifies giving up his $19.95 million payday in 2016 and a shot at the open market or a 2017 franchise tender of $23.94 million, Cousins will take it. If Washington doesn’t, he’ll collect 17 checks in the amount of $1.17 million each (nearly twice per week what he made all of last year), and he’ll prepare to hit the market or get tagged again in 2017.

So what will it take to sign Cousins for the long haul? Based on the tag, Cousins arguably should get $43.89 million over the first two years. As a practical matter, there’s likely a number between whatever Washington offered Cousins before tagging him and $43.89 million over two years that would get it done.

If not, the analysis changes in 2017, when $23.94 million plus a 44-percent raise for 2018 (i.e., $34.47 million) becomes the baseline calculation under the franchise-tag launch cycle that Washington has initiated. That’s $58.41 million over two years, if Washington waits a year and if Cousins delivers in 2016 like he did in 2015.

Cousins wants to stay in Washington, but his desire to do so — and to work as hard as he can to maximize his talents — doesn’t mean he has no leverage. He did all the right things a year ago, and he parlayed $660,000 into nearly $20 million. This time around, the relative stakes are peanuts.

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52 Responses to “Kirk Cousins will be all in for 2016, with or without long-term deal”
  1. liverpoolred04 says: Mar 3, 2016 11:37 PM

    Impressive, he’s gonna play the 2015 season over again?

  2. getyourownname says: Mar 3, 2016 11:58 PM

    Isn’t it a little late to be all in for 2015?

  3. rdofinsup says: Mar 4, 2016 12:02 AM

    His record still wouldn’t improve. He is now the most overpaid player in the NFL. He isn’t worth half of what he will paid.

  4. IB007 says: Mar 4, 2016 12:04 AM

    Impressive, he’s gonna play the 2015 season over again?

    ————————————————————

    Yes but for a lot more $$$$$$

  5. fmckenney says: Mar 4, 2016 12:20 AM

    Pretty sure he won’t need a long term deal to be all in for 2015….funny one guys.

  6. paulnoga says: Mar 4, 2016 12:21 AM

    he better hope he can play the teams he played at the end of 2015 all season: GIA, DAL, CHI, BUF, PHI, and DAL – arguably the worst Defensive teams against the passing game for the entire NFL (yes, they missed the Saints).

  7. 2sloweggroll says: Mar 4, 2016 12:22 AM

    I got $10,000 that the Broncos win the super bowl … Since it is 2015 and all

  8. pioniere says: Mar 4, 2016 12:28 AM

    That’s great, too bad he’s not all in for 2016 too!

  9. leftysmoke says: Mar 4, 2016 12:29 AM

    That’s what you gathered from this article? Idiot.

  10. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 4, 2016 1:38 AM

    Criminal that a sad sack athlete like Cuz earns 20 million dollars in a single year. There are more impressive individuals packing groceries to the parking lot for little old ladies.

  11. skinsprinting says: Mar 4, 2016 1:54 AM

    It still remains to be proven how good of an NFL QB Cousins will be, but he certainly is showing that he is dedicated to getting better and being a team leader.

  12. mschurm1 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:08 AM

    It’s gotta kill him, being stuck in Washington.

  13. ashhole420 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:12 AM

    In 2016 #CaptainAmericaKirkCousins will Develop greatly, bc he will #StudyLikePeyton , #TrainHarderThanBrees and will #WinLikeBrady

    If Jay Gruden would Add his offense Some Schemes, styles, plays and formations from other offenses forming a new hybrid offense it would develop Cousins fast.

    I Think #CaptainKirk would excel if Gruden would add parts of the Offenses of the Patriots (2TE and No Huddle Styles) , Green Bays (No huddle and fast paced passing schemes), The Saints (passing schemes), “greatest show on turf” Rams (Mike Martz’s passing and pass-catching rb schemes) and Parts of the Deadly fast Oregon Offense!!!

    Using the best plays and styles that fit Kirk best. Catering the offense with plays, schemes and looks to directly develop “Captain America” Kirk Cousins into an Elite QB, as well as building the team around him will make the Redskins Offense one that scares defenses and gives HC’s Nightmares!!!

    Kirk will become a #EliteQB bc he has the brains( Genius IQ level) as he is a true football fan being obsessed like great Head Coaches are.

    #HTTR #DCWarrior

    All the #CaptinAmerica and #Redskins #Haters will be eating trash talk come the season.

    #InScotWeTrust The #DCRedskins will evolve, grow and get alot better this season. Write this Down

    The GM will bring in his type players (hard-nosed, punch you in the mouth, really high football IQ). A mix of FA’s Vets and role players filling holes and then in the draft build depth with players to develop into Starters!!!

  14. jsbrasha says: Mar 4, 2016 2:39 AM

    He spent the $20m on a time machine. Wouldn’t you?

  15. cjonesaf says: Mar 4, 2016 2:55 AM

    Smart move by Kirk, both from a football and a business perspective. Besides, it just seems to be the kind of guy he is.

  16. boobsanders says: Mar 4, 2016 5:14 AM

    Win win for both sides. The good thing about the franchise tag is even though the team is paying a lot for one season, at least you know 100% the player you are tagging will do everything he possibly can to play as good as he possibly can, and prepare better than he ever would for games because he knows that big payday is waiting for him. So if Cousins does that he’ll be worth that big contract next offseason.

  17. jammer88 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:16 AM

    liverpoolred04 says; “Impressive, he’s gonna play the 2015 season over again?”

    Yep and the Redskins will win the NFC East again. Ground Hog day is a beotch sometimes.

    HTTR!

  18. silverbackdk says: Mar 4, 2016 5:49 AM

    Most of the time I really don’t get that any players stay away from working with a team in any case. Sure there is a risk of injury, but the risk failure the coming season is greater and with that failure $$ is much lower in the coming years.

    It makes no sense to even suggest that Cousins should stay away from any work and not sign the tender – first he we have a better chance of being succesful and second – he would show the leadership a QB needs to. Both maximise his earnings going forward. What would he make 2017 if he stinks in 2016 – maybe 5-7 m$, but +20 m$ if he plays the way he did 2015. He can always buy an insurance against injury.

  19. baddegg says: Mar 4, 2016 7:41 AM

    ashhole420 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 2:12 AM
    In 2016 #CaptainAmericaKirkCousins will Develop greatly, bc he will #StudyLikePeyton , #TrainHarderThanBrees and will #WinLikeBrady

    If Jay Gruden would Add his offense Some Schemes, styles, plays and formations from other offenses forming a new hybrid offense it would develop Cousins fast.

    I Think #CaptainKirk would excel if Gruden would add parts of the Offenses of the Patriots (2TE and No Huddle Styles) , Green Bays (No huddle and fast paced passing schemes), The Saints (passing schemes), “greatest show on turf” Rams (Mike Martz’s passing and pass-catching rb schemes) and Parts of the Deadly fast Oregon Offense!!!

    Using the best plays and styles that fit Kirk best. Catering the offense with plays, schemes and looks to directly develop “Captain America” Kirk Cousins into an Elite QB, as well as building the team around him will make the Redskins Offense one that scares defenses and gives HC’s Nightmares!!!

    Kirk will become a #EliteQB bc he has the brains( Genius IQ level) as he is a true football fan being obsessed like great Head Coaches are.

    #HTTR #DCWarrior

    All the #CaptinAmerica and #Redskins #Haters will be eating trash talk come the season.

    #InScotWeTrust The #DCRedskins will evolve, grow and get alot better this season. Write this Down

    The GM will bring in his type players (hard-nosed, punch you in the mouth, really high football IQ). A mix of FA’s Vets and role players filling holes and then in the draft build depth with players to develop into Starters!!!

    ————

    I guess LogicalVoices just got a new identity to do Cousins Schtick now…

  20. bassplucker says: Mar 4, 2016 7:47 AM

    Say what you want about the 19 mil but he seems like a well grounded throwback guy who really does love the game and does things the right way. I like that.

  21. redskins21lakers24 says: Mar 4, 2016 8:18 AM

    Go get them kirk

  22. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 4, 2016 8:49 AM

    If Cousins expects the number in a long term deal to reflect the value of the tag, then there won’t be a long term deal. He hasn’t earned the value of the tag and is only getting it because the Redskin Potatoes had no other options.

    If he wants any sort of long term security, he has to be realistic about his actual value in the open market. If he agrees with this bizarre notion you keep floating that he deserves to be treated and paid like a franchise QB off of one good partial season, then he’ll have to wait.

  23. sidepull says: Mar 4, 2016 8:49 AM

    Hey the kid is a hard worker and that’s always going to be a factor in his development. Hes not stupid. Rg3 got all the first team reps ever since Cuz was on the team. This is his first off-season where he actually will get all first team reps. As hard as he works, studies film, and keeps at it, he will earn his paycheck. Along the way the Redskins may have accidentally found their franchise QB if all goes well. Who knew that Shannys pick that year would supersede the much heralded Rg3? Somebody played a bad joke on RG3. Wow. He has to sit there and watch Kirk take his money and his job. Life aint fair.

  24. zatoichi7 says: Mar 4, 2016 8:55 AM

    cousins will have an even better year and maximize that long term contract.

  25. ladymacesq says: Mar 4, 2016 9:03 AM

    Wow.

    A professional athlete acting like…. a professional. How refreshing.

    #ilikethat

  26. key2heat says: Mar 4, 2016 9:09 AM

    He also put the team in the hole $5.6 million. They gotta cut Jackson now.

  27. mack2x says: Mar 4, 2016 9:18 AM

    Guess he’s not taking florio’s advice.

  28. darealsmiley4284 says: Mar 4, 2016 9:22 AM

    This guy is a pros pro and will be successful for those Redskins. I wish my Cowboys had snagged him but nope, another year of Romo….sigh.

  29. steelerben says: Mar 4, 2016 9:26 AM

    Cousins is at least smart enough to recognize that a franchise tag is not a secure long term deal. Sure, that $20 million is going to go a long way, but with Flacco’s contract being what a franchise quarterback can earn he’s smart to get into OTAs and polish up his skills. Back to back playoff appearances would force Washington’s hand in giving him a blockbuster deal.

  30. key2heat says: Mar 4, 2016 9:36 AM

    CORRECTION. Cousins put the skins in the hole $5.9 Million.

  31. Sal Tynuts says: Mar 4, 2016 9:36 AM

    key2heat says:
    Mar 4, 2016 9:09 AM
    He also put the team in the hole $5.6 million. They gotta cut Jackson now.
    ——————————————————–
    Or not. Maybe….just maybye…. they cut Andre Roberts and his 5 million cap hit??

  32. dirtydrynn27 says: Mar 4, 2016 9:40 AM

    Jackson is not getting cut! So you can forget about that! Griffin`s 16 million on the cap will be cut in a few days!

  33. bamboozle99 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:34 AM

    He has 20 million reasons to be motivated right now.

  34. hendawg21 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:46 AM

    I still say and every athlete making millions whatever the amount is Ludacris, it’s a game they are playing and yet they bitch and moan about taking care of their families…

    Well, on daily basis there are policemen/women/soldiers/fireman etc., with far more respectable jobs making nothing compared to these athletes salary, and they risk their lives for the sake of others, but the athletes and sports world in general just doesn’t get it…

    Make no mistake I love sports and my local teams, however, the business model for pro sports is way out of whack…

  35. igornathanhiggers says: Mar 4, 2016 10:57 AM

    When the Redskins cut RG3 and Dashon Goldson, that will be 24 million added to their cap! That pays for Cousins tag and the 2016 rookie pool and effectively takes us outta the free agency…Compensatory draft picks here we come!!! Oh wait a minute… there’s a reason the Compensatory draft pick formula is unknown… Because only teams with left leaning political affiliated owners are allowed Compensatory draft picks, Rooney, Mara, Kraft etc…

  36. stevejjones says: Mar 4, 2016 11:08 AM

    Kirk is a very savvy politician. I don’t mean that in a bad way. He seems to innately want to do the right things, but he seems to be well aware that that will bear fruit for him in the long run. Nothing wrong with that… One example: when RG3 was starting, Kirk actually referred to himself as “Robert’s servant”. That has some religious context to it of course, but it was a smart move for Kirk. This isn’t a dig at Robert, but he’d be well served to adopt the same mentality at the next job. Leaving notes in lockers and posting photos alluding to him being in chains is not a promising start on that path though.

  37. stevejjones says: Mar 4, 2016 11:13 AM

    So Kirk isn’t going to be looking for offers but he also can’t RECEIVE offers on future long term deals, right? Because now he’s under contract and it’d be tampering. No smart alecs, I want to know the answer from one of you armchair capologists. The tag is a contract, right? And thus___?

  38. atljetsfan says: Mar 4, 2016 11:21 AM

    Cousins is receiving too much money and love for a player thats hasn’t beaten a winning team yet in his career he even lucky to be offered 16m

  39. newsletterczar says: Mar 4, 2016 11:29 AM

    Kirk has now ensured himself 19.6 million, pre-tax and before union dues, agent and attorney fees and all the rest. The Redskins own Washington and if he is successful he can sign a long term big money (see Ben, Aaron, Brees or any of the other one name QB’s) contract and also make a huge amount of money off the field (maybe not Peyton money but still) and still be young enough to sign another big contract (or an extension) and cash in again. This town will go nuts over a winner.

  40. glac1 says: Mar 4, 2016 11:34 AM

    Not a Redskin fan but you can’t help but appreciate a guy like Cousins… Works hard, is a team player and has a great attitude. Too bad the entire league isn’t made up of mature players like him….

  41. skins2357 says: Mar 4, 2016 11:49 AM

    The Redskins cap situation is fine.

    As soon as RG3 is gone, that’s 16 million. Look for Roberts (5 mill) to be cut, Riley (4 mill) to be cut, DJax and possibly Garcon extended (lowering cap numer by a few million each), Lichensteiger to be cut (3 mill).

    That’s 34 million off the top of my hed! Restructures, more cuts and they have plenty to play with in FA if they so choose. Scotty has said multiple times however he’s allin on building through the draft…..and if we get a draft like last year (arguably the best in the league) then we are in good shape!

  42. skins1970 says: Mar 4, 2016 11:57 AM

    @key2heat you know they they will be close to 30 million dollars under the cap after RG3,Andre Roberts are released right?

  43. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 12:02 PM

    Correct, it would be tampering now if other teams contact him.

  44. bigbenh8tr says: Mar 4, 2016 12:11 PM

    7 wins is the ceiling

  45. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 12:11 PM

    I don’t understand comparing his rookie contract as a 4th rounder to the franchise tag. Yes, it is a huge raise, but RG3 was a bust. The franchise tag was not used to set Cousins’ market value, but it was used to have a viable QB for 2016. The Skins don’t believe he’s worth $20MM right now either but are willing to pay it for one year. I don’t know why Florio keeps insisting that the $20MM amount is the baseline for negotiation. Once the Skins have another young QB on the roster, his leverage will decrease and so will their 2017 offer to Cousins. Expect the Skins to draft a QB in round 2 or 3 of the 2016 draft. If Cousins persist on making $20MM or more in 2017, the Skins will let him walk.

    They had hoped to give this $20MM to RG3 in 2017 but he didn’t pan out. The 5th year option for RG3 would have been $16.2MM in 2016. So, the Skins are really only paying $3.8MM more than expected from their side. They apparently can live with that for one year as they retool the position with the 2016 draft and probably 2017 draft.

  46. thermanmerman99 says: Mar 4, 2016 12:18 PM

    Hendawg why do people like you only focus on athletes salaries when lowlifes like Larry the Cable Guy make 45 million a year. Why don’t you go protest that or actors making 50 million a film. These athletes actually earb what they get so go cry somewhere else

  47. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 12:24 PM

    The franchise tag was used to ensure the Skins didn’t go into 2016 with a rookie QB.

    Paying Cousins $20MM vs paying RG3 $16.2MM is not too much of a burden for the Skins for one year.

    They will draft a QB in 2016 to lower Cousins’ leverage.

    If Cousins asks for more than $20MM in 2017 and has not improved much, they will let him walk and go with the young QB. If Cousins performs well, they can re-sign him in 2017 to a big contract and keep the young QB as a prime backup and as insurance if Cousins falters. That young QB could then leave when his rookie contract expires if Cousins establishes himself as the long-term answer.

  48. edavidberg says: Mar 4, 2016 12:32 PM

    “Based on the tag, Cousins arguably should get $43.89 million over the first two years.”

    This argument would be based on the fact that Washington will definitely tag him next offseason. Since Cousins has never played well against a team with a winning record (Buffalo was 8-8 last year, best record of a team he beat) I’d be shocked if that were the case.

    We have seen many QBs look competent against bad teams. Ryan Fitpatrick looked decent for a half season stretch with the Bills. Cousins did as well when he was playing also rans like the Giants, Cowboys and Bears.

    To me, there’s no point in either side negotiating an extension. Cousins wants to bet on himself. Cousins believes he is a top tier starter (despite a ton of evidence to the contrary). The Skins are better off seeing how he does next season. If Cousins doesn’t crap the bed like he has in the past then they have an incentive to negotiate with a QB who is likely delusional about his ability.

  49. vicvinegar00 says: Mar 4, 2016 12:39 PM

    One more decent season and be can take his skills to a well run franchise where he could make a run for a ring.

    Won’t happen in Dannyland, so take the big check now like everyone else who passes through Landover.

  50. nflgtcfl says: Mar 4, 2016 1:55 PM

    He can question his talent, and his large contract.

    But I don’t think anyone can question his character.

  51. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 2:34 PM

    I think people here need to research Cousins’ stats. In his first starting season, he delivered the best season in Redskins history in a lot categories for a QB. How is that not a player with upside? People are weighing his spot starts in his first 3 years more heavily than his 16 starts in 2015. THAT MAKES NO SENSE. If he played well in the spot starts but not the full season, then you would be saying he couldn’t do it when it counted. But he did, and you are holding onto the spot starts as an indicator of his future performance.

    You believe what you want to believe. Just look up his stats. The dude is a good QB that is getting better.

    Beating teams with winning records requires a good defense. Skins defense will have to improve so that the team record will improve. In all of the games facing winning teams, Cousins led the team to second half leads, only to see the defense falter and give them up.

  52. laserw says: Mar 5, 2016 8:06 PM

    I’ve been saying this exact thing in my reports on Cousins. The Redskins have one of the most committed players to improving in Cousins and this entirely consistent with how he approached things as a college player.

    The problem in the pros with Cousins is that the Great Gimmick stole all the attention and reps – and when Cousins had to go in, he looked incompetent. It wasn’t that he was so; rather it was the selfishness of the Great Gimmick that stabbed Cousins in the back.

    I point to how the Great Gimmick sabotaged the team’s chances in 2012 in the playoffs by acting like a child and intentionally lying to the coaching staff about how badly he was hurt; and it was apparent in that game that Shanny wasn’t going to pull him out – the pet of the owner, Danny Snyder. At that point in the tenure of Napoleon Snyder, no one dared to cross him. Owner’s Pet wants to stay in – oh, well. Had the Great Gimmick given Cousins a half or more to get his football legs ready, the Redskins could have ended the Seattle Seagull myth before it even started.

    Cousins last year went out of his way to improve and has demonstrated that in the last 10 games he is a 7-3 player with 23 touchdown pass (plus several rushing ones) and only 3 interceptions.

    With Cousins now having some time with the offense and getting his timing down from game one, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pass for 5,000 yards and over 30 TD’s and to have under 10 interceptions for the season.

    I applaud Kirk Cousins for having the balls and backbone to endure showing that he was the best QB drafted by the Redskins in 2012 and he’ll be the team’s first franchise QB since Theisman.

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