Much has been said in recent weeks about the negotiations between Washington and franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins. From dramatic reports on the suddenly positive tone to percentage-based predictions suggesting the glass is well more than half full, reporters are desperate to get ahead of something that necessarily remains premature.
“So much noise,” said a source with knowledge of the situation on Tuesday.
As to whether progress has been made, the source added, “Nothing to report. Will be interesting to see what happens mid-July.”
PFT noted over the weekend that the July 15 deadline for doing a long-term deal bumps to Monday, July 17 because the 15th lands on a Saturday. So the two sides have 27 days to get something done.
And the two sides most likely will take nearly the full amount of the 27 days. There’s no reason not to; neither side will move toward its bottom-line position until the clock is close to striking 4:00 p.m. ET on the 17th. If either the team or the player puts the best number on the table now, the other side will wait it out, hoping that the offer will get better before the real deadline.
The math remains simple. Anything less than this year’s cash in hand ($23.94 million) and next year’s transition tender (a 20-percent raise, amounting to $28.7 million) fully guaranteed at signing will not get a deal done — unless Cousins decides to do a Tom Brady-style deal by usurping the agent and, in turn, hurting the agent’s ability to retain and recruit clients.
The agent, Mike McCartney, is hardly being unreasonable by expecting more than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing. Cousins has played (and won) the game to the tune of nearly $44 million over two years, and he’s one more year in the Year-To-Yearopoly away from $28.7 million for the transition tag in 2018 (which would give Washington only the right to match an offer sheet signed elsewhere), $34.47 million for the franchise tag in 2018 (which would allow Washington to keep or trade him in 2018), or a free and clear shot at the open market.
Cousins has both the leverage and the financial security. There’s no reason for him to do anything other than the kind of deal that his circumstances would suggest, taking the Peyton Manning/Darrelle Revis-style position that it’s not on Cousins to manage his team’s salary cap. That falls on team management, and team management badly bungled the situation by not immediately offered Cousins a long-term deal at $18 million or so per year the moment the franchise decided that, like Gus Frerotte supplanting Heath Shuler more than 20 years ago, Cousins would be bumping Robert Griffin III out of the starting lineup and, eventually, off the roster.
Cousins quite possibly will be joining Griffin as a former Washington quarterback by next year, unless team president Bruce Allen (who holds the real power in the wake of the recent restructuring) cries Uncle and pays the piper as July 17 approaches.