The never ending news cycle abhors a vacuum. So when nothing is going on generally, specific situations in which nothing is going on get dusted off from time to time. Enter the Kirk Cousins situation, which periodically will become the focal point of #breakingnews as the true pay-or-get-off-the-pot moment arrives.
As noted last week, anything said about Cousins is “noise” for now, and nothing is going on between himself and the team. The question becomes whether breakthroughs happen as the July 17 deadline approaches.
The safer guess at this point is that a deal won’t get done, primarily because Washington has done nothing over the past two years to show a willingness to get a deal done on the player’s terms. With Cousins now having more leverage than ever, it’s unlikely that Washington will throw great money after good, given the annual missed opportunities to extend Cousins for much less than it would cost now.
In this regard, last week’s Derek Carr contract means nothing. The numbers for Cousins are and have been simple; he has $23.94 million in hand for 2017, and for 2018 he’ll have: (1) $34.47 million under the franchise tag; (2) $28.7 million under the transition tag; or (3) a clear shot at the open market. Coupled with the $19.95 million Cousins earned a year ago, he holds all the cards when it comes to cobbling together a long-term deal based on 2017 and 2018.
Absent a sudden decision by Cousins to make a concession against his leverage or an epiphany by Washington that causes the team to forget that it could have had Cousins for less a year ago and even less in 2015, stubbornness and pride will keep the clock ticking toward Washington having to spend even more to keep Cousins — or watching him walk away.
Either way, the answer won’t come until at least two weeks from now. And if a deal isn’t done, don’t be shocked if Washington leaks the last offer rejected by Cousins, since the magnitude of the number in comparison to the stature of Cousins will make the team seem reasonable and fair, and the player neither.