When Washington and Kirk Cousins couldn’t come to a long-term contract in July, the quarterback said the time simply wasn’t right, and that he wanted to take another year to see where he and the team were.
Now that he’s in the middle of training camp, Cousins said he’s still confident it was the right decision.
“I didn’t feel at peace with signing a long-term deal at this juncture,” Cousins said, via Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. “I think the freedom that it allows on the other side of this season makes more sense. In the league, there’s so much change, so much turnover year after year, I think it makes a lot of sense to re-evaluate where we’re at, where the league’s at at the end of this season.”
The peace may stem from having a guaranteed $44 million in his pocket, after being franchise-tagged the last two years. But that luxury has also given Cousins the ability to think about the way football players get paid, especially in light of their basketball brethren and their guaranteed contracts.
“A lot of it goes back to, these contracts are not baseball contracts; they’re not basketball contracts,” Cousins said. “As a result, you’re not really signing a five-year deal, you’re not really signing a six-year deal. You’re signing a two-year deal, and then there is an obligation for several years after that. And that just didn’t sit well with me, and I’m better off, if those are my options, I’m better off signing a one-year deal and then having freedom.”
He’s also aware that the next market for quarterbacks could include several others who would be in line for big dollars, so there will be competition.
“I’ve got to play well,” Cousins said. “So I see it as, let’s go 16 games at a time and we’ll see where we are in January/February and go from there. It takes two sides, in the sense that you’re not going to effect any change unless the clubs are willing to do that. And it all comes down to the market. Markets change. What if Drew Brees is a free agent? What if Sam Bradford has a big-time year? What if Matt Stafford? You can just list guy after guy after guy — what if they suddenly blow up and play at a very high level and have a great year and stay healthy? The 16 games, as we know, tell the story. What if the market’s flooded? You never know.”
From that perspective, it’s a bit of a risk. But again, it’s a risk mitigated by the money he’s already pocketed, from being willing to bet on himself two years in a row.