Should Cousins boycott the offseason program?

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When Washington applied the franchise tag to quarterback Kirk Cousins, the right move was clear: He needed to immediately sign it.

Now that he has signed it, his next right move is a little murkier. Cousins could be a good soldier, showing up for all aspects of the offseason program and making the coach and the organization happy and hoping that the team will be sufficiently impressed with his efforts to give him a bigger contract than they otherwise would.

Alternatively, he could view himself as Kirk Cousins, Incorporated, and he could make business decisions aimed at maximizing his leverage and, in turn, maximizing his compensation.

When owners do it, they get praised for being shrewd. When players do it, they get criticized for being greedy and selfish. It’s a scam that shrewd owners have perpetrated on players (with the complicity of the media and then fans) for years, and it’s one of the reasons why the top of the quarterback market has remained stagnant even as the salary cap has gone up by more than 25 percent.

Here’s what Kirk Cousins, Incorporated should consider doing. KCI should consider boycotting the voluntary phases of the offseason program. KCI also should consider skipping the mandatory minicamp and gladly paying the fine for missing it (with $19.95 million guaranteed for this year, he can afford it). He should consider making a stand and refusing to participate until he gets the long-term deal that he deserves, based on the conclusion by the team that he deserves nearly $20 million for only one year.

The team won’t like it. Fans won’t like it. But Washington exercised its option to keep Cousins off the market, and Cousins now has options of his own to exercise.

Teams don’t give players more money as an act of charity or gratuity. They do it grudgingly, when the circumstances compel them to do it. Washington allowed the circumstances to compel them to commit $19.95 million to Cousins for 2016. Cousins widely seized on those circumstances to ensure that the money will be paid. Now, he needs to use the only leverage he has to get the long-term deal he wants.

Unless, of course, his plan is to happily take the $19.95 million, to suspend talks on a long-term deal, and to commit himself completely to forcing Washington to tag him again next year, to the tune of nearly $24 million. That entails the risk of a performance that won’t allow him to maximize his earnings in 2017 and beyond, however. Currently, he has the ability to parlay $20 million for one year into, say, $35 million over two and $50 million over more over three.

And his best way to do that could be to do nothing, until he gets his long-term deal.

44 responses to “Should Cousins boycott the offseason program?

  1. It’s not a scam bud…

    The goal is to Win football games… HELLO? You play to win the game. Owners want to be shrewd because there’s a salary cap and those who manage the salary cap better win the most games.

    Players skipping the limited and valuable football related activities does not help the team win.

    Kirk Cousins will make more money if the Redskins win than he will if the Redskins lose. So if money is important to said player, then said player should want to win more…if PFT is going to speculate that skipping any opportunity to practice football helps the football team win more than I’m all ears…otherwise shaddup and stop picking on the Redskins!

  2. Boycotting offseason work outs never pans out well for anyone.
    It certainly won’t for a QB many view as questionable and overpaid.

  3. Cousins has only been a starter for 1 season, any kind of sophmore slump could easiely hinder his future earnings, a full offseason as the unquestioned starter would do him good and it would be the first time he’s taken first team reps during OTAs and Mini Camp in his NFL career.

  4. Sorry, but you and all those who have been trying to systematically denigrate Connor Cook have not understood yet what is the strength of the Michigan State Spartans program, that is producing team players, good players, who are NFL ready even if they do not make the headlines, and who deliver on the field. Celebrate the Trent Richardsons of this world just because they win national titles with teams loaded of talent, but the true stars are the Le’Veon Bells. I am not saying Cousins is a star (yet…if he repeats himself, I dare anyone say that he is mediocre), but his success is largely due to being the polar opposite or RGIII. Funny exercise this scenario, but Cousins will never do this, at least not according to such a disingenuous design.

  5. Cousins has been on the team long enough to see that the changes to the front office and coaching staff were the right moves. He also knows that a couple good games doesn’t instantly make someone worth $100 million. He is also smart enough to know that even if he never got another penny, he can invest his money wisely and be set for life. His best move for the team and for himself is to be the best QB and team leader in the world. The rewards will follow.

  6. Hey, look at that, a class warfare story disguised as a football story.

    It’s called a market economy – NO ONE (with a brain, anyway) pays more than they absolutely have to. If I’m buying a car or a loaf of bread, of course you want the best price for the most return.

  7. I’m sure his teammates wouldn’t appreciate that, and let’s face it, they’ll have a big influence on Cousins’ success or failure leading up to his next contract.

  8. I’ve never said this,mouth I agree with Florio.

    Teams have all of the leverage with paying the players. Not performing the way we want? Take a pay cut or get cut. Perform well? Give you a one-year deal and prevent you from hitting the open market. Long-term contracts don’t exist. Every contract is reall year to year.

    Cousins could force the Redskins to fully commit to him. This “we like you but we don’t love you” approach always forces the player to take a stand, which ends with fans (strangely) siding with owners. This the rare occasion where the player has the upper hand. Redskins know they don’t have another option waiting behind him (RG III ain’t coming back). It’s Cousins or nothing. Get what you can, while you can!

  9. Keep in mind: Cousins doesn’t have to be one of the best QB’s in the league to get paid next year. He just has to be better than the available market next year.

  10. The guy waited 4 years to get the chance to be an NFL starter. He is getting paid a lot of money. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to be okay with paying fines just because he can afford it now. He wants to play football and try to win. If Snyder doesn’t want to pay him next year, somebody will pay him if he does anything special in the upcoming season.

  11. key2heat says:
    Mar 3, 2016 9:38 AM
    Cousins does not have the Balls to boycott anything. I heard he was sitting in his car waiting to sign the tag.
    I wouldnt blame him if he was… least he wasnt sitting in his moms car like you would have been.

  12. The dumbest crap I’ve heard all morning, if one gets insulted by getting a franchise tag and a payday of almost $20 million he has nothing whatsoever to be insulted about…the sports world has gone completely insane, and I say this because it’s only a game, and yet, we just had a young policewoman on her first day get killed and she probably was making what maybe $35,000.00…

  13. Maybe so, but that’s just not how Cousins rolls. Cousins is like Ned Flanders with an accurate (and rocket) arm and is now able to make it to his third read in the progression.

  14. So now liberals want employees to take $20 million and not come to work? Oh boy. No wonder the rest of us scratch our heads.

  15. He should consider making a stand and refusing to participate until he gets the long-term deal that he deserves, based on the conclusion by the team that he deserves nearly $20 million for only one year.

    This thinking is extremely convoluted on more than one level. One- the idea that Cousins deserves a long term contract. Cousins to this point has played well for a little over half of one season. Two- the conclusion by the team that he “deserves” 20 million for only year. The team did what it did because it was backed into a corner and had few options, not because it feels Cousins is actually worth anything near $20m.

    This not a Russell Wilson situation, where a guy had played great over an extended period of time and was clearly deserving of a long term deal. Cousins lucked into a unique situation, having a strong run at exactly the right time. He should realize that his best path to a long term deal is to earn one on the field.

  16. I went to my local walmart and they were closed because the workers didn’t like their $9 an hour.
    What is this crap about sitting out because you’re unhappy you get paid more money than most will make in their lifetimes.
    Get to work, be grateful you have a job and can be in the entertainment business making more than all of us.
    People are struggling. People are failing to be able to make ends meet. Don’t give me this crap. I’m fine with them making tons of money, but to act like not getting a full contract is an insult just insults people like me who actually work for a living and if I choose not to show up, I am fired. As in NO FOOD. Grrrr.

  17. Havng Desean Jackson in the lineup and Jordan Reed helped him a lot. If they don’t keep DJax or Reed gets hurt his performance will suffer. B

  18. Kirk Cousins is playing the next year for a HUGE contract . . . if he skips all the offseason stuff that will effect his play (his is still a young player that needs all the practice he can get) and therefore effect his next contract . . . that would be asinine!

  19. good article. owners, orgs, corps, perpetuate the double standard of good business versus crappy teammate / person. the ncaa is a master of this, and look where it has gotten marcus lattimore, and jaylon smith for not sitting out bowl games until they get PAID like they deserved. # school should be free anyway.

  20. He’s signed the tender. If he hadn’t, he’d be well within his rights to stay away to gain leverage. He’s under contract now and should fulfill that contract.

  21. A year ago Cousins was wondering if the team would even bring him back for 2016. Now they give him a $19 million dollar contract, and you think his best move is to not show up for work??

    He signed that franchise tag offer so fast, the document wasn’t even fully out of the printer. Zero chance Cousins skips any offseason activities. I mean, if your boss told you “We’re gonna pay you 30 times what you made last year, but next year we will have to work out a new deal”, would your first move be to call in sick?

  22. Let’s all get together, hold a pity-party, and cry for all the poor underpaid QBs in the NFL.
    Seriously? They soak up so much cap space that the guys making them look great get crumbs by comparison. After the QB gets $20M, two WRs get $15M each, a TE gets $9M, a RB gets $10M, what’s left gets divvied up for the other 30-40 guys on the squad.
    Flacco is the highest paid QB? Something is wrong in football.

  23. Cousins should thank the Redskins for the huge contract since he only has one decent season under his belt. If he and the Redskins continue to improve next year he will get the money and years he deserves.

  24. Three years in a row, Walter Jones did exactly that: stay away from all team activities until Week 1. Scribes said this tactic only hurts him, because he won’t be fully ready to play when the season begins. But each of those three years he demonstrated that he was the best left tackle in the league…in Week 1.

    But that was Walter Jones Incorporated. A much larger, more talented corporation than KCI.

  25. Cousins only objective this year is to have a great year.
    How does skipping training help him achieve that?
    If he participates, and has a good year, he is in even greater demand. He will be viewed as a serious QB.

    If he sits out, and plays without a long term deal, and doesn’t do so well, that only hurts him.

    The only risk is getting hurt during the training, and QBs wear red jerseys so they don’t get hit.

  26. He does not come across as the kind of guy to skip out on the team. He is not playing for peanuts anymore.

    He’ll not only be there, I bet he runs his own receiver camps during off season like other QBs do.

  27. I must say, it is heartening to see that the majority of posters on this topic can read through the pathetic bias in this post.

    BTW- he is now under contract!

  28. Cousins is not that kind of man.

    He will seek to improve this offseason and to refine his craft. He will once again lead the Redskins to the playoffs and this next season he’ll have them winning.

    Cousins is not a Great Gimmick who couldn’t read a playbook, who couldn’t read a defense, and who never improved in the four years he was in Washington.

    Cousins knows what he needs to do and he’s a man, not some chump.

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