Scot McCloughan balances paying Kirk Cousins with having a winning team

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In Washington, where the local NFL team is willing to pay quarterback Kirk Cousins $20 million for 2016 only but only $24 million on a long-term deal, the coming season will entail deciding whether Cousins deserves $24 million for 2017 (or a long-term deal with a lot more than $24 million guaranteed) or whether the team can find someone nearly as good but a lot cheaper.

Recently, G.M. Scot McCloughan addressed the predicament in an interview with Ty Schalter and Jason Cole of SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio.

I want Kirk in a long-term deal, no doubt about it, but also I’m not gonna put our franchise in a situation where we’re gonna lose three or four younger guys that I think are gonna be good football players for one guy,” McCloughan said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “I won’t do it. You know, that’s just how it is.”

This explanation overlooks the reality that the team could have said plenty of 2016 cap space by extending Cousins’ deal. Currently, he counts for $19.95 million. A multi-year contract would have driven the cap number a lot lower. So the team could have had more flexibility this year, if Cousins had signed a long-term deal.

The broader issue isn’t the starting quarterback’s cap number now, but his cap number over the next several years.

“The quarterback position’s very, very important, but you know what, so is every other position,” McCloughan said. “We need football players. We need multiple football players, not one. . . . The thing about it is, the cap goes up every year, and the market’s the market. And especially the position Kirk plays, it’s pricey, but you pay for production. You get paid to win. I told Kirk, I told his agent, I tell all of our players: it’s not about the individual. It’s the sum of the parts. We have 53 guys on this roster.  We’re gonna have 46 playing on Sundays. It’s not about the one individual. Now, like I said, if you produce, as the Washington Redskins, we’ve got no problem paying you — depending on what the market is. But you’ve got to also realize it’s a team sport, it’s not an individual sport.”

That’s the goal for McCloughan; to balance out the cap dollars in a way that allows the overall team to be as effective as it can be. And if he’s confident (as he is) that he can find a comparable quarterback on a slotted four-year rookie deal that doesn’t chew up more than $20 million in cap space per year for the next five or six years, it makes good sense from the team’s perspective to keep that option, and to fully explore it.

For now, McCloughan had no choice. He didn’t want to risk exposing Cousins to the market, and no other quarterbacks were readily available. So he opted to pay a premium for one year of quarterback play — and to preserve the option to pay another one-year premium in 2017 or to make a major, long-term investment based on the quarterback market.

Clearly, McCloughan doesn’t want to do that. And his first objective is to persuade Cousins to not insist on it.

“When his career’s over, it’s gonna be, ‘OK did you win any division championships, did you win any Super Bowls, what’s your win-loss record,” McCloughan said. “No one’s gonna think 10 years from now. ‘OK, well he made $50 million, he made $60 million.’ They’re gonna be like. ‘Ok, did he win or not win?’ And that’s the thing that’s so important from my standpoint as the General Manager is putting the pieces around him to make sure he’s successful. And [if] we do that, then we’re fine going forward.”

McCloughan is, basically, trying to persuade Cousins to become the next Tom Brady, at least from the standpoint of his contractual expectations. McCloughan wants Cousins to intentionally take less than he could get by way of money in an effort to get more by way of team achievements.

Using the tag on Cousins gives McCloughan another year to sell that approach. If it doesn’t work, McCloughan remains confident he can find someone else.

He’s never going to say to a reporter or during a radio interview or a press conference that finding another quarterback is the fallback. But it’s the only logical next step if McCloughan can’t convince Cousins to ignore the market and the leverage that comes from the franchise tag and take a deal aimed at giving McCloughan maximum cap space to surround Cousins with talent on both sides of the ball.

33 responses to “Scot McCloughan balances paying Kirk Cousins with having a winning team

  1. This guy is a complete moron! Everyone is going to get paid while they can. Ohhh, and by the way, how much did you just pay Gordon? Way to lead by example idiot. Cousins & his agent are laughing at your little speech there.

  2. Translation:

    If Cousins has another good year, the Redskins are willing to pay up for a franchise QB.

    But they don’t want to be like the Texans and pay up for an unknown quantity. If Osweiler turns out to be sub par, the Texans are hurting for a few years.

    If Cousins is good, he’ll get paid an extra few MM a year , over what they could have agreed to several months ago.

  3. I predict 4-12 as they really don’t much talent on either side of the ball. The he gets released next year and back to drafting another rg knee…lol.

    cowboys
    giants
    eagles
    4skins

  4. “McCloughan is, basically, trying to persuade Cousins to become the next Tom Brady, at least from the standpoint of his contractual expectations. McCloughan wants Cousins to intentionally take less than he could get by way of money in an effort to get more by way of team achievements.”

    If McCloughan wants that type of commitment from Cousins he is going about it in an interesting way. It’s not as though Brady has played for peanuts the way some folks like to present it. NE has consistently given Brady his money upfront and never once in his career has he played the last year of a contract. His deals always get ripped up and replaced with an attendant bonus. That’s a heck of a contrast with the ‘find somebody else’ approach.

  5. If Kirk performs, he’ll pay him. We all know that. Dan will step in because the last the REDSKINS want to deal with is starting over from scratch at the position.

  6. Again… Cousins just thinking he’s going duplicate his success again against tougher competition is comical….he should’ve took the long term deal while he had the chance…

  7. Basically saying He’s not convinced about Cousins because we all know QB is without a doubt the most important position and any team would lose other players to have a franchise QB

  8. This is all so speculative. It’s actually very refreshing to see the REDSKINS doing things the right way, even though certain media outlets would like to convince you that they are not.

  9. boysroll you sound just like a broken record

    Last year you predicted that the Redskins would be lucky to win 2 games…….What happend bro????

    If you think for one micro second that Dallas is going to win this division with half of their defensive players on suspension……….You need to leave that Meth alone dude!!!

  10. I do understand why anyone would push to lower the cap number this year as the Redskins are not in the Cap Hell of some teams (see Dallas and Romo or New Orleans and Brees this year) because of the contract of the QB. Locally most fans see this as a “prove it” year from the team and Kirk saying “if I get franchised again (here or somewhere else) it is going to be a great payday”. If he plays as well as he did the last 8 games of 2015 the team will be fine; the defense and specials teams will be better and skill positions on offense are very good. The Giants and the Eagles have spent a lot of money but that does not necessarily mean more wins. Dallas won 4 games last year and yes Romo was hurt but the front 7 on defense is suspect or suspended the first half of the year. In Scot (with one T) we trust.

  11. arealisticpackerfan says:
    Jul 19, 2016 3:45 PM
    This is why teams like my Packers always have at least 2 franchise QBs on the roster. Hundley is 10x better than Cousins will ever be.
    ——————————————————————

    Who is Hundley?….sounds UNrealistic

  12. The intrafinesse guy above said it right — what McCloughlin was really saying is that they wisely aren’t giving a long term contract to a QB based on one year’s worth of work.

  13. The Redskins are making a wise move. How many QB had one good year cashed in and proved to be limited. Fitzpatrick Kolb Flynn Schaub. If Kirk has another good yr after guys have tape on him then you know he’s the real deal.

  14. boysroll says:
    Jul 19, 2016 3:12 PM

    I predict 4-12 as they really don’t much talent on either side of the ball. The he gets released next year and back to drafting another rg knee…lol.

    ————————————————-

    I ~almost wish Dallas wasn’t such a basket case. I’d like to make fun of this delusional chump, but it would just be sad. Like kicking a three legged dog.

  15. he just signed one year wonder josh norman to a contract to rich for the panthers. hmmm…

  16. I think McCloughan knows what he’s talking about. He knows as well as anybody that you need an elite QB to win. There are always exceptions, but you need a good QB. Cousins is not even half way to where he needs to be to get the big contract. He’s started out ok. He’s improved a lot. Now the opposing defenses will tweak what they’re doing to defend against him. Then Cousins will have to adjust his game again. Let’s see how it goes this season. If Cousins takes the Redskins deep into the playoffs and looks like one of the top QBs, then pay him. But he hasn’t done that yet, and McCloughan isn’t going to come out and say anything negative about his QB. McCloughan would love more than anything to pay Cousins the highest salary in the league that would mean he just won the super bowl. Be patient folks.

  17. It’s likely the Skins will not repeat as champs in the NFL LEAST. No team has repeated as NFC East Champion since the Eagles did it in 2004. Skin’s management will say “see, Kirk’s not the guy” and then Kirk signs with the Jets for Big bucks in 2017. Skins management did a really good job evaluating and waiving Amerson, who just signed a BIG contract with the Raiders

  18. professorpigskin46 says:
    Jul 19, 2016 3:18 PM

    They’re looking much better than the local NFL teams in Dallas, New York and Philadelphia.
    ————————————————————–
    Only if you’re Mr. Magoo or Stevie Wonder.

    “We need football players. We need multiple football players, not one. . . . ” is GM speak for “We have big talent holes on the roster and it’s going to take a while to fix that.”

  19. asparatame says:
    Jul 19, 2016 6:57 PM

    Only if you’re Mr. Magoo or Stevie Wonder.

    “We need football players. We need multiple football players, not one. . . . ” is GM speak for “We have big talent holes on the roster and it’s going to take a while to fix that.”

    No, its GM speak for saying the Skins have a number of quality players (Garcon, Jackson, Baker, Moses, etc…) who will be UFA/RFA’s after this season and dropping huge money on one player (Cousins) will prevent the Skins from resigning a number of those players.

    The Skins have holes to fill on defense, but offense is pretty stacked. And Cousins contract situation will play a huge role in keeping offensive talent from leaving and filling holes on defense.

  20. Well, the reason Brady doesn’t have the big contract is be ause he’s married to a super model wife who brings in millions….Gisele his sugar mama. Unless, Cousins is married to someone like that, he’s gonna need a long term contract.

  21. 4-12? ha.. The Redskins have won 2 of the last 4 NFC East titles. RG3 is gone and Cousins is coming along just fine. We have McCloughan who has done a tremendous job throughout his career at finding ways to fill a roster out. It will be a tough 8, 9 win season with the schedule we have but don’t count the Redskins out.. It’s good to be a Skins fan..

  22. squeakywheeler says:
    Jul 19, 2016 3:03 PM
    This guy is a complete moron! Everyone is going to get paid while they can. Ohhh, and by the way, how much did you just pay Gordon? Way to lead by example idiot. Cousins & his agent are laughing at your little speech there.

    Who’s Gordon?!?!

  23. Man oh Man as a Giants Fan, CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS SEASON! !! And b4 any of you go snickering about no playoff appearances in the last 4 seasons. How bout those 2 Lombardi’s That NOBODY ELSE IN THE EAST HAS EVEN SNIFFED @ IN THE LAST 20+ YEARS!!!

  24. boysroll…..really don’t have much talent on either side of the ball. That might be the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.

    Fear the SKINS boys…you all know this team is on the rise and your all scared!!……..HTTREDSKINS 🙂

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