Washington wanted a six-year deal with Cousins, with four of them not guaranteed

Getty Images

A year ago, Washington wasn’t inclined to guarantee at signing the amount that quarterback Kirk Cousins would have gotten under the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017. This year, that attitude changed; the back end of the deal was the problem.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the team’s offer that included more than $53 million guaranteed at signing covered the $23.94 million franchise tag in 2017 and the $28.72 million transition tag in 2018, and then some (by a little). The problem is that the team wanted four more non-guaranteed years after that.

In other words, the team wanted a two-year commitment and then a series of four one-year options. Cousins wasn’t inclined to commit to a deal that committed him (but not the team) from 2019 through 2022.

And that’s a smart move. If we’ve learned one thing in recent years, thanks to the growth in the cap and the decision of arguably the best quarterback in the game to sign from 2013 through 2019 at 2013 dollars (Aaron Rodgers), it’s that long-term deals don’t work for the players, beyond the first couple of years.

Last year, by not guaranteeing Cousins the 2016 and 2017 franchise tags at signing, Washington gambled and lost. This year, Cousins is gambling on the notion that he’ll at least play well enough to get the team to give him at least the transition tag next year. (If they give him the franchise tag again, he will have made $58.41 million over the same two-year window, $5 million more than the team offered.)

But how much of a gamble is it, really? Cousins threw for more than 4,900 yards in 2016. No matter what he does this year, someone will be interested in paying him significant money (remember, Mike Glennon is getting $16 million this year from the Bears) in March, even if Cousins regresses. (Indeed, if he regresses it will be easy to blame it at least in part on the team’s stubborn refusal to give him a real commitment.)

Bottom line: Cousins finally has shown all players the value of going year to year. Since teams essentially want to do that with every deal after the first two or three years of a long-term contract, why shouldn’t players subject to the franchise tag opt for one year at a time? The rules of the tag favor them, and the long-term deals usually don’t.

65 responses to “Washington wanted a six-year deal with Cousins, with four of them not guaranteed

  1. If the tag favors the player and gives the player leverage, then that is a sure sign the team should not tag the player. It is better to let them test the market and get a true market amount up front and decide whether the guy is worth it for you at that known amount. And would a player go to Cleveland at this point or the jets for more money than staying with the skins who are at least 8 and 8 and not in a rebuild. So, the skins should have had a little advantage for same money. Both team and QB should be wary of ending up like the Brock Osweiller deal. Brock would have had a lot more patience with the Broncos than having to learn a new system and new players all at the same time. Brock was not a QB with 10 years experience.

  2. It’s not hard to see how they feel about him. They’re still not ‘all in” on Cousins, otherwise he’d have a deal.

    It seems apparent that if they see a better option, they’ll take it, particularly in the draft and they don’t want to be fettered by the weight of a huge contract by someone they don’t seem to really want, long term.

  3. QB market is crazy and don’t blame Skins protecting themselves. Cousins is good but is he worth selling the farm for? Not sure.

  4. This was a smart move by Cousins because effectively he would have only gotten $28.72 million more in guaranteed money (I can’t believe I actually typed that). The only way that deal makes sense for him is if he bombs this year (unlikely) or get injured.

    The Redskins just seem to want to find any reason to cut bait with the guy — at a minimum, they don’t see him as a long term solution. Maybe they think he’ll have a bad year and they can get him on the cheap (law of averages) but that hasn’t worked so well for them the past couple of years.

  5. I get it Washington. You think Kirk is not a top tier QB. But what the fact is Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are not JUST ABOUT to fall in your lap. As a Bengals fan Andy Dalton drives me nuts, but in this league when you have a competent quarterback, you sign them and count your blessings you aren’t Cleveland.

  6. Cuz will still be looking for a job a year from now. At considerably less money than is being bandied about now. He’s an overrated, aggravating twit.

  7. I guess his replacement is right around the corner. I mean its been 30 years since Theismann retired and we still haven’t found his consistent replacement but yea good QB’s are easy to find..

  8. Cousins played this right and he will reap the benefit and a team that really wants him will pay him whats fair for both Cousins and the team in both dollars and years……meanwhile the guy that was drafted onto the same team the same year at the same position is………

  9. “Bottom line: Cousins finally has shown all players the value of going year to year.”

    Not really. Cousins has shown the value of the best protected player on the field staying in one piece going year to year. That’s not the same as all players.

  10. Owners are shrew business people that have a “Mr Krab ‘Money, Money” approach. (And akin to a cartoon character is appropriate.)
    Once agents start skewing to one year deals, owners will find a loophole in the next CBA, guaranteed.

    They ain’t in the biz for poops and giggles.

  11. Bravo Redskins… Kirk has NOT shown enough to warrant that kind of money. He gets flustered under pressure and throws picks. If Sudfeld isn’t ready to take the reins after this year, we still got McCoy. No one person is bigger than the team.

  12. Kirk Cousins: The quarterback our city needs, but not the one we deserve.

  13. The Redskins have had the same head coach and starting quarterback for 3 straight years. 4 is pretty much their limit. It’s been a good run.

  14. With all his current leverage, Cousins probably laughed them out of the room with that offer, and rightfully so. The team must think he is pretty stupid to sign that unfriendly of a deal. If I were in his shoes, I would definitely test the market in 2018.

  15. Yep, the QB market is officially exploding right in front of us. Kirk Cousins is now toying with his boss over tens of millions. And Cousins is clearly not “elite”.

    As a Lions fan, I sense trouble with Stafford’s situation. I see 5 years, 150M with 90M guaranteed as a legit possibility if Quinn is so enamored with him as stated. If it’s not done by November, they will seek a Hershel Walker type trade. They won’t be tagging him.

  16. The management is incompetent, the fanbase basically delusional. These two were made for each other.

    And neither deserve Captain Kirk

  17. At least we know know how stupid the Washington football team is.
    2018 –> transition tag will be served and when he signs with another team; they get nothing in return.

    they are better of not tagging him, letting another team sign him to a huge deal and getting a comp pick. But knowing how the team operates, they will probably overpay for some over the hill players and eliminate any chance of getting any comp picks.

  18. So glad the Bucs got rid of Bruce Allen and stuck him with the Redskins, when he joined Gruden after our SB win they ran that franchise into the ground and just now are finally getting out of all those terrible choices, and wasted picks.

  19. It will be interesting to see the effect in the locker room when Cousins leaves next year

  20. So the team doesn’t want Cousins long-term, apparently, or they would have made a better offer. I think Bruce Allen has REALLY outsmarted himself on this one. When we look at the $ they’ve spent on so many free agents in the last 20 years, what on earth are they thinking? There’s nobody on the roster even close to him, and no free agents of any value, and if they draft a guy, it’ll take time to develop him. So they’re basically done for 3-4 yrs. When they have a Pro Bowl guy right there.

  21. Guess I’m having a bit of a hard time understanding what is so terrible with the Redskin’s offer. Cousins would get $53 mil. guaranteed for 2 years, which is the tender offer for those 2 years. The 4 “non guaranteed years” would still have to be paid if the Redskins retained him, if they don’t, he’s a free agent. And chances are, they would restructure after 2 years anyway in order to dip into the “Bank of Kirk” in order to make cap room, which basically guarantees at least one more year. Doesn’t sound like a terrible deal to me. But if he really doesn’t want to be there, then no amount of money will change his mind.

  22. He could just retire. He’s made WAY more money in 5 years than he ever could have possibly dreamed of making.

    Put it all in 5 year CDs (about 6 to 750K in interest,) and some Bonds and live on the beach.

    But, regardless of how he plays this year or even if he gets hurt at a minimum he will get another 15 mil next year and a max 72 or whatever near that if he’s healthy and plays near the same as the last 2 years.

    He might just make Sam Bradford money as a 4th rounder who plays the 8-8 game. Can’t believe how stupid Washington was to get into this position.

    I wonder if the Redskins will start subbing in scrub lineman to get ‘experience’ at the end of the year?

  23. If you’re Cleveland or San Francisco, this could be an opportunity for you to trade for Cousins now and ‘rent’ him for the year. Might give you an inside track to signing him after 2018.

  24. REMEMBER cousins is the guy who could have won a game at home, vs a div opponent (ny giants), to get his team into the playoffs. but instead he threw a couple picks including a back breaker near the end of the game.

    yeah he’s worth a long term deal with lotsa guaranteed money

    said fans of eagles, giants and cowboys

  25. I’d love to see Washington do well enough this year (playoff win/s) that they have to use the exclusive tag next year again on Cousins. Love to see them totally screw this up yet once again.

  26. Washington is going to win 8 games this year, killing their chance at a high draft pick (for a qb), Kirk will get signed by SF, and Washington will be stuck with Hoyer, Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez, or Osweiler.

  27. In 2016, Kirk Cousins was:
    3rd in passing yards
    6th in QB Rating (ESPN)
    8th in Completion %
    6th in TD’s
    and had less INT’s than 14 other QB’s (that include Luck, Rivers, Manning, Brees, Palmer, Newton, and Big Ben).

    The Redskins were 12th in points scored, 3rd in yardage, 2nd in passing yardage(!), and 21st in rushing yardage.

    I’m not sure what Washington is waiting for.

    You have your QB. Build a defense and find a run game. Geez.

  28. what’s in it for the player to sign on for unguaranteed years? I mean, why bother if the owner can simply cancel at any time after the guaranteed money has been paid? Do the owners really offer that much up front to make it worth while?

  29. From what I’ve seen of Cousins, he’s an average QB. If you’re Dan Snyder you put your chips in on this guy? I think not. Pay him for this year and let him prove that he can play. Then talk.


  31. As a Skins fan, the FO (Allen) butchered this situation.. The way I see it, we have 4 options…

    Explore a trade to SF now – 2nd and 4th?

    Explore a trade to Rams – Cousins for Goff?

    Explore a trade to Detroit – Cousins and a 3rd for Stafford?

    Let Cousins play this yr and get NOTHING for him

    *I’m intrigued with Detroit. TheLions are going to have a hard time signing Stafford long term and Cousins is a Michigan native and would hopefully sign long term there. Could it work?

  32. None of the above. They’ll transition-tag him, let the bidding war ensue, then let him go for the picks. Snyder hats Shanahan and the 49ers, so he’s looking to hurt them any way he can. Allen is just the guy who does what Snyder tells him to do.

  33. Prior to hiring McCloughan, the Redskins went 28-52 with Bruce Allen running the player personnel show. With “leadership” like this, it’s bound to get worse.

  34. I expect the Deadskins to tank the season, clean house, and draft a QB with a high round draft pick. At least that is what that offer tells me.

  35. Cousins puts up great #s but doesn’t make his team substantially better, that is a trait of a great QB and Cousin’s just doesn’t have it. Cousin’s is more than serviceable but in a way I can’t blame the Redskins..

  36. >> it’s that long-term deals don’t work for the players, beyond the first couple of years.

    Long Term deals might not work out if the cap keeps rising 10% a year. Except the cap might not rise so fast, and the player may get hurt. It’s a question of mitigating risk. Do I want the maximum possible pay, or am I willing to take less for some degree of security?

    If a player wants the maximum, a team will not guarantee or commit to that for 6 years, with the possible exception of a HOF QB, since those have such a huge impact on the game and are so rare.

    2 guaranteed years and 4 one year team options seem a lot less than Cousins can make on the open market next year.

  37. All of you people that are saying Cousins sucks are people that haven’t watched him play much. You’re the same people that would have said Matt Ryan was overrated a year ago. Since Cousins has taken over the full-time job as Washingtons QB, he is the 2nd highest rated QB in the NFL, only to Tom Brady. Over the past 2 years, he has had the number 31 and 28 defenses in the NFL. Last year, his leading rusher had 750 yards and no one else had 500 yards. He’s also had a lack of depth at the WR position and he plays for a dysfunctional organization. Put the kid in a place where he has a shot to succeed, then let’s see what happens. He’s earned the money though. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers – none of them would have won a Superbowl with the team he had.

  38. And the team leaks to the media that they offered $53 million signing bonus and he turned it down!!??!?! It’s dirty but teams still negotiate with the player through the media, via the uneducated fan who says, that player is so greedy!!

  39. Mass dysfunction in Washington…NFC East loves it and they will be cellar dwellars for the next 5 years as Dallas wins a couple of SB’s.

  40. What’s amazing is that Bruce Allen’s disclosure of his contract offer may actually be his undoing. He announced to the world he is a complete and total incompetent. Granted, the world already knew–but Snyder didn’t and if Snyder ever reads the newspaper again this may serve to finally clue him in.

    Best case for Washington: fire Bruce Allen and give Cousins a new deal after the season (when they can again) that gives him the money he would make on the open market.

    Also, Washington should forget about using the transition tag. If they do that he’s gone. They are going to have to pay him $34 million next year on the franchise tag.

  41. Colt McCoy = 4 years in Grudens system
    Mate Sudfeld= 3 years in system
    Of neither of these guys can check down a ball to Reed or Crowder the way Cousins does the coach isn’t doing his job. Kirk is not elite, he pay shouldn’t be either!!!

  42. So he turned down $53 million guaranteed over 2 years from the Redskins and you think he made the right call. OK.

    Take the $53 million and run Kirk.

  43. I’ve watched him play…he aint that great. He would have been worth journeyman money, maybe a bit more ($17-20M); he’s nowhere near the ability, potential or value of the QBs who currently command mid-20s. He may be the best thing *they’ve* seen in decades, but that doesn’t warrant crowning him as “one of the best”.

  44. As long as Snyder is your owner, your team will be losers. My owner is a dope, by at least he hired the guy that got my Cowboys 3 super bowls in 4 years! I hope Snyder lives a loooooong life!

  45. No one talks about how much the Redskins were offering for those final 4 years. Was it 25 million per year? 20 million? what?

  46. From the comments here, it appears that very few people have ever been in a negotiation. Your best offer is rarely the first offer you make. The fact that Cousins never countered says a lot. What it doesn’t say is that the Skins were forcing him to take 2 years guaranteed and 4 years non, it was a starting point. They clearly were waiting for a response from Counsins and never got one. There could be a couple of possible reasons:

    1) He really doesn’t want to play long term in Washington.
    2) He didn’t want to take the chance that if he countered and they accepted it, he would then be committed to the Skins.

  47. lol Idiot Steelers fan, Pats don’t need Brady to own your asses, that’s just what you prefer to believe.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.