Scot McCloughan on Kirk Cousins: “I don’t see special”

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Former Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan spent a lot of time around Brett Favre, Russell Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck and Alex Smith during stints with the 49ers and Seahawks. McCloughan said he didn’t spend as much time around Kirk Cousins in his two years in Washington.

Still, McCloughan questions whether Cousins is “special.”

“He’s a good player,” McCloughan told Denver radio station 104.3 The Fan, via the Washington Post. “Is he special? I don’t see special. But also, we were still building a roster around him to make him special. Jay Gruden does a great job play-calling. [Former Washington offensive coordinator-turned-Rams coach] Sean McVay did a great job play-calling to put him in positions to be successful. He’s talented. Talent is good at quarterback in the NFL. He’s won games. I know his record overall is not over .500. I know he has not won a playoff game. But he’s competitive. He works his tail off. He’s so methodical. Every day he has planned out. He’s always in the building; he’s always watching tape; he’s always talking to coaches; he was talking to me. From the standpoint of the tangibles, they’re excellent. You just need to have some talent around him because you don’t want him to be throwing the ball 35 to 40 times to win the game. You want to have a running game, have a good defense, good [special] teams, and then let him do what he does.”

Cousins’ future remains in doubt, with Washington in a bind. The franchise tag for a third consecutive year is cost prohibitive, so the team likely either keeps him with a long-term deal or he goes elsewhere in free agency.

“The thing about it is, when I was there, we tried to get a long-term deal done and were unable to do it,” McCloughan said. “He’s respected in the building. He’s a really good football player; he’s a leader; he’s a smart guy; he does everything right. But he has all the leverage now. . . . If they tag him for a third time, that’s $34 million for one season. It’s good if you’ve got a guy that you know can win a world championship for you, but it affects the other guys, teammates, because of contracts. You’re investing so much money in one position, you’re going to lose some good players, some good young players, and that, from a GM standpoint, that’s how you have to look at it. You’d love to have him. I’m sure they’d love to have him back for another year. He’s had three solid seasons in a row, but it’s a huge investment, and it’s going to affect the team.”

27 responses to “Scot McCloughan on Kirk Cousins: “I don’t see special”

  1. Funny because when he took that job this is exactly what I said he thought of him, and he’s right. He tried to stack the roster to hide how mediocre he is past his numbers, but Bruce Allen, the politician, had other plans and ran him out of town.

  2. When they win, the team wins. When it is poor results “I know his record overall is not over .500. I know he has not won a playoff game.”

  3. He’s correct, Cousins is nothing special. Other QBs have put up good numbers and not won (Jay Cutler I’m looking at you). It seems as though Cousins always finds a way to screw up with a game on the line.

  4. Is that the same Scot McCloughan that chose Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers? He’s not the only personnel guy that favored Smith, but it might be a while before he’s considered a QB guru.

  5. Is that the same Scot McCloughan that chose Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers?
    Actually it was Mike Nolan that made the call back in 2005 to draft Aaron Rodgers. I think McCloughan as the Director of Player Personnel at the time. Nolan was the GM and he’s the one that personally interviewed the QBs. He was the one that said he detected a whiff of attitude from Aaron Rodgers; which is one of the reasons he went with Alex Smith.

  6. I am going with he IS special.


    David Carr, Marcus Mariota, Eli…JetsQB, BillsQB, Denver….AZ…Cin…Cleve..etc etc

    None of that looked too special either.

  7. Kirk Cousins may not be special as a football player…but he’s truly special at working the franchise tag system.

    Kirk is the only person in football history to watch his price increase despite a decrease in his performance. It’s truly remarkable!!!

    While other players that get franchise tagged always succumb and take a deal that is less than the tag value per year… Captain Kirk stood firm and will soon be the highest paid player in NFL history!

    The formula is simple…if you’re an NFL player and a team places you under the franchise tag, then negotiations start at a per year value of the average of the current tag and next year’s tag…

    Example of how Kirk outsmarted the system:

    Year one franchise tag was $19 mil…Does Kirk accept any deal at less than $19 mil per year? No…Does Kirk accept a deal that averages $19 mil per year? No… because he knows if a deal doesn’t get done, he’ll be franchise tagged again at $24 mil…so the logical thing to do is only accept a deal that averages $24 mil or more per year…

    Of course this doesn’t happen if Kirk is a sissy and afraid of getting hurt like the rest of the sissies in the NFL!!!

  8. Special or not, they have to be crazy if they pay him $34M next year. It’ll be interesting to see what his demands are or if he just goes to whoever will pay him the most money.

  9. He just described what pretty much every QB in the league needs to win. There are a lot of so called franchise QB’s that will be watching the playoffs this weekend. I really question what these guys are looking for when I hear things like this. Brees and the Saints were 7-9 the past 3 seasons before this one. If Cousins had the running game and defense Brees did this year I think he makes the playoffs. Because his name isn’t Brees however, he doesn’t get the respect.

  10. IF you sink $34 million in one position, then you’re not going to win because there will be no money left for offensive linemen. Just ask Russell Wilson how taking the remaining the cap space after paying the defense how much he appreciates having no linemen. It’s a good thing he’s mobile.

  11. It all depends for what price.

    If you are a team like the Jets, with no QB and facing uncertainty it may be worth paying 25MM/year for him.

    1 – you save having to use a first round pick or more

    2 – you save having to develop a QB

    3 – if the QB you draft doesn’t pan out you have to repeat the investment in picks in a couple of years

    4 – you can use the picks that you would have used on a QB on fixing the Oline

  12. Cousins is the perfect guy for a team with a strong defense and running game. Hey, how about he replaces Bortles? Then JAX will have a contender for several years. I expect JAX and NYJ, maybe MIN to come calling.

  13. Kirk Cousins is nothing special! He’s a beneficiary of scheme and play calling. He’s Jared Goff and Case keenum! If you call plays that get guys open on time and if you have everything around him, you will be fine! The problem is that most teams don’t get everything around their QB! Cousins cannot take a below average scheme and win games like a CAM Newton does with Mike Schula who has never been good as a coordinator/coach anywhere! What Jared Goff looks like with McVeigh tells you the effect of good playcalling has had for Cousins! Look what happened to Dalton when Gruden left Cincy!

    So Cousins is purely a system QB and he’s not going to elevate the talent level of the team! He’s simply a distributor of the call who executes the plays called. But when he plays better defenses, he gets exposed because things don’t go as planned!

  14. Kirk is not asking for 34 million dollars. 26 mil for 5 years and 4 of them guaranteed would get a deal. Does not change the percentage of the cap space and goes down after first year.

  15. @ Ray Brickhouse Every QB in the NFL is a system QB. They certainly do not draw out plays on the ground in the huddle.

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