After watching a division rival pay a king’s ransom to take a chance on a rookie quarterback, Washington GM Scot McCloughan has probably been reminded of the value of a reliable signal caller. Apparently, contract talks between the team and its starting QB are going rather well. McCloughan says talks on a long term-extension with Kirk Cousins are “positive,” as Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com writes. The GM added that he thinks a deal is within reach between now and the deadline.
Washington used the franchise tag to cuff Cousins last month and the QB subsequently inked the ~$20MM tender. However, both sides are interested in working out a long-term deal and they’ll have less than two months between now and the July 15 deadline to make something happen. Cousins reportedly wants a “legitimate” franchise quarterback offer before he considers signing a long-term deal with Washington. That would suggest that he’s seeking a big money deal with fiscal security rather than something like the deals signed by Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton, which carry considerable cash but are lacking in the way of guarantees.
It is now perhaps more imperative than ever for Washington to sign Cousins to a long-term deal. Days ago, Washington shook hands with cornerback Josh Norman on a deal which will carry a $20MM cap hit in 2017. If Washington were to exercise the franchise tag on Cousins next season at $24MM, more than 25% of its cap space would be dedicated to two players.
Cousins, 27, became Washington’s full-time starting quarterback for the first time last season, earning 16 of his 25 career starts in 2015. The four-year veteran finished the regular season on a tear, completing 74% of his passes for nearly 1,200 yards, 12 touchdowns, and a 134.0 quarterback rating over the final four weeks of the year.
That end-of-season run helped Cousins cement his standing as a quarterback Washington couldn’t afford to lose, but his first 12 games weren’t too bad either. For the season, Cousins thew 29 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, led the league in completion percentage (69.8%), and helped Washington win its first division title since 2012.
Cousins is represented by agent Mike McCartney.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.