Kirk Cousins has faced the question throughout the offseason — whether it’s after a practice during organized team activities, at teammate Ryan Kerrigan’s golf tournament or during a brief media session in between reps at the youth football camp he hosted last month.
Will Cousins and the Redskins reach an agreement on a long-term contract or will he play the 2016 season under the $19.95 million franchise tag the team applied in March?
“I’ve basically got those two questions 47 times this offseason,” Cousins said after OTAs in May when asked about the status of his contract and if he’s been involved in negotiations.
“I appreciate the question, it’s a good question. Really, I think everything I could possibly say on the matter of the contract has already been said. I’m positive, very confident, that when or if something gets done you guys will be notified, by the Redskins or by my agent. So stay tuned, but I really don’t have anything to add to what’s already been said.”
The answer to that question, finally, will come by Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline. If the two sides can’t work out a deal, Cousins will play the season under the tag — something he has seemed content with since the day he signed the franchise-tag tender almost immediately after it was designated, rather than dragging out the situation.
Cousins enjoyed a breakout season after he was named the starter in 2015 and led the Redskins to a 9-7 record and the playoffs. He set the Redskins’ single-season record with 4,166 yards, threw 29 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions and rushed for five touchdowns.
Throughout the offseason, general manager Scot McCloughan has strongly expressed his desire to keep Cousins in Washington as the team’s quarterback. Likewise, Cousins has expressed his commitment to the Redskins and has made it clear this is where he wants to play long-term.
That said, there was no real pressure for Cousins and his agent, Mike McCartney, to rush to an agreement with the Redskins on a long-term deal unless they got the offer they desired. Should Cousins improve his play in 2016, he’ll position himself for more lucrative contract offers next offseason — a bet he seems willing to make.
“As you know, in this league, nothing is promised to you,” Cousins said at Kerrigan’s golf tournament in May. “So whether it’s a one-year deal or a 10-year deal, you’ve got to go out and prove it every game and every year. I feel very stabilized in my role and just excited to take advantage of the opportunity that I have before me, which is a phenomenal opportunity.”