In the next four days, we will have a level of clarification concerning the relationship between Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins.
If the two sides reach an agreement on a long-term contract for the quarterback by the July 17 deadline to do so or play the 2017 season under a $24 million franchise tag, then we will know that there was, at the very least, a level of respect between the two sides that paved over what had been a rocky road toward a long-term relationship – or maybe at least enough money to ignore such issues as respect.
However, as difficult as this may be to believe, money may not matter when it comes to ignoring respect, trust, and other quaint character notions that we have come to dismiss in such contract negotiations.
Cousins told WAVY radio in Michigan recently that money will not dictate his decision. “I never want to play football thinking about money,” he said. “I think that you get in trouble doing that. I put my confidence in the Lord, in my faith. If I’m going to build my life [based] on money, shame on me. That’s not where I draw my security from, never should be. My parents didn’t raise me that way.
“So I’m not going to make it about money before franchise tags. I’m not going to make it about money now. I’m going to play, trust the Lord to provide and to protect and lead. And He’ll do what he wants to do regardless of my desires or my plans. He’s going to accomplish his purposes, I’m going to trust him and put my security there and let that lead wherever it leads.”
Of course, there will be those who will dismiss Cousin’s high-minded claims about money not driving his decision. They will say it is always about money.
Almost always. I think we may have in Cousins the one case where it is not money.
I go back to what I wrote about Cousins in January. His message has not changed since he wrote his 2013 book, “Game Changer,” when he recounted his anger about being drafted by Washington in the fourth round, behind first-rounder Robert Griffin III.
“As I reflect now on the draft and think about what I lost by going in the fourth round … it’s really only two things: money and ego…I’ve had to ask myself the question, ‘Is money more important to me than it should be?’”
Cousins referred to a sermon he heard from a pastor the first night of the 2012 draft. “It’s when we are uncomfortable that we really see the need to rely on God and see the Holy Spirit work,” he wrote. “While my current football situation leaves me unsure of what the future holds, I do know who holds my future. My life verse … is Proverbs 3:5-6. Those two verses are not theory to me. They are my life. I am counting on the fact that God has a plan for me, and that he will unfold it as I seek to follow him.”
This is what Proverbs 3:5-6 — Cousins’ life — says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
“The Bible is my playbook for life,” Cousins wrote. “I agree with Abraham Lincoln, who wrote, ‘I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. … it is the best book that God has given to man.”
If we are to believe Cousins – and I do – it means if he signs with the Redskins, it will be for reasons other than money.
I’m sorry, but what NFL player who has walked the Earth has signed a Redskins contract under the reign of owner Daniel Snyder for a reason other than money?
Stability? Pride? Winning tradition?
Money may be the reason Cousins doesn’t sign a contract offer from Washington, if such an offer is not market competitive. But even if the money is there, Cousins may say no, because if you are looking for reasons to play for this franchise other than money, it is a blank sheet of paper.
• Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network