It’s not often that a starting quarterback does a nearly hourlong interview less than 24 hours after a pivotal moment in his relationship with his team.
Months ago, however, 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier had scheduled Kirk Cousins, who has a deal with the station, to come on for a long-ranging interview. On the show Tuesday, Cousins reacted to the Redskins’ decision from the day before to publicly reveal the unsuccessful offer they made this spring to try to sign him long-term.
The interview was thorough and revealing and worth listening to in full, but here are the main takeaways.
1. Cousins wanted to wait.
Last year, Cousins felt the Redskins wanted to see more from him. This year, he wanted to see more from them, which is one main reason his side didn’t make a counteroffer after the Redskins made theirs on May 2.
“We just didn’t feel good about the counteroffer simply because the need for more time,” Cousins said.
Cousins mentioned that there have been a number of changes within the organization lately. There was the dismissal of Scot McCloughan, the restructuring of the front office, and an overhaul of the coaching staff. Not all of that is necessarily bad — Cousins glowingly described his relationship with Jay Gruden and seemed excited to work with him as a play-caller — but Cousins was happy to play on another one-year contract for $24 million and wait and see.
2. There was no number high enough.
The Redskins offer from May significantly low-balled Cousins but, according to Cousins, that didn’t really matter.
“The fact of the matter is that there probably wasn’t a number [to agree on] because at the end of the day it wasn’t about money,” Cousins said.
Cousins said that, if his sole priority had been maximizing his financial gain, he and his agent would have sent a sky-high counteroffer to the Redskins, but they chose not to do that. Again, this reflects the fact that he wants to see how things go this season, as well as a desire to test free agency and learn his value that way.
3. Cousins wasn’t totally blindsided by Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday.
When the Redskins president revealed some details of the offer the team made Cousins in a statement Monday, it seemed like an attempt to vilify Cousins and paint him as greedy.
Cousins said that he knew the team was going to address the situation and that some offer details would come out, and that it didn’t bother or offend them.
“I understand where [Allen] and the organization are coming from,” Cousins said.
Overall, Cousins didn’t display an ounce of bitterness toward the team. While some of that may be calculated, Cousins could have spat back after Allen’s statement Monday had he been incensed by it. That’s not really Cousins’ style, though. He managed to take the high road while also smoothing out perception of his relationship with the team.
4. He doesn’t think a third franchise tag is out of the question.
The main question is whether, after Monday, how much hope still exists for Cousins and the Redskins to maintain a constructive relationship. Take this with a grain of salt, because Cousins needs to be diplomatic, but he said he sees a long-term deal next year, or another season on the franchise tag, as legitimate possibilities.
“It has always been my first choice to be with the Redskins,” Cousins said.
Cousins, who displayed a deep knowledge of the salary cap and NFL contract structures throughout the interview, pointed out that if the cap continues to go up then, “while that number seems high right now, maybe it isn’t.”
“If I’m getting tagged a third time, that means this season went really, really well, and that’d be a beautiful thing,” Cousins said.
5. Cousins doesn’t care that Allen calls him “Kurt.”
If you didn’t already know, Allen has a funny habit of mispronouncing his starting quarterback’s name. Cousins took the high road on that one, too.
“I really don’t [care],” Cousins said. “I’ve been called Kurt my entire life … different teachers and instructors that would call me Kurt, K-U-R-T.”
Poor Kurt. Kirk, on the other hand, seems to be doing just fine.