Washington Redskins quarterback, Kirk Cousins, beat a lot of odds to be in the position he is today. He was drafted in the 4th round (102nd overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, with the expectations of him solidifying his spot on the roster as a backup qb. This was all because in the same draft the Redskins sold their souls to get qb Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. After six years in the NFL, Cousins has been able to show that he can be a starting quarterback in the league, but one thing he hasn’t shown is that he can be elite. Considering his play last season and depending on how he does this season, as well as his attitude heading into the off season, I think Washington has some questions that need to be addressed regarding their qb position.
Over the past two seasons the one issue that has come up is if the Redskins’ organization should pay Kirk the money he believed he deserved. Each of these seasons resulted in Cousins taking a one year franchise tag from the organization. Any person from the outside could look at his stats and think, “Why wouldn’t the Redskins want to pay him?” He’s had multiple accomplishments that have helped him solidify his place as a top contender in the NFL. On paper, Cousins is a guy that stands out amongst other qbs around the league; however, with that being said, he just doesn’t stand out enough.
You Like That? Maybe…
After the Redskins beat the Packers last season in what was fairly considered an upset, Cousins asked Redskins GM Scot McCloughan, “How you like me now?” which some interpreted into him addressing concerns about his contract extension heading into next season. You could see in his face at the time that he was serious, considering that he had stated that he deserved more than what the average quarterbacks around the league were receiving. At that point in time, I didn’t really know how to feel about Cousins and his contract. One thing you can’t take away from him is that he is a competitor and loves what he does. Nonetheless, in my eyes he has only done enough to show that he can hold on to games, not win them, and that is why I consider him a step below elite.
While there are always rumors about Cousins and how he personally feels about the Redskins organization, I try not to let those affect the way I feel about him and his contract negotiations, and I try to make my decisions strictly based on football. For example, there is always talk in the off season about Kirk potentially wanting a trade because his negotiations never work out. When it comes to football, in situations where Cousins has a chance to step up and show he deserves the money he wants, he often falls short. One game that stuck out to me was when the Redskins took on the Giants in the final home game last season. This game was the deciding factor for the Redskins season; if they won they were the final wild card seed for the playoffs. To make matters worse, the Giants had already solidified their place in the playoffs, so ultimately, the game really didn’t matter whether they won or lost. With 1:27 left in the 4th quarter and the Redskins driving and not looking too bad, all was ended abruptly when Cousins’ pass over deep middle intended for Pierre Garcon was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It was a horrible decision. One that you could say would separate the good from the average.
Not only was I in attendance at that game, but I also believe that I felt what everyone else in that stadium felt in regards to Kirk Cousins at that time. That being that Cousins is an elite backup, but an average qb and in the end he doesn’t deserve a lucrative contract based on his crunch time performances. Think about it like this, most elite quarterbacks go between the first and second rounds, and not every late round pick is Tom Brady, and not every third round pick is Russell Wilson (who was also drafted in 2012). Just like Kirk Cousins, all qbs drafted during these rounds beat a lot of odds to be considered elite, but in the end, they were able to show that they deserved any contract they were given—Kirk has not.
At this point, if Kirk is no longer part of the Redskins’ organization next season, I am fine with that. I think whatever team that gives him the contract he is looking for is cashing in too many marbles for a quarterback that hasn’t proved himself. On the flip side, with the history of the Redskins’ misfortunes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were the guy to turn a whole franchise around. Washington has been known to have that happen with players almost as if it’s an unsaid curse. Considering what happened to Robert Griffin’s career after the Redskins drafted him, I don’t think the Redskins should go out of their way to ever get a qb that early any time soon. However, I do think the Redskins should review their options based on Cousins’ attitude this season and off season in which he may switch his stance toward his contract, elect to part ways, or show us that he does deserve the money he is asking for. Either way, his play has to get better in order for the Redskins to make it to the next level, especially after week one of this season, in which Cousins still left me scratching my head with some of his decision making. Luckily, it was only the first week and hopefully he can get past it and step up in week two, as any elite qb would be able to do.