As reported by ESPN, the Washington Redskins and Kirk Cousins have broken off contract talks as the two sides are “not close” in early discussions. Also according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, both sides do not plan on reopening discussions and no further talks have been scheduled. After taking over for Robert Griffin III In 2015, Cousins led the Redskins to a 9-7 record and an NFC-East Division title, before losing in the divisional round to the Green Bay Packers.
Now, the question becomes what will the Redskins do? Here are their options:
1. Let Him Walk
Definitely not the ideal move. Redskins fans have fallen in love with Kirk Cousins, as the due-to-be fifth-year man out of Michigan State has taken this franchise from rock bottom to prominence after Robert Griffin III did not work out in the nation’s capital. By letting Cousins go to free agency, the Redskins would again have to go through the grueling process of drafting, developing, and molding a young quarterback into their system. This process failed with RG3 and after years of development, it finally paid off with Cousins. The 2015 season saw Cousins develop some significant chemistry with tight end Jordan Reed and the revitalized wideout DeSean Jackson. By letting Cousins go, the Redskins would be back at phase one and would likely sink right back into mediocrity, as today’s NFL completely revolves around the teams who have solid quarterbacks (New England, Green Bay, Carolina, Seattle).
2. Franchise Tag
According to Adam Schefter, Cousins receiving the team’s lone franchise tag it is not a “foregone conclusion.” However, who else is the team really going to use it on? Cousins is the Redskins top due-to-be free agent and he is the anchor of this team’s offense. In 2015, the Redskins had absolutely no running game as both Alfred Morris and Matt Jones were extremely inconsistent. Cousins provided the Redskins some offense when they most desperately needed it in 2015 and has become the face of this team. Franchise tagging Cousins would cost the Redskins about $20 mil for a one-year contract, so it is very odd that the Redskins have broken off negotiations and are not trying to lower the price. If it comes down to it, however, franchise tagging Cousins is the right move as it will allow this team to stay relevant in the NFC-East for the time being rather than starting over at the 2016 NFL Draft.
Either way, Kirk Cousins will likely be a very paid man in the coming months whether his check is signed by the Redskins, Texans, Jets, or Broncos, as he is the top quarterback in this year’s free agent class. Washington will likely end up tagging Cousins, but right now, nailing down Cousins to a long-term deal in the coming weeks may not happen if both sides keep their feet in the mud. The Redskins have until March 1st to place the franchise tag on Cousins.