Kirk Cousins Unlikely To Take Hometown Discount For Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins is about to hit the free agent market. He may re-sign with the Washington Redskins, but it will not be at a discounted rate.
Anyone who was holding out hope for Kirk Cousins to re-sign with the Washington Redskins for a hometown discount has to be upset with the news that broke on Tuesday afternoon. According to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, Cousins is not considering a hometown discount for the Redskins, even after blowing a chance to make the playoffs in the final weeks of the season. Cousins is looking to get the full market value, and said the following about his free agency per Steinberg.
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I’ve got to preface this by saying I’m not trying to suck out every dollar possible. That’s just not the kind of guy I am or the way I’m going to approach it. I understand, like Scot McCloughan understands, like Jay Gruden understands, it’s all about winning football games. To have a platform to make a difference ultimately, which is what I want to do with my life, we’ve got to win football games. When you’re highly paid and your losing, no one really cares what you have to say. First of all, I think a lot of it goes down to the percentage of the salary cap. If the salary cap was much, much higher, then quarterbacks could make much, much more and it wouldn’t hurt the team. So the cap is really determining everything, so it’s not so much a dollar amount as it is a percentage of the cap. How much of the apple are you really taking, regardless of the dollar amount that it is? That percentage is what my agent has always, and will always, focus on and negotiate off of. That’s what he’s explained to me.
Secondly, there are other quarterbacks that come after you, and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in position to have a contract. If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them, and you’re setting them back as well. So, there’s different reasons and you do the best you can. Frankly, once you sign the contract, there’s no law saying you can’t renegotiate. If you sign the deal and you end up coming away from two seasons saying, ‘Hey, not only did we not win, but I think the reason is that I’m taking too much,’ then you can always talk about changing that. But I don’t see a need to do that on the front end. If you can win football games and play well and play at a high level still making a fair number, then why do you need to predetermine that and go down? I think for all those reasons you want to find your value and then be able to play off that accordingly.
Obviously, Cousins had a lot to say about the potential contract. This is likely something that he has been holding back for most of the season, but now is getting out prior to the offseason.
Cousins Most Definitely Has A Point
The best point that Cousins makes is about the cap. He is absolutely correct that the actual dollar value of any deal is not really what matters. The cap percentage and guaranteed money are the most important. If Cousins were to sign a long term deal with the Redskins, he could ensure that the deal was backloaded to improve the cap number in the first couple of years.
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Then, as time goes on, he could restructure non-guaranteed money into bonuses that would decrease the cap number in the future. Tom Brady has done this multiple times for the New England Patriots, sacrificing incentives for fully guaranteed money. Thus, there is little incentive for either side to pursue a major hometown discount, as it could cause problems down the line when attempting to restructure. Established players often are willing to take a pay cut years after they get a big contract. Cousins would not be much different.
Also, it seems like Cousins would be open to changing his deal if necessary. He obviously cares about winning, and does not want his contract to become an albatross. Like he said, if he feels like his contract is impeding the team’s success, like Andrew Luck‘s has caused the Indianapolis Colts problems, he could explore restructuring. However, that would not be until at least a couple years down the line.
In terms of Cousins’ responsibility to the quarterback market, that is not really a big deal. It is not like the Redskins are trying to shave a whole lot of salary off of his deal. Realistically, the least he could get per year is $20 million. Still, it seems likely that the five year, $110 million deal that Aaron Rodgers signed with the Green Bay Packers would be a great framework for both sides. Cousins would get paid while not demanding to be the highest paid quarterback in the league. It make a lot of sense.
All that said, monitoring the Cousins extension will be the biggest storyline of the offseason for the Redskins. Cousins has proven that he can lead the team, but will the two sides agree on a favorable deal? Stay tuned.