Former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan was on a Denver radio station recently.
In case you haven’t heard, many Broncos fans are very anxious for their team to bring in Kirk Cousins to be their quarterback. They likely were looking for McCloughan, who was the GM in Washington for the first two years that Cousins was the starter, to give the QB a ringing endorsement.
They didn’t get one.
“He’s a good player,” McCloughan said on 104.3 The Fan (via Mile High Huddle). “Is he special? I don’t see special.”
For the Broncos, “good” would be an improvement. They got starts from Trevor Simeon, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch last year. All three of them had passer ratings in the low 70’s and as a group, they threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
But the issue is that Cousins is likely to command a contract that is more in the range of “special” quarterbacks. He may not get the $30 million per year free agent deal that is being talked about, but his next deal won’t be too far south of it.
McCloughan said that they were trying to help Cousins succeed.
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“We were still building a roster around him to make him special,” he said.
He said that Cousins is talented, and he works hard but he needs more to make a team successful.
“You just need to have some talent around him because you don’t want him to be throwing the ball 35-40 times to win the game,” McCloughan said.
“You want to have a running game and have a good defense, good teams. And then let him do what he does.”
But the question is, can you pay Cousins, say, $27 million per year, a salary that would be about 15 percent of this year’s salary cap, and still be able to afford to build that running game and defense? Will the team signing him be able to bring in free agents to bolster weak areas and re-sign its home-grown talent?
That is what John Elway, who calls the shots in Denver, will have to figure out. Cousins is not the only possible solution to the Broncos’ QB problem.
They have the No. 5 pick in the draft and a prime quarterback prospect is likely to be available. That would be a lower-cost option, but even highly-drafted quarterbacks don’t always work out. Elway might prefer the relative certainty of going with a more proven commodity like Cousins.
Of course, the Redskins face the same dilemma. Their attempts to lock up Cousins really haven’t gone anywhere in part because they seem to be reluctant to pay elite quarterback money to a player who is, according to the man who lobbied for Cousins to get the starting job, good but not special.
The chances are that when free agency starts up in mid-March some team will give him the big deal (assuming the Redskins don’t hit him with the $35 million franchise tag) and gamble that they can make the rest of it work. We will see if it’s the Broncos, Redskins or another team.
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