A lot of Redskins fans were encouraged when Kirk Cousins broke out into praise of almost everything Redskins when talking about his prospects for a new contract earlier this week.
“I feel good about our owner, he’s done a good job communicating this offseason with me, and the same with Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff, our coaches," he told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation on Wednesday.
I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up but bottom line, I’m in a good place right now and we’ll go win a lot of football games,”
NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHICH TEAM HAD THE BEST OFFSEASON?
This is not the first time we have heard such talk from Cousins in recent weeks. Last month he was on a podcast with Peter King of TheMMQB.com.
“This is an incredible fan base; it’s one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from,” he told King.
“I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere.”
Saying “I love this organization” and talking about a desire to return the team to the glory days is quite a leap from the cold response he gave to a question about his future in Washington asked right after the Redskins’ season ended.
“It’s really not my decision to make,” he said. “They chose to tag me and the same is true this year, so if they don’t choose to tag me then I think that question is answered at that point, but right now the ball’s not in my court.”
It should be noted that this question came minutes after a gut-wrenching loss and the outcome had been sealed when Cousins threw a late interception. But the comments were in line with what he said often in the previous several months when asked about his future in Washington. It sounded like he would only stay if forced to via a second application of the franchise tag.
So, should Cousins’ recent change of tone be taken as a sign that the persistent reports that he is very reluctant to commit to staying with the Reskins are no longer valid? Has he changed his mind?
MORE REDSKINS: COUSINS NAMED TO 2017 NFL TOP 100
Circumstances have changed since Cousins said that staying wasn’t his decision to make. Gruden got an extension and he is now under contract through the 2020 season. As he approaches his age 29 season he may be growing reluctant to pull up stakes and start all over again
But all the positive talk is just that, talk. Showing a desire to stay in Washington increases his leverage. It may all be a negotiating tactic.
In addition, no matter what happens on Cousins’ end a deal will not get done if the Redskins don’t come forward with a serious offer.
The last reported offer made by the Redskins was about $20 million per year. Considering that Cousins’ salary this year is nearly $24 million and the next tag will net him anywhere from $28 million to $34 million, that’s not an offer that is going to make anything happen.
So, while it is better for Cousins to be talking up the Redskins organization than it is for him to be utterly non-committal there is still a long way to go until a long-term contract might be signed.
It still would be surprising if a deal got done by the July 15 deadline.
MORE REDSKINS: 2017 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE