On the same day Redskins GM Scot McCloughan explained that the team could use the franchise tag on free agent Kirk Cousins, the quarterback explained that he is keeping expectations in check as talks of a new contract move forward.
"I don’t have any expectations," Cousins said when asked his thoughts on a new contract. "I just go forward knowing that my job was to play football the best I could. Whatever I did on the field will speak for itself."
Earlier on Wednesday speaking at the Senior Bowl, McCloughan said that he wants Cousins to be a part of the Redskins before adding that the team will consider all options for a new contract (full video above). Asked about the franchise tag, Cousins recognizes that could be how things play out.
"It certainly is a possibility," Cousins said. "The team has that option. The ball's in their court, we’ll see what they choose to do."
Speaking Wednesday night at the Washington Auto Show, Cousins signed autographs for hundreds of Redskins fans. Many came with "You Like That" shirts and signs, a testament to the growth and new-found celebrity of Cousins.
"I feel good about the work we’ve put in the last year," he said.
And he should. In the 2015 season - his first as the uncontested starter - Cousins broke Redskins passing records en route to more than 4,100 yards and 29 TDs. The Skins also won the NFC East, much of that success brought on by the late season surge from their quarterback.
Regardless, Cousins knows the business of football doesn't allow for much time to be spent reflecting on accomplishments. McCloughan even said he will scout quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl, and it would not be a shock to some if Washington spent a later round draft pick on a developmental QB prospect.
"This league’s always going to be competitive," Cousins said of that possibility. "There's never any entitlement. You’ve got to prove yourself every day and every year."
For a guy that drives a hand-me-down conversion van and lives with his in-laws for parts of the offseason, Cousins' life is not about flash. His play on the field, and at times fiery competitive persona, may show another side to the soon-to-be very rich QB. Even if the Redskins can't reach a long-term deal with Cousins and he enters 2016 on a franchise tag, that contract would likely guarantee at least $19 million.
Still, Cousins is a down-to-earth person off the field, even if confronted with life-changing cash. Asked if he would shop for a new ride while at the Auto Show, Cousins said he would probably look around, but that his wife jokes he is often hesitant "to pull the trigger" on major purchases.
What kind of car does Kirk Cousins look for? Like any good Michigan native, Cousins said he likes to buy cars from Detroit.
"I've always liked American made cars," he said. "I've always been partial to American made."
Pressed for specifics, Cousins said he likes the Corvette and Viper. Buying one of those would certainly qualify as pulling the trigger, but it might depend on what the Redskins do first.