Soon after Brock Osweiler agreed to a four year, $72 million contract, a fellow member of the quarterback draft class of 2012 chimed in with a congratulatory tweet:
@bosweiler17 YOU LIKE THAT! Happy for ya!— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) March 9, 2016
No question that Cousins is happy for Osweiler, who was drafted in the second round, 45 spots ahead of Cousins who went in the fourth. Players who come out together frequently get to know one another after spending time at events like the combine.
But Cousins joy over Osweiler’s $18 million per year deal are not completely out of comradery. He has a dog on the fight.
Cousins is currently working on the franchise tag, which will pay him just under $20 million this year. But he is also able to negotiate a long-term deal with the Redskins. One of the main forces that drives NFL salaries is what other players at the same position are making. With Osweiler, who was on the bench behind Peyton Manning for three years before making seven starts when Manning was injured and/or ineffective, getting that nice payday, Cousins’ case for getting a big deal is strengthened considerably.
Comparing the stats of the two quarterbacks, Cousins had a better completion percentage (69.8% for Cousins to 61.8%), a better average yards per attempt (7.7 to 7.1) and a better passer rating (101.6 to 86.4). Cousins’ agent will certainly bring this information along with the contract details of Osweiler and Sam Bradford, who signed a deal that was also worth $18 million per year and had a worse year than did Cousins.
So how will this affect the ability of the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal by the July 15 deadline? It probably doesn’t help. As best we can tell the Redskins are offering about $16 million per year and Cousins’ camp wants closer to the $20 million he’s getting on the one-year franchise tag. After seeing the two recent deals there certainly is no reason for Cousins to come down substantially. So if the Redskins aren’t willing to go up much—and they might not be willing to do so based on one year os good play out of Cousins—the quarterback could well end up playing on the franchise tag and we will start the whole process over again in February of 2017.