Redskins fans should get used to seeing No. 8 behind center for their team.
Even before yesterday’s win over the Bills there was a media report that the team wants to lock up Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal sooner rather than later and that the organization would be willing to use the franchise tag on him if necessary.
If the Redskins do decide to use the tag, the non-exclusive variety of that would pay Cousins over $19 million in 2016. Even the most ardent supporters of Jay Gruden’s decision to say, “It’s Kirk’s team” back in August would have had trouble saying that Cousins would be a near-$20 million quarterback.
Chances are that Cousins will end up making less than that on an annual basis but the Redskins will do what they have to do to lock him up. A deal likely will tie Cousins to the Redskins for at least two years and would guarantee Cousins something well north of the $19 million he would get with that franchise tag.
There are those who want to pump the brakes on bringing back Cousins, saying that the Redskins have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record this year with Cousins under center. That’s true but their opportunities to win such games have been extremely limited. they only had three such games on their schedule this year and they played the Patriots, Panthers, and Jets on the road. In fact, there are only 11 teams in the NFL that possess a winning record.
Let’s get some perspective here. Many of the same people who are preaching fiscal restraint with Cousins would have been happy to throw $20 million or more at Robert Griffin III after his 2012 rookie season. But the Redskins won just one game against a winning team that Griffin started and finished. That was against the 9-7 Giants at FedEx Field. The Redskins did beat the 10-6 Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl, at FedEx Field but Cousins came in for an injured Griffin and completed the tying drive, scoring the two-point conversion on a QB draw.
The point here is not to denigrate Griffin’s 2012 season. It was a great, magical year. It’s just to point out that the standard sometimes changes depending on the preconceived notions that some people hold.
One thing we are no longer hearing much from Cousins’ detractors is that he is a turnover machine and that the tendency to throw interceptions was ingrained in his DNA. The criticism looked valid through the first six games of this season. At that point he had 27 interceptions in 20 career games.
Since then, starting with the comeback win over the Bucs in Week 7, he has thrown just three interceptions in nine games.
Again, get used to seeing No. 8 behind center. He’s not elite, he’s not perfect but if the team around him improves the Redskins will be able to win with them. Given that there are more NFL teams than there are quarterbacks they can win with, the laws of supply and demand will dictate at least a couple of years’ worth of hefty paydays for Cousins.