According to a report, the Redskins long-term contract offer to Kirk Cousins was not a package that he ever was going to accept. The numbers reported by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network were $16 million per year with $24 million guaranteed.
That brought up complaints of a lowball offer from many fans and some in the media. A $16 million per year offer is less than what Brock Osweiler, who has started all of seven NFL games, got from the Houston Texans. Osweiler was able to parlay his completion percentage of 61.8 and passer rating of 86.4 into a four-year, $72 million contract ($18 million average) with $37 million guaranteed.
Given that comparable and the fact that he was going to make just shy of $20 million this year on the franchise tag, it is safe to say that Cousins was never going to sign what was, according to Garafolo, the Redskins’ first, last, and best offer.
If you want to call that a lowball offer you can but it isn’t really reasonable to do that without looking at the other side of the negotiations. It was reported by multiple sources that Cousins was looking for a contract based the $20 million he would get on the franchise tag this year and the $24 million the Redskins would have to pay him if they tagged him again in 2017. That’s $44 million and the simple math says that’s $22 million per year.
What quarterbacks make $22 or more million per year? Aaron Rodgers, an eight-year starter, two-time All-Pro, one-time Super Bowl champ, and generally acknowledged to be the best QB in the game. Joe Flacco, who has started for eight seasons and parlayed a Super Bowl win into a big contract. And Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft who has been a starter for four years.
That’s it. In fact, with the exception of Osweiler, every quarterback who is making more than the $16 million that the Redskins offered Cousins who has either started for at least four years and/or started in a Super Bowl.
Given that, was Cousins’ demand of $22 million per year any more reasonable than the Redskins’ offer of $16 million? Did Cousins camp ever show signs of coming down from their original asking price, perhaps giving the Redskins incentive to sweeten their offer? There are no indications that they did. So if both sides in a negotiation are stuck on unreasonable offers is either side at fault?
There is speculation that Cousins will take umbrage to the Redskins’ low offer, perhaps poisoning his relationship with the organization. By the same token, the Redskins could be wondering what their quarterback is thinking looking for as much money as Aaron Rodgers makes after just one year as a starter.
The reality is that it’s unlikely that either side has an issue with the other. It’s not personal, it’s business. Cousins playing 2016 on the franchise tag was inevitable from the moment he signed the tender in early March. There were offers on the table from each side that were never, ever going to be accepted. It’s just part of the negotiation game.
The Redskins made an offer they knew that Cousins wouldn’t accept because they want to see a second year of him as the full-time starter before they commit to a long-term deal. Cousins stuck to demands he knew the Redskins were never going to accept, armed with the knowledge that he had a $20 million cushion to fall back on. Neither side is likely to emerge from the negotiations, if you can call them that, with bruised feelings.