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Kirk Cousins says it’s not about money (so it’s about money)

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Kirk Cousins' contract negotiations with the Washington Redskins will require both sides to find a little bit of common ground in order to get a long-term deal done.

With one week to go before the annual window on negotiating a long-term deal with Washington closes, quarterback Kirk Cousins has spoken again regarding his situation. In short, he says it’s not about the money. Which, of course, means that it’s about the money.

“I never want to play football thinking about money,” Cousins told WAVY.com at his annual football camp, via the Washington Post. “I think that you get in trouble doing that. I put my confidence in the Lord, in my faith. If I’m gonna build my life [based] on money shame on me. That’s not where I draw my security from, never should be. My parents didn’t raise me that way.”

Kirk’s parents apparently raised him to rely on doctors to handle medical issues, lawyers to handle legal issues, and agents to handle business issues. Which is a pretty good way to be raised.

“I hired my agent to do his job,” Cousins said. “I gotta go play football and throw touchdown passes and help our team win. I’ve got plenty to work on there so I’ll let my agent do his job. I’ll do mine and the good news is I’m under contract for this season and in a good place.”

These words conflict with Cousins’ past comments on the issue. In January, he defended seeking top dollar from Washington by arguing that “it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract” of their own.

"[I]f you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well,” Cousins said.

That sounds like an agent-driven explanation, and Cousins has now made it clear that this is an agent-driven process. Which is smart by Cousins, but which also confirms that a long-deal isn’t likely by next Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET, the deadline for doing a multi-year contract.

The agent, Mike McCartney, knows how to calculate a long-term deal based on the leverage of a $23.94 million franchise tender in 2017 and the promise of a 20-percent raise (under the transition tag) or a 44-percent raise (under the franchise tag) for 2018. At a minimum, it means that Cousins should get more than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing, to cover the first two years of the deal.

There’s no reason for McCartney to give Washington a discount on that amount, and by Cousins saying “I hired my agent to do his job,” this means Cousins won’t pull a Tom Brady and order the agent to take less than top dollar.

So why is Cousins mincing words and tiptoeing around the truth? Because Cousins knows that fans will blame him for being greedy and not the team for being cheap if/when a deal isn’t done.

These comments strongly suggest a deal won’t be done, unless Washington finally decides to forget about not one but two past opportunities to get him signed for a lot less than it would cost now, and to get something finalized before it costs even more in 2018.