This story originally published on January 6, but has fresh relevence as the Redskins are running out of time to decide what to do with Kirk Cousins.
Is Kirk Cousins worth seven to eight times more than Colt McCoy? That's the question some at Redskins Park are asking, according to a source with inside knowledge of the situation.
The Redskins major question as Cousins again approaches free agency is no longer about ability. It's about cost.
The Redskins backup for two seasons now, McCoy will make a little more than $3 million in 2017. Cousins stands to make nearly $24 million in 2017 if he plays under the franchise tag.
Price will determine a long-term deal for Cousins. Undoubtedly, the Redskins starter will have teams interested across the NFL, and former agent Joel Corry suggested a multi-year deal for Cousins could land near Andrew Luck's 2016 contract. That deal included nearly $90 million guaranteed over a six-year, $139 million span.
Since he was named the starter in 2015, Cousins has put up impressive stats, passing for more than 9,000 yards in two seasons, completing 68 percent of his passes and throwing 54 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.
While Cousins has established himself as an NFL starting quarterback, one question inside Redskins Park is how much of that success can be replicated while saving a tremendous amount of money.
McCoy's career numbers are not impressive, but as a young passer he played on some awful teams in Cleveland and San Francisco while dealing with concussions and injuries.
In his only real shot in Jay Gruden's pass-first, quick-read system, McCoy played in five games during the 2014 season with four starts. In only three games did McCoy take all of the snaps at QB, but in those games he passed for 890 yards, an average of 296 yards per game, while completing 70.5 percent of his passes.
Project those numbers over 16 games, and McCoy would get to 4,736 passing yards. In 2015, Cousins' first full year as starter, he broke the Redskins season passing record with 4,166 yards. This past season, Cousins broke that record and nearly reached 5,000 passing yards, ending just short at 4,917 yards.
Granted it’s just a projection, and McCoy has a significant injury history, but his yardage totals would look to be similarly productive with Cousins’ 2015 and 2016 seasons. On the flip side, in those three full games, McCoy threw three touchdowns and three interceptions while being sacked 15 times. Project those numbers, and it's 16 TDs with 16 picks and a preposterous 80 sacks.
McCoy does not have the same arm strength as Cousins, but the former Texas Longhorn star is more adept at making plays with his feet and off-schedule, something Gruden said he wanted to see more of from Cousins.
Unlike last year, there is no more debate if Cousins is a legit NFL starter.
Now, Washington must decide if they should pay Cousins like some of the best in the league, or if the team can get 80 to 90 percent of the production at a fraction of the cost.