Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 2, 8 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 46
—NFL Draft (4/27) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 135
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 192
Will the Redskins be able to say no to their QB?
The Redskins are entering a place where few NFL teams have gone before. They have placed the franchise tag on their quarterback for the second time. Drew Brees (2005) was the only other QB has played out one season on the franchise tag. The Chargers didn’t hit him a second time in 2006 because they had drafted Phillip Rivers.
Quarterbacks rarely play out a season on the franchise tag because teams usually end up caving in and giving the quarterback most if not all of what he wants. It’s like concessions at an airport or at the stadium.
Paying $24M for Kirk Cousins is akin to paying $11 for an airport beer. I mean, you don't want to pay that much, but you have no choice.— Adam Rank (@adamrank) February 28, 2017
There are fewer quarterbacks than there are teams that need quarterbacks. Unless you’re in a position like the 2006 Chargers where you have a ready replacement, you pay the man whatever it takes to keep them. Quality quarterbacks just don’t hit the free agent market. No quarterback who passed for more than 4,000 years in back-to-back seasons, as Cousins has, has played for another team the next season. It just doesn’t happen.
Right now, the word is that the Redskins are unwilling to pay Cousins what he is asking for, presumably a deal with an average annual value at least equal to his $24 million franchise tag salary. But they have time to change their minds.
Will the Redskins just say no to this NFL conventional wisdom that has been around ever since the onset of the free agency era in 1993? Can they let Cousins walk without a viable option to replace him?
When it comes down to it I find it hard to believe that the Redskins will ignore 24 years of data when it comes to free agency the quarterback position. Teams have let players, great players, at every other position walk out the door. But if a quarterback has a good season or two, he stays.
The downside of letting a quarterback like Cousins walk can be huge. If he goes on to be a solid player for someone else and the Redskins go back to struggling to find an answer like they did for over 20 years between Mark Rypien and Cousins, they would be subject to endless ridicule, and rightfully so. On top of that they will struggle to stay in consistent contention for the playoffs.
When it comes down to it, will the organization set itself up to be in that situation? They have a well-earned reputation for making some moves that go spectacularly wrong (see RG3 trade and Albert Haynesworth contract for examples). you have to wonder if in the final analysis, they will see that the downside of paying Cousins more than they may think he’s worth is preferable to the downside of the nightmare scenario of seeing him succeed elsewhere while they continue to search for a QB.
Or, back to Rank’s tweet above, if they should just buy the expensive airport beer or get on the plane thirsty.
In case you missed it
- The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are
- Redskins, Cousins agent will meet at the NFL Combine
- Setting the odds on what's next for Redskins and Kirk Cousins
- Gruden wants DeSean, Pierre back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone
- Gruden 'fully anticipates' Cousins to be Redskins QB
- New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Talking Kirk Cousins with NFL Network's Mike Garafolo