By now every Redskins fan knows the story. Heck, every NFL fan knows the story. If the Redskins and Kirk Cousins can't get a long-term deal done in the next month, the quarterback will play his second straight season on the franchise tag. In turn he will make $24 million, guaranteed, and be eligible for free agency in 2018.
While the Redskins and Cousins have voiced positivity over the last several weeks about contract talks, still, little actual movement towards a deal has transpired. The team promoted Doug Williams to run football personnel this week, but Williams himself said Eric Schaffer would continue to run point on the Cousins contract, with the help of Bruce Allen and perhaps even Dan Snyder.
What do the promotions mean to Cousins?
This quote jumped out from Wednesday when Cousins was asked about his relationship with Schaffer.
Eric’s done a great job all along. He’s very smart. This isn’t his first rodeo. I have a lot of faith in him not only in handling my situation, but when my situation is handled, handling everybody else’s. I have faith in that. But make no mistake, there are titles ahead of him, you know? And those people make decisions too. So, yes, Eric has a big role. There are people above him who have bigger roles, and that’s why their titles are President and Head Coach and so on. So it’s a team effort making decisions and Eric certainly has a voice in that – a big voice.
Read it again. Cousins knows this decision will likely come from Allen and Snyder. That's fair too, as the organization will likely have to offer a contract with a value north of $120 million. That is crazy cash, even by NFL standards.
It's also interesting Cousins mentioned the head coach's role. Jay Gruden named Cousins the Redskins starting QB before the 2015 season. The move rewarded both men and the team, yet, Cousins' statement almost suggests he questions if his coach has advocated for a deal. Or that as Gruden's role in the organization has grown - as has been reported by CSN and elsewhere - perhaps his increased clout can get a deal done.
One other quote stood out. Cousins talked about his agent, Mike McCartney, and their saga.
I hired Mike [McCartney] because I trust him to do the job and I feel like he’s done a very good job all the way along and while things he’s told me I haven’t always liked to hear or they haven’t always been easy to act on, he’s always been right as I look back. So I have great trust in his counsel and his approach and I’ll definitely be leaning on him as we go forward all the way through it.
McCartney has been steadfast that the franchise tag sets the annual value for any long-term contract. That means last year McCartney would not enter into negotiations with Cousins making less than $20 million per year. This year, that figures jumps to $24 million per year.
Asked about the $24 million annual salary, Schaffer said he could not talk about specific contract numbers. With the news that Snyder is growing more involved, perhaps the Redskins will get to that number, but the clock is ticking.
Though he was fired by the organization in March, former general manager Scot McCloughan only said nice things about the Redskins since his exit. He did have some interesting comments about McCartney, however, as it related to Cousins' contract.
"It's a big business," McCloughan said (click here for full audio). "The agent's got to be understandable that they're involved in it too. It's not just us and the player, the agent has to be able to understand."
Speaking with people close to the Redskins, there has been some tension between McCartney and the brass. The perception is that Cousins' agent wants to squeeze every dime out of this contract, with the visibility of this deal magnified around the NFL.
Listen to Cousins, and he clearly trusts McCartney. He should, in two seasons, Cousins stands to make $44 million. If you're the client, your agent's job is to get every dollar.
The Redskins have one month to pay up for a long-term deal, or this saga will begin anew after the 2017 season. Just listen.
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