With just over 24 hours before the negotiation deadline to make a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, questions have emerged about who has the final say for the Redskins. Adam Schefter, speaking on ESPN980 on Wednesday, explained that the contract talks are stalled because decision makers have determined Cousins' value, and will not exceed that certain dollar figure.
All I can say is the most powerful voice or voices have ruled that [Cousins] is worth only a certain amount of money. I mean you tell me who’s got the most powerful voice or voices there, because whoever that is, whoever controls the purse strings so to speak, has deemed Kirk Cousins to be worthy of a number that is significantly less then what would be the two year franchise tag, which is essentially, if you put two years in the franchise tag would be $44 million, and I don’t think they have come anywhere close to that in terms of guaranteed money.
Schefter's analysis comes at an interesting point with the Redskins running out of time to negotiate with Cousins and both sides very much at an impasse. Depending what stories you believe, some reports suggested that Washington GM Scot McCloughan wanted to work out a multi-year deal with Cousins midseason last year, but that notion was brushed aside higher up the 'Skins food chain.
Regardless of what may or may not have happened last year - the reality is without a new deal, Cousins will enter the 2016 season on a one-year deal, and if he performs well, the Redskins will be forced to pay much more in 2017 than they will now. It is also possible Cousins could underperform this fall, saving the Skins money next year.
Schefter, however, doesn't expect that.
"What are the chances he is appreciable worse? That’s not going to happen, he’s going to be as good as he was last year, if not better," Schefter said.
Washington may be deploying a strategy here, trying to see if the Cousins camp might blink and accept lesser money or guarantees. Contract negotiations often move swiftest near deadlines, and last year four long-term contracts were signed on franchise deadline day.
No matter what happens, unfortunately, Schefter's comments raise questions about the Redskins that fans don't want to hear. McCloughan has impressively rebuilt the 'Skins roster in just two seasons, and if the GM wants to bring back Cousins, the deal ideally should get done.
"Credit to those men, Scott McCloughan, Sean McVay, Jay Gruden they did the right thing, they made a smart decision," Schefter said of last year's call to start Cousins over Robert Griffin III. "But again if you are Kirk Cousins, you’re going to do what’s best for you in the future. He rewarded those people for their decision last year, they won a division title, right? So he expects to be rewarded for what he’s done."
Friday at 4 pm is the deadline. Stay tuned.