There have been plenty of stories written about Kirk Cousins desire to stay in with the Redskins in the long term.
Many have said that he is desperate to get out of Washington, D.C. and join Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. But even if that couldn’t happen, the conventional wisdom has been that he wants to be anywhere other than where he is.
Cousins directly contradicted that narrative in an appearance on The Grant and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan.
In an answer to the question, Cousins said that staying is Washington is his preference.
“It has always been my first choice to be with the Redskins,” he said, a day after the deadline for him agreeing to a long-term contract with the Redskins passed without a deal. Cousins will now have to play out the season on the franchise tag with a salary of $23.9 million.
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Cousins looked to history to explain why he prefers to stay with the team that drafted him.
“When you look around the league and you see quarterbacks, great quarterbacks, nearly all play for only one team,” he said. “And the ones who haven’t, it really wasn’t their choice. It was usually a situation that dictated that they had to move on, it wasn’t their preference. So, I’m no different. I would love to be with the Redskins long term.”
Why, then, did his camp not make a counter to the Redskins’ last contract offer?
“It was really a tough decision for me,” he said. “But ultimately, I just felt peace about not making an offer and leaving it in the team’s court and then based on their offers, let the deadline pass and then play the season out. That’s what I felt the most peace about.”
Even though he has been with the Redskins organization for five seasons, there have been some major changes since the end of the 2016 season.
Offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become the head coach of the Rams and he was replaced by Matt Cavanaugh. A shakeup in the personnel department led to general manager Scot McCloughan being fired and Doug Williams getting elevated to Senior Vice President of Player Personnel.
It seems that Cousins wants those changes to marinate a bit and see how they work out as the season unfolds.
“I felt like we needed a little more time,” said Cousins. I feel like I wanted the next six months to give me more information about the organization so I can make a more informed decision.”
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After the season ends, the Redskins will hold exclusive negotiating rights for Cousins until the start of free agency in early March. They could use either the franchise tag, which would keep him in Washington for another year at a hefty $34.7 million salary or the franchise tag, which carries a salary of $28.5 million and gives the team the right to match a free agent offer.
Cousins believes that there is plenty of time for all of that to unfold.
“While there was a deadline this summer, the real time to make a decision for next year is next year,” he said. “That’s not where my focus is, my focus is on playing football. There will be plenty of time to figure all that out down the road. Again, my first choice would be to be with the Redskins long term and we’ll see with more information if we can make that happen.”
In all, Cousins said that he would prefer to return to the Redskins for the long term three times in his answer to that one question.
A lot can happen between now and when it’s time for Cousins to decide where he wants to spend the next several years of his football career. The additional information that he gathers could be positive but it may not be. We will see how things unfold in Ashburn.