According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, the Redskins and the representatives for QB Kirk Cousins haven’t made any progress towards an extension this week.
However, Washington is still expected to make another push to sign Cousins to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline. Even so, Jones says there isn’t a lot of optimism that a deal will get completed in time.
Cousins has made it clear that he’s comfortable playing out the 2016 season under the franchise tag and essentially betting on himself before testing the open market again in 2017. Sources within the Redskins’ organization including executives and players have wondered if Cousins being in a “prove-it” situation could weigh on him heavily this year.
The concern, according to Jones, is that Cousins may attempt to make more big plays, which could result in an increase in turnovers this year.
Earlier in the week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter mentioned during an interview with ESPN 980 Washington that he can’t see the Redskins getting a long-term deal done in time with Cousins before the July 15 deadline.
Interestingly enough, Schefter says that a team like the Browns may have been willing to pay him as much as $20 million per year on the open market this year.
“I think there would be teams willing to pay him if he were on the open market today more than Washington feels like it needs to pay him,” Schefter said. “If he were to hit the free agent market this offseason, I think a team like the Cleveland Browns would’ve given him $20 million a year, maybe more.”
This fits with what Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com wrote last week, which is that the assumption right now is that Cousins will play out the 2016 season under the franchise tag.
Breer said that the parties have spoken to one another about a possible extension in recent weeks, and while talks are reportedly “amicable,” they’re also “going nowhere.”
Cousins reportedly views the $44 million he would get from being tagged this year and again in 2017 as the baseline for negotiations. Breer says that Cousins is targeting this sum of money over the first two years of a possible extension.
However, Breer says that the team has essentially told him that they would prefer to see him put together another strong season before allocating that kind of money to him.
Previous reports have said that Cousins could be targeting as much as $19 million per year in his next contract, so we’ll have to see how things go in the coming months.
Cousins, 27, played out the final year of his four-year, $2,572,688 rookie contract that included a $472,688 signing bonus and was in position to be the best available quarterback in this year’s free agent market before he was tagged.
Washington elected to use the franchise tag on Cousins, which he wasted little in signing. Cousins now stands to make $19.953 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season, but this won’t prevent them from negotiating a long-term deal that would reduce this figure and offer them some additional cap space.
In 2015, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards while completing 69.8 percent of his passes to go along with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 16 quarterback out of 37 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a contract extension for Cousins as the news is available.