It’s not very common for a quarterback to play a season under the franchise tag, but this upcoming season Kirk Cousins will do just that. He is the second quarterback to player under the franchise tag, Drew Brees also did in 2005 with the San Diego Chargers.
The Washington Redskins and Cousins could not come to an agreement on a long-term deal before the July 15th deadline. From a big picture standpoint, this is certainly not a bad thing.
Cousins had a successful 2015 campaign, leading Washington to the NFC East title. That was his first full season and he did alright for himself, throwing for, 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns (23 in final 10 games) and 11 interceptions. He led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8%. The three weapons he had to choose from in Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon didn’t hurt either.
While that is a quality season and something to be proud of, it doesn’t necessarily scream long-term, franchise quarterback. Again, that isn’t a bad thing.
If Cousins is able to go out and play the way he did last season with improvements to his game, then the two sides should be able to figure out numbers for a new deal. The way general manager Scot McCloughan sees it, he can continue to build a football team with football players he thinks will turn out to be good without sacrificing that cause for just one player (QB).
As for the fans, they should be pleased with this. McCloughan was part of the Seattle Seahawks regime that brought them the only Super Bowl in franchise history. Seattle has one of the best front offices in all of football and have a keen eye for talented players. McCloughan knows that it takes more than just a quarterback to win a championship. He also played a part in building the San Francisco 49ers, bringing them back from the dead almost, helping to build a great team around a solid quarterback in Alex Smith.
“The quarterback position’s very, very important, but you know what, so is every other position. We need football players. We need multiple football players, not one,” McCloughan said.
This whole situation should motivate Cousins to show Scot and the Washington front office that he is a player worthy of a long-term, big-money deal. On top of that, it’s not like McCloughan is rooting against his signal caller. He even said “Hopefully, he’s our quarterback for a long time.”
McCloughan made the right decision in investing money in more players and not just the one that plays quarterback. This allows the team to continue to develop these younger players as well as gives Cousins another season to prove his worth.
The 2015 season treated Kirk Cousins well and if he can sustain the success he enjoyed a season ago, he won’t have to be worried about franchise tags moving forward. If there is a regression, Washington won’t hesitate to move on from Cousins after the season and look for another quarterback in the draft.
This will be a pivotal season for both Cousins and the Washington front office. A long-term deal couldn’t be agreed upon and now Cousins will have the opportunity to show he’s worth a good chunk of change while Washington doesn’t have to invest long-term until after the season. Taking a ton of the risk out of the decision.