As the July 17th deadline arrived for the Redskins to reach an agreement with Kirk Cousins for a long-term extension, 4pm Eastern passed with no positive news for Washington. At this point in the Redskins-Kirk Cousins saga, it doesn’t even matter what side you’re on anymore, what matters is that both sides can agree that a conclusion is near. The news following the deadline sheds light on the possible motives of both parties involved.
A statement was made by Bruce Allen following the announcement of no deal:
“After discussions with Kirk face-to-face over the weekend, I want to clarify our negotiations for this year. Kirk is obviously important to our team and fans, and they deserve to know where things stand. Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins.
On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury. The deal would have made him at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history. But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent this year.
Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis. While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision. We both share high hopes for this season and we are looking forward to training camp starting next week. And we remain hopeful that a long-term contract will be signed in the future.”
From a fan’s perspective, this is as predictable as it gets from the Redskins organization. Allen wants to get ahead of the media storm that’ll follow, to let his fans know that they’ve done everything possible to keep Cousins on the roster for the long-term, but Cousins didn’t play ball with the team. Trying to make it see that it’s all Cousins fault.
Truth be told, I’d tend to agree with that perspective. The sensational side of the entire statement is that the Redskins “made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury.” There is a way to come across in the public eyes as professional and acceptable, and the Redskins found a way to damage the chances they had to sign Cousins to an extension in 2018.
Would you like a statement to compare to Bruce Allen’s? Take a look at Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert’s statement on Monday after the Steelers failed to sign Le’Veon to a long-term contract:
“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s [Monday] deadline, Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”
It’s understandable to be transparent with your fan base and local media, however, there also needs to be an understanding that sometimes you just won’t win in the eyes of public perception. To discuss the details of the contract is acceptable, pointing the finger as to why there was no progress in negotiations? It’s damaging to an already fractured relationship between a player and front office.
What to say about Cousins-Redskins relationship?
It must be noted that Cousins in an interview with 106.7 The Fan acknowledged that Allen informed him prior to the Redskins statement that he will be commenting on the contract details. Regardless of whether Cousins was really aware of the comments and was ok with them, any chance for an organization to repair a reputation that is damaged publicly must be taken and handled to perfection. Cousins also mentions in this interview that he spent time with Allen over the weekend, and although there was no official counter offer, talks were had. Which, just like Allen and his statement, isn’t saying much. This is a problem.
The biggest question to ask at this point is, why doesn’t Cousins think that Washington’s offer was good enough to counter? From May 2nd, to July 17th there was over a 60 day period where a counter, or even an adjustment from the Redskins side could have been made following Derek Carr’s extension. Each side seemed content with sticking to their guns, Washington didn’t want to give in any more without overpaying, and Cousins didn’t want to negotiate hindering his chance at an astonishing 2018 payday.
There’s something fundamentally lacking in Cousins and Washington’s relationship, something we all can speculate on, but will never know. You can never say it won’t get better between the two, but the fact remains that there is hesitancy and distrust on both sides. That is not the formula for any healthy relationship.
In the meantime, there’s a season to be played.