Is Kirk Cousins in danger of alienating the Redskins fan base?

Here's the risk with public negotiations: Perception often becomes reality. On some level, that's part of the calculus for the QB's camp.

Fans of the Washington Redskins, most of them anyway, adored the 2015 NFC East title and playoff push. Kirk Cousins' record-setting season was at the center of the rise.

Only the cold hearted or Dallas Cowboys backers didn't love the organic quality of the "You like that" phenomenon. 

Depending on how long the ongoing contract negotiations last and how heated the talks, the warm and fuzzies could go up in smoke. 

Contract negotiations are tricky, especially when done on the public stage. Not all teams and athletes try working the crowd, but plenty do. It would be appear the talks between the free agent quarterback and the Redskins will indeed play out through the rumor mill with one insider after another dropping 411. 

https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/703286184617734144

Money is a funny thing. We all want some and probably more than we have. We look for the best deals on everything from cars to Cheerios. When it comes to situations where negotiations are in play, whether on a house or salary, we want what think is right for us. 

When athletes do the same, not all think that's cool. Do right by the team, why dontcha. Even if the player is delusional -- and one look at social media makes it clear some think Cousins' camp is -- they should take advantage of those rare times where they have some leverage, can test the market. That's what we would do, right?

At some point reality takes over, whether that means the team or player give a little or a lot. This is where things are at with Cousins, who likely returns. Entering the final year of his contract, he won the starting job, kept it and produced. Heading into next season, the Redskins have no viable QB option if Cousins leaves.

Depending on how long the ongoing contract negotiations last and how heated the talks, some won't care about Cousins' side, especially if the perception is he's going for every last dime. That's certainly true with a vocal faction not buying into Cousins as Robert Griffin III walks out the door, though others, particulary the uniformed or headline-only readers could join when talks of how many millions are involved.

The Redskins still have control. They can slap the QB with one of various contractual tags by Tuesday, including the most often discussed "franchise" tag. Do so and extend the time by with which both sides can negotiate a long-term deal or Cousins receives around $20 million for 2016. Ideally, at least for the Redskins, a multi-year deal is worked out so they can defer some of the cap hit over multiple seasons.

They could tag and trade Cousins or let him test free agency. By doing so, they would go from having a playoff QB with interesting potential to who the hell knows. By giving Cousins $20 million next season, the Redskins may limit their opportunity to help other parts of the roster.

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For now, both sides do the negotiation dance. The Redskins have until March 1 to place the franchise or transition tag on Cousins. If they do, they have until July 15 to agree with Cousins on a multi-year deal. After that, only the one-year contract is available. 

https://twitter.com/MikeGarafolo/status/703702187751415808

Depending on whether the talks reach this calendar point and if so, how heated they get along the way, some won't care about Cousins' side. That's especially true if the perception is he's going for every last dime.

Others would mock the Redskins for letting a viable QB leave when supply doesn't match league-wide demand and Washington's first round pick likely falls outside the range of the top incoming options. Then again, rock star general manager Scot McCloughan's rope is plenty long with the fan base after a successful first-year.

Odds are high that Cousins will be the Redskins QB next season. Until one of the parties goes on the record to suggest a true chasm exists, don't assume one does.

However, that's the risk with public negotiations. Perception often becomes reality. In such scenarios, don't bet on the franchise losing fan support. If they stuck with the Redskins after the last 20 years, they'll eventually get over whatever happens with this quarterback. Depending on how long the ongoing contract negotiations last and how heated the talks become, some won't forgive Cousins even if they wouldn't use such negotiating logic for themselves.

(The above video was shot before this week's rumors about the Redskins use of the franchise/transition tag)

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+

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