There are questions and concerns about the Kirk Cousins contract extension talks with the July 15 deadline looming that go beyond whether the quarterback and the Washington Redskins can agree on terms. Several of those questions and concerns came up on 106.7 The Fan's Grant and Danny show Tuesday with salary cap expert Joel Corry.
The most interesting quote involved the main conundrum: If the Redskins do indeed believe Cousins is the answer, where's the logic in no deal before the NFL's established deadline for franchise-tagged players to accept long-term contracts?
"There is no logic not to do the deal if they're sold," Corry said. "I understand why they wouldn't be sold."
As a quick aside, my take for several weeks is that no deal is getting done by Friday, a scenario that's now become a trendy approach. That would mean Cousins receives just shy of $20 million for 2016 and this scenario plays out again next offseason, only with price rising on the second franchise tag. It also brings major uncertainty into the equation for all, both in terms of long-term planning and relationships.
Corry is also among those who don't see a resolution this week involving Cousins, who re-wrote the Redskins' record book in his lone season as an NFL starter.
"I always thought that this would be a deal that didn't get done this year and if Kirk Cousins signed a long-term contract, it would be after the 2016 season," said Corry, who is also a former agent.
"One, [Cousins] doesn't have a long enough track record for Redskins to be comfortable paying him the way his agent, Mike McCartney, who is a very sharp guy, is going to want to be paid. If you're going to satisfy [them], you're going to have to pay him like an above-average quarterback. ...That's an area there're not going to want to go because you're really talking about paying him in the almost $22 million per year neighborhood with $60 million in guarantees and almost $40 million fully guaranteed at signing. They're not going to want to do that now.
"Also, Cousins has more to gain than lose by waiting. His downside if he's mediocre is [Houston's] Brock Osweiler, which is the $18 mil per year range and $37 million in guarantees."
This final point is a primary reason why the Cousins camp shouldn't budge. The NFL lacks viable quarterbacks, and the 2016 free agent pool isn't impressive one year out. His worst case seems not so bad for a player who made less than $700,000 in 2015 while leading Washington to the NFC East title.
"Upside is if Kirk Cousins can consistently play like he did in the second half of the 2015 season, you're talking about putting him in the Andrew Luck neighborhood because the franchise tag will be close to $24 million if you have to give it to him a second time," Corry explained.
Beyond the specific money for the QB, part of the uncertainty for those non-salary cap experts is what does playing on the franchise tag or settling on a longer-term deal mean for the roster.
"It's negligible," Corry said about possibly missing out on adding some players depending on the Cousins deal. "Having to pay Kirk Cousins a premium because they want peace of mind on whether he is the franchise quarterback or the guy is a small price to pay in my opinion." However, Corry made it clear that having to pay Cousins an average of $18 million per year versus $24 million "could be the difference between a player or two."
The Redskins have Kirk Cousins and Kirk Cousins has the Redskins. Both statements can be true at this time. Neither appears ready to budge. Stances change when deadlines approach. The need for a QB, that truth isn't changing.
"In most instances ... if you don't have the quarterback position right, you can't win," Corry said. "If you're sold, you go ahead and get it done. If you're not, you don't want to make that huge financial commit mistake and wonder when we can get out of it as soon as possible."
The Redskins' brass has praised Cousins plenty this offseason and yet no deal.
"Actions speak louder than words," Corry said. "From what I understand, the offers don't reflect that they're sold."
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