The latest Kirk Cousins interview reshaped the contract talk with the Redskins. Ha, as if. Neither side is showing their hand publicly. Both have moves to make.
Fine, Kirk Cousins didn't request a trade, he says. Cool. Does that mean the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins during each of the past two seasons will be under center for a third? Nope. Until the Redskins publicly declare Cousins is staying with the team regardless or the two sides agree on a long-term deal, don't assume anything is settled. Also, don't assume there's only one destination in play should a trade happen.
We know the quarterback will at least receive $23.94 million for the 2017 campaign based on the franchise tag they placed on him for a second straight year which he subsequently signed. Based on oodles of reports, it's safe to assume the two sides could use some marriage counseling, though Cousins somewhat hopeful about the future when explaining on Adam Schefter's ESPN podcast about his role in a recent meeting with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Another ESPN reporter, Chris Mortensen, recently stated Cousins asked for a trade during this meeting.
“I’ve had really positive interactions with Mr. Snyder throughout this entire offseason. The negotiation process, in general, has been very positive for me, and I’m happy with how things have transpired so far. As Chris Mortensen reported — I’m not sure how it got out — I did just inquire to Mr. Snyder and to (Redskins president) Bruce Allen just if there was any interest in trading me, just to try to get an understanding of their perspective.
"And the answer I got back was Mr. Snyder communicated his belief in me, and his desire for me to remain a Redskin. ...That’s the kind of message [you] want to hear from the owner of your team. So it was a very positive conversation in the sense that he spoke belief in me and really affirmed me in my role. I felt wanted by him and by the team coming away from the call."
Maybe Mortensen had it wrong. Maybe Cousins is trying to reclaim some lost PR ground seeing as the Mortensen report made it look like he wants out. It almost doesn't matter. All involved have agendas and spin isn't just what drivers in the DMV did on snowy roads Tuesday morning.
One thing is clear: When given his zillionth chance to say he wants to play for the Redskins, Cousins punted. “Do you see yourself in Washington long-term," Schefter asked. "Ya, know, I see myself keeping an open mind,” Cousins answered. “I see myself going through this negotiation process as there’s still time until the July 15 deadline."
The Redskins are nuts if they wait around until July 15, the NFL deadline for teams to agree on a long-term deal with players on the franchise tag, before making a move. Get a long-term contract signed before the April 27-29 Draft or trade him orlikely lose him for bubkis next year.
Most assume Cousins wants back with former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, now the 49ers head coach. Most assume San Francisco can just wait out Washington and eventually land the quarterback for a bargain. We'll see about that. If the 49ers wait or Shanahan doesn't bang his fist on the table demanding his team deals for his guy, the Redskins can find another trading partner.
* Cleveland is desperate for a quarterback after using five last season including the now released Robert Griffin III. The Browns have a bushel of picks, including the No. 12 overall selection and a 2018 second-rounder it just gained in the Brock Osweiler deal with Houston. As Pro Football Talk notes, they also have ample cap space needed to fit Cousins' salary in this year and next. New Redskins receiver and ex-Brown Terrelle Pryor said the two teams essentially run the same offense. So, if New England won't deal Jimmy Garoppolo...
* How about Denver? If Tony Romo lands in Houston, the Broncos would remain in the market for a veteran passer. While last year's starter Trevor Siemien was better than some give hm credit, Denver might prefer a more experienced option. Considering the window for a second Super Bowl title in three years remains open considering the offensive weapons and high-end defense, would Broncos general manager John Elway take a risk in dealing for Cousins despite some contract uncertainty and salary cap conundrum? Something tells me the Hall of Fame quarterback could convince Cousins staying in the Mile High city isn't an idea all up in smoke. Would a second (51) and third (101) in April's Draft plus 2016 first round pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch, land Cousins?
The Jets need a quarterback. Same with the Texans if Romo doesn't show up. Whether because of pride/stubbornness within the Redskins organization or because trades are easier to pull off hypothetically than in real life, the most likely scenario has Cousins staying put. That doesn't mean there aren't options. Assume nothing is the 100 percent truth until the true path is revealed. That's not spin.
Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.