Kirk Cousins is past the point of needing to prove he can be a legitimate starting Quarterback in this league. The NFL certainly thinks so by scheduling Washington for five primetime games in 2017, including a historic home Thanksgiving match-up against the New York Giants.
After re-writing plenty of Washington's QB record book, the team has had two consecutive winning seasons in large part because of their competence at the QB position. Cousins, of course, is yet again likely to play out this season on the franchise tag making his future with the team rather cloudy. Washington's hesitance to sign him long-term could be for many reasons. But it certainly signals that they are not completely sold on the player. Cousins' failure to produce under the stadium lights could be a major factor.
In eight career primetime games, Cousins has gone 2-6. It should also be noted that he has an 0-4 record in late afternoon games. When the big stage is set, Cousins has not consistently performed well enough. That's a big issue. When you pay a player elite money, you do it because he can rise to the occasion when that big stage is set. In 2017, Kirk Cousins will have five opportunities to show that he can perform under the National spotlight.
Along with the aforementioned Thanksgiving game against the Giants, Washington will face the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys in primetime next season. Three of those teams made it to the playoffs last season and the rest are division rivals. Those games will not be easy. So it will be interesting to see how the team, specifically its quarterback, fares. I don't believe that Cousins will lose money by not performing well in those games, but he can certainly help himself.