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Bruce: "24 Million’s a Lot of Money"

February 4, 2017
Bruce Allen made his rounds Friday on “Radio Row” at Super Bowl LI. After appearing on the team-run radio station, he joined Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 the FAN and made some interesting statements.

Allen was asked about the status of the long-term contract talks with Kirk Cousins, which last week, he said had not started yet

Then he dismissed the notion that time was dwindling. “We just have to come to an agreement with his agent,” Allen opined. “I think we will.”

It sounds very simple but it isn’t. Allen earlier had said that the situation wasn’t very difficult. “I don’t think it’s as complicated as everyone wants to make it. And we’ll get together with his agent, and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement.”

For the life of me, I still can’t figure out why if you wanted to Kirk Cousins to stay long-term, you would wait until early February (at least) to begin contract negotiations. Based on all parties involved, there have been no substantial negotiations.

Clearly, the deadline provides time to make a move. March is not tomorrow. The two sides could easily get a done if the Redskins decide to be fair, in terms of market value and not their assigned value. They could also listen to Jon Gruden, as I strongly suggested this week

They weren’t fair last year under any circumstances and to Allen’s credit, he essentially admitted that. “We probably could have handled it better,” Allen told 106.7 The FAN. However, he quickly said “he could have handled it better.”

I’m not sure what Allen is specifically talking about from Cousins’ side, unless he is blaming Mike McCartney and/or Cousins for leaking the insanely low contract offers and details.

I appreciate that he took some of the blame, but he should have taken much more of it. Why? Because the Redskins are overwhelmingly to blame for this situation. They have nobody to point the finger at but themselves and that is a bottom-line fact. It’s indisputable.

Allen is more of a politician than a president in my eyes, and that’s fine. He can be and say whatever he wants. He has more power than 300 plus million people that live in this country and he can do and say what he wants.

I don’t have to believe him. You don’t have to believe him either, if you choose.

Picking apart Allen’s money quote a little further, when he said that $24 million is a lot of money. Of course, it is, Bruce. Nobody’s disputing that.

But here’s the thing. The Redskins chose this route. This is the cost of doing business if you want a proven, successful, hard-working quarterback that has already shown what he can do, 32 games running, when given an opportunity.

He’s only going to get better. Anybody that thinks this is the best Kirk Cousins can be is absolutely certifiably insane. He can do so much more. Cousins talked once again on Friday about how he can extend plays more. Nobody seems to be all that enamored with my idea that the Skins can be a better offense if they use more tempo and no-huddle packages, which they should and will.

Yes, 24 million is a lot of money in relative context but if Allen is already squawking about that figure, what makes anybody think that he’s going to cough up $120 million or so with $65 million fully guaranteed and $90 + million in three-year guarantees?

I’ve never thought they would do that and nothing that has been said this week or last makes me think we are anywhere closer to that reality.

Bruce is right. $24 million is a heavy price tag, but with an adjusted salary cap that will likely be north of $175 million and a three-billion dollar franchise value, $24 big ones is a drop in the bucket.

Get it done, Bruce. Get it done before March 1. Get it done before you put the franchise tag on him again and further extend the mistake you made last year.

Here’s why the March deadline is a big deal, regardless of whether the Redskins put the exclusive or non-exclusive tag on him, which is another debate.

If Washington doesn’t get a deal done by the March deadline and assuming that Cousins signs his tender or doesn’t get an offer and is retained by the Redskins, the next deadline would be July 15. As it was last year.

Perhaps the Redskins would elevate their offer after the first deadline and before the cut-off date, but they would be under no obligation to do so. Nor would Cousins side be under any obligation to negotiate or accept an offer that is less than satisfactory in February or any other month.

Aside from that, the offers that the Redskins ultimately make and when they make them could be directly affected by the Detroit Lions negotiation with Matthew Stafford on a new deal and the Oakland Raiders on a long-term contract with Derek Carr.

Carr is going into the final year of his rookie four-year contract, like Cousins before the 2015 season. The difference? Carr is much more accomplished in his first three years than “Captain Kirk” was. Carr led his team to the playoff before a season ending injury but is expected to be ready to go.

The Raiders do not have to give Carr and extension but they would be crazy not to do so. Why would they wait? They don’t even have a fifth-year option on Carr because of where he was drafted (2 nd round, # 36 overall, 2014).

Image result for derek carr


Carr’s calculated market value on a long-term deal is $22.9 million per year, per Spotrac.com’s “Calculated Market Value” tool. In addition to that figure, the tool suggests a 6-year, $137.8 million-dollar deal is what Carr should be able to get.

This is on an extension and not Carr’s value as a free agent, which would be even higher. A reminder that Cousins has been/is a free agent for the second time and has not been allowed to test the market yet to maximize his earnings. It’s the Redskins responsibility to meet him at a fair number that is representative of the market, if they want him to sign a long-term deal.

Carr is obviously really good, but he has yet to top 4,000-yard mark in a season during his first three years. He would have last year, if not for the injury.

His completion percentage keeps climbing and his touchdown to interception ratio is incredible. Carr is the real deal and it is more than reasonable to view him in higher regard than Cousins.

That’s fine. He’s earned his place. But if he gets a long-term extension before the Redskins get Cousins signed on the dotted line, Carr’s deal is going to only add a lot more leverage to the Cousins’ camp.

This is how it works. No, they are not exact comparables but they are reasonably close. What Carr gets directly affects the “market value” for what Cousins can get or is worth.

As for Stafford, he’s clearly better than Cousins and has been doing it longer.

Stafford is going into the final year of his current contract which calls for a $16.5 million base and a $22 million dollar cap hit.

Stafford will only be 28 this year and has more experience than Cousins, plus he was a # 1 overall pick by the Lions. He’s coming towards the end of a three year, $53 million contract with $27.5 fully guaranteed and $41.5 in total guarantees.

Yeah.

You would assume that the Lions would like to get an extension done sooner than later, especially considering that Stafford has thrown for 5,000 yards once  and has posted 4,200 + yards six seasons in a row. The Lions were (9-7) and made the playoffs this year with Stafford seemingly a more efficient quarterback over the last two seasons than he’s ever been.

His passing yards mark has been lower the last three years than the three years before, but he’s completed more of his passes and thrown fewer interceptions.

Stafford’s “Calculated Market Value” is lower than I thought it would be per Spotrac.com at $21.5 million per year on a 5-year, $107.9 million extension, but that’s likely because despite his age, his arm might have more wear-and-tear on it than others.

I have to think Stafford gets more than that, but if he doesn’t that could help the Redskins. Stafford is also a year away from free agency, which again drags down his market value compared to what Cousins could and should earn.

Image result for matt stafford


Either way, a new deal for Stafford (Cousins had significantly more passing yards in 2016) is going to establish at the very minimum a low-end floor for Cousins, if it is done before Cousins gets his.

The facts are these. The Andrew Luck extension at $23.4 million last year set the market initially and he was not a free agent.

Luck is a better quarterback overall than Cousins and I’m not sure anybody would dispute that, but he’s never thrown for as many yards in a season as Cousins has. He also has turned the ball over on a slightly higher interception percentage rate than Cousins.

It’s more than reasonable to say that Cousins should get more in every way than Luck did but if Carr especially and Stafford to a slightly lesser degree get deals that are worth in excess of five years and $120 million-plus, what do you think Cousins deserves? 

This is a huge reason why it’s important to get a deal done before March. You end this silly game and solidify your future. You lock in your cost before the market explodes again. Oh and one other thing: Kyle Shanahan still is in the mix. 

Now let’s see if the Redskins are smart enough and aggressive enough to do this.

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for six seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for the last five. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Network (www.DCHotRead.com), WashingtonTimes.com, BreakingBurgundy.com & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN     


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