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Are Kirk & the Redskins Close to Tying the Knot?

May 18, 2017
It's wedding season and the flowers are all in bloom! Everyone seems to be in a better, more optimistic mood when summer is approaching. That, apparently, includes the Redskins and their starting quarterback.  

Kirk Cousins made an appearance on the Redskins controlled and run “Redskins Nation” television show on Wednesday and dropped a nugget of optimism that got some in the greater D-M-V a bit lathered up with excitement.

Why? As the July 15 deadline for a long-term deal approaches, many Redskins fans and members of the media realize that it is pretty much now or never that a marriage is going to be consummated.

Cousins told Larry Michael that he’s “in a good place right now” and that he was feeling good about the process. He did not really comment on the status of negotiations but D.C. Hot was told on Wednesday that recent discussions between the two side were positive.

Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Monday that he was not concerned at all about the Cousins contract situation, at the Ryan Kerrigan Leukemia Golf Classic at Lansdowne Resort.

“I know he’s gonna be here this season and that’s all I care about.”

That’s a coach’s mentality way too often, but it is somewhat understandable. I also believe that Gruden’s quote is not how he truly feels.

He should understand that Cousins future is somewhat tied to his, despite the recent extension that Gruden received.

Sure, Gruden will be paid in full but his opportunity at a legacy in Washington that would only be topped in the modern era by Joe Gibbs is clearly at stake.

With Cousins here for 2017, the head coach seems satisfied. The Gruden that is growing in power and who has essentially become a quasi general manager, should be quite concerned because Cousins cap number and percentage keeps expanding and it makes fielding a well-balanced team more difficult.

Cousins, has had tremendous resolve throughout the process, but part of that strength comes from $44 million in fully guaranteed funds for two seasons of work.

Even though he correctly pointed out that “so many guys on this team [are] on one-year deals” and that a three or four-year deal is essentially not that and is only reduced to the guarantees, Cousins understands that value exists in signing a long-term deal at a fair price.

He knows it means a stamp of leadership and commitment. He knows that it means an impatient owner, president and head coach would have a harder time benching him if he struggles for an extended period.

He also knows that he can just play football and get better. That’s very important and something that will almost surely happen in year three as a starter and as the Redskins add in more wrinkles to the offense.

Cousins will surely be better at extending plays and making more “off-schedule” decisions. He’s done that at times, but it is not considered a strength. The Redskins will also be able to run more tempo on offense than they have, because Cousins is more comfortable with his command of the offense.

This will all happen in 2017 regardless of whether Cousins and the Redskins reach a multi-year agreement before the mid-July deadline, but it sure would be sweeter if the Redskins had a fixed cost and some control of their destiny.

It’s a different sport, but that’s what the Nationals did with Bryce Harper last weekend. And they fostered good will, towards putting a ring on his finger.

The two sides clearly have different priorities and different viewpoints. It’s incumbent upon the Redskins to step up their offer to be more commensurate with the current market value that they spiked by their refusal to deal fairly with Cousins last year.

Despite the recent “positive” nature of the talks, an agreement is not close from what I’ve heard and one team source cautioned to not believe everything that I hear, in response to a request for an update on the talks.

So there’s that. Will a deal happen? Probably not. Does it have a better chance to happen more today than a month or two ago? Hell yeah, it does. Is it a good sign that Cousins has seemingly softened some of his talking points? Yes.

Now that Cousins knows that he’ll be in Washington for the birth of his first child and will start on opening weekend for the third year in a row, he might be more inclined to making a deal for less than what he’s truly worth on the open market.

The fact is this: He’s not. He knows this. It’s not fair, but it is the system at work. The acceptance of that reality combined with a more legitimate effort on behalf of the Redskins might just be enough to get a deal done. 

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