The Kirk Stalemate: No Reason for Hope

Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after a touchdown by Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here we sit, just one week from the deadline to apply an unprecedented SECOND franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. He became just the 1st QB since Drew Brees in 2005 with the Chargers to actually PLAY under the franchise tag back. Others like Matt Cassell have been tagged, but eventually traded and given a long term contract.

Kirk will be the first QB to ever get TWO franchise tags since the feature was introduced to the NFL in 1993.

And the way it looks, he’ll sign that tag immediately, and play on it for the Redskins unless they find a willing trade partner. That would put $44 million in Kirk’s bank account, and would almost certainly make him the most coveted free agent again NEXT winter, just a short 10 months from now.

This, as they say, is not working out the way the Redskins had hoped.

A legitimate uncertainty about the quality of player they had on their hands back in the late fall of 2015 when Kirk was en route to re-writing a bunch of team records, has turned into full-on paralysis over the mountain money he and his agent are surely asking for now.

All of sudden, Kirk Cousins – while betting repeatedly on himself, as the team was betting against him – became (as my emailer Jeremy Floam puts it) “worth more money than he’s actually worth.”

There are some who think a long term deal is coming, almost as sure as Linus believed in the Great Pumpkin. Personally, I’ve left the pumpkin patch and have gone home. I just don’t see it happening now. If it were going to happen, then it would have been done a long time ago.

If Dan Snyder wants something, he’s going to get it. Period. And for whatever reason, Dan just doesn’t lust for Kirk the way he did for RG3. Otherwise, this would all be long over. Kirk’s massive new deal would have set the post-season a-blaze, the QB market would have found a new high water mark, and the remaining naysayers and doubters would have penned their opus magnum’s about how “there goes Dan Snyder and the Redskins overpaying for free agents again.”

But we’d have our quarterback. We would have a clearly defined pile of remaining money for free agency. We’d have no need for another quarterback in April’s draft. And we’d have some genuine momentum and optimism building for 2017.

The new narrative that seems to be forming, is that Kirk “just doesn’t want to be here.” That may be true. I don’t know. But here’s the rub. Even if it IS true, then it is still “our” fault. And by “our” I mean the collective “we” as an organization. I mean, it’s not MY fault per se – I was converted into a true “Kirk Jerk” sometime mid-2015.

But if Kirk is still mad at Scot McLoughan for leaking the phrase “stat accumulator” during this season (never proven) that led to Kirk’s hair-tussle moment: “HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW!” then you can’t just be mad at Kirk and tell him to “get over it.” If Dan and Bruce are still mad at the Week 17 choke job against the Giants, then it’s still THEM who will have to “get over it.”

It’s our fault. It’s the organization’s fault for not eating some humble pie. It’s our fault for not selling him, and selling him, and selling him on how much he’s valued here. If it takes profuse and humble apologies for the RG3 trainwreck that Kirk had to watch while wasting his own early NFL years, then keep apologizing.

If Kirk doesn’t want to be here, that’s a huge blow to this franchise’s image. It should be the goal of the Washington Redskins to be a FIRST RATE, sought-after destination to PLAY FOOTBALL at a high level, with quality coaches and even better people in the organization.

If he ends up walking out that door, either this winter, or next, it’s a failure. Period. Full stop. And we’ll have to own it. Kirk Cousins is certainly not Aaron Rodgers nor Tom Brady, and probably not Drew Brees. But he’s a franchise QB. You pay him. He starts. And starts. And rarely gets wholloped. The ball comes out quickly. He works, and works and works. And he can lead. He’ll play for you. He’ll win for you.

That should be worth all the gold in Ashburn.

Maybe it will be, soon. But for now, all signs point to a continued standoff, that is headed for divorce.



  1. I am still holding out hope that he gets the franchise tag and signs a long term deal after the Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Derek Carr deals are done. They will provide a baseline for them to hammer something out.

  2. This might finally be the straw that breaks the camels back that is my fandom. I’ve been a fan since the early ’80s and if the Skins don’t get this done, I’m moving on. I can’t waste the rest of my life rooting for such a dysfunctional franchise. It’s put up or shut up time Skins.

  3. Playin QB in the League is harder than brain surgery. Do you want someone who has never done it…surgery…before as head of staff for your hospital?
    Many successful QB’s have had the luxury and common-sense apprenticeship it takes in learning the trade before facing malpractice suits. The Skins need to focus on life after Kirk. Get committed to the 18-22 seasons now.

  4. Synder also didn’t like Brad Johnson. Both QBs lacked the “cool” factor that the owner craves. Meanwhile the Skins will set the market for the talented but troubled players other teams pass on.

    Almost 20 years now and Synder still hasn’t figured out the character piece to running the franchise.

  5. I think the Skins’ management is still trying to look like the “smartest guys in the room.” It’s almost as if they care more about how the other NFL front offices and ESPN view them than they do about winning games.

  6. Kirk is the same caliber QB that Joe Flacco is. Is he going to carry the whole team to a Super Bowl every year? No. But if the chips fall right, he can certainly get you there and win the game. Joe bet on himself with the Ravens and got a ring and then a big payday. Kirk has done the same, and he’s going to get a big payday here or somewhere else. He’s a top 10 starter and deserves the money, if he doesn’t get it from Snyder, then the franchise deserves another 20 year walk in the wilderness looking for a QB.

  7. My fanhood will survive whatever happens to Kirk. I even feel that we deserve some sort of karmic retribution in the form of Kirk moving onto be coached by one of the OC’s that believed in him before we all believed in him.
    I understood that Kirk was better than some of his early bad games suggested. At the same time, I don’t feel too impressed by hitting open WR’s against Green Bay while only scoring 10 points in week 17 against a bags-packed opponent.
    If our coaches could squeeze the Kirk we saw play against Dallas on Thanksgiving into other big games then no one would worry about bad kirk anymore.
    Anyway, it’s irrelevant. QB’s are super valuable. We saw that with Osweiler. Teams will pay for a QB that hints at adequacy. Kirk has gone beyond that and deserves to get paid bigly. Redskins should know this.


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