Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was at a shoe store last Thursday when he learned that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen had reported Cousins “appealed personally” to Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for a trade but was told “not to get his hopes up.”
“The guy fitting my wife for shoe says, ‘I heard you demanded a trade,'” Cousins told Adam Schefter on the ESPN reporter’s “Know Them From Adam” podcast on Monday. “I laughed and I thought, I don’t know where that comes from because that wasn’t the case. I just called them and asked where their perspective was and where they were coming from, and I just wanted to communicate, and so that’s kind of where that went and then somehow it can get twisted to where an employee at a store is using the word demand, but that’s certainly not the approach that I took.”
Earlier in their conversation, Cousins told Schefter that he’s had “really positive interactions” with Snyder this offseason and explained the nature of the inquiry that may have led to Mortensen’s report.
“The negotiation process, in general, has been very positive for me, and I’m happy with how things have transpired so far,” said Cousins, who signed his franchise tag contract on Friday, guaranteeing him a one-year salary of $24 million. “And as Chris Mortensen reported, I’m not sure how it got out, but I did just inquire to Mr. Snyder and to 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 and his desire to help me by surrounding the quarterback position with all the players and coaches that you need to succeed. 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, and I felt wanted by him and by the team coming away from the call.”
The Redskins could still trade Cousins, but Allen and Coach Jay Gruden have both said they hope to work out a long-term deal with the quarterback by the July 15 deadline. Otherwise, Cousins will play on the franchise tag in 2017 for the second consecutive season and become a free agent in 2018. Schefter asked Cousins if he has any doubts about being with the Redskins this season.
“You never know in the sense that in this league things change so fast and players can get blindsided all the time with decisions,” Cousins said. “They’ll cut you on your birthday, they’ll cut you on the day your child’s born, they’ll cut you on Christmas Eve, so you just never know what’s going to happen. I guess I’m always going to keep an open mind, so I try not to get blindsided, but from what I heard in conversations, I felt very much supported and felt the owner and the president of the team want me to be the quarterback there and to be the quarterback there for a long time.”
If Cousins and the Redskins don’t agree on a long-term deal, the quarterback said he hasn’t ruled out the Redskins using the franchise tag on him for a third consecutive season in 2018, which would guarantee him more than $34 million.
“If a team has franchise tagged me for two years in a row, it’s because they expect me to play at a high level,” Cousins said. “I think if we play at a very, very high level and the goal for every team in this league is to win a Super Bowl, and if we go win a Super Bowl next year, I’m pretty confident they’re going to be tagging me and bringing me back. I guess I say to people, if the season is going to go the way everyone wants it to and hopes it will, in Washington, then let’s hope I’m getting tagged again. There’s still more of this story to write over time and that’s what the season’s all about.”
Asked about the Redskins’ tumultuous offseason, which included last week’s firing of the team’s general manager, Scot McCloughan, last week, Cousins remained optimistic about the future of the franchise.
“I think it’s just a part of the offseason, you know, when there’s no football games to be played, there’s a lot of other things that can be talked about and it opens the door for speculation and just all kinds of different reports. It’s just part of the deal. Honestly, I’m not there and I don’t know the day-to-day, and what’s going on, so I’m pretty ignorant to things. I don’t like to talk into too much depth on stuff I’m not fully understanding, but I do trust the people in charge and believe that at the end of the day they’ll make the right decisions and we’ll move forward.”