With the Redskins’ front-office drama gradually receding from view, we can now get back to the important offseason work: quoting Washington players talking about how much they like Kirk Cousins.
So here’s veteran tight end Vernon Davis, rhapsodizing about the merits of Cousins during a Monday appearance on ESPN 980.
“He’s a young guy in the league, and I think sometimes we forget about that, that he’s only been a starter for two years,” Davis said. “And with that being said, he’s doing all the right things. He’s doing all the right things. Guys in the locker room love him. They think he’s spectacular. I do, as well, because of what he does. He minimizes himself in the locker room; in practice and in games he stands out like a sore thumb.
“And that’s what great quarterbacks do. That’s what they do. I watch those things, and he’s putting his teammates first. He’s putting his teammates first. So that’s first and foremost. He’s growing, he’s evolving, so I’m excited about his career and excited about his future. I think he’s going to be a wonderful quarterback in this league.”
Whether Cousins, 28, still counts as young is perhaps a matter of opinion. As is his trustworthiness in big spots, after last year’s season-ending loss to the Giants, which is another point that Davis addressed.
“I hear the same thing; I hear talking about ‘Oh he didn’t come through for the big game, it’s his fault.’ No, it’s not his fault,” Davis said. “As a team, collectively, we win games together. You can’t forget that. We win games together. … There’s a lot of factors that go into losing a game, and I wouldn’t blame it all on Kirk. I guess everyone’s putting it on him because he’s the one calling the shots, he’s the one throwing the ball, and whenever he makes a mistake it’s just magnified that much bigger. And it sucks that it’s that way, but like I said, as a leader and as someone who’s gone through so much, you have to be willing and able to fight through it.”
Which, Davis said, he thinks Cousins will do.
“I see Kirk Cousins taking over games,” he said. “I mean, he’s done it before. He’s done it. It’s just everything happens for a reason. Yeah, he’s made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. But you just have to keep going. When adversity strikes, you have to know how to fight through it. You have to get through it. And once you get through, I mean, it’s beautiful on the other side. It’s beautiful. And I see him as that guy. I see him fitting into the mold of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, if he continues to do what he has to do to get better each and every year. He will come through. He will come through in the right time.”
Host Chris Cooley then asked Davis if he’d give Cousins $120 million with $85 million guaranteed. “I would give him $130 million with $95 guaranteed,” Davis said.
That’s a lot of money! And it reminded me of something former Redskins lineman Ricky Jean Francois said in a radio interview this month, before he was released by the team.
“The guy put up every number that you needed to see to get paid the big bucks, to get paid the Tom Brady, the Big Ben, the Matt Ryan money,” Francois said. “You can see that they just don’t have the trust in him, and I don’t know how, because this kid was just a few yards off from 5,000 yards passing, and the year before he went for 4,700, 4,800 yards. And now we’re still talking about franchising a guy who was in passing yards, up there with some of the best names in the NFL? … Just pay the man. Just pay him.”