The Redskins have until July 15 to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract, or the quarterback will play the 2017 season under the franchise tag for the second year in a row. Conventional wisdom is that negotiations between the two sides won’t really heat up until a few days before the deadline, but that doesn’t mean talking and speculating about Cousins’s future in Washington will be put on the back burner until then.
On Tuesday, Cousins appeared on “Redskins Nation” and host Larry Michael closed the interview by asking Cousins for an update on his contract situation.
“I think the short answer is it’s been positive,” Cousins said. “I feel good about where we’re headed. I like Coach [Jay] Gruden’s quote [Monday] where he said, ‘I’m not really worried about it because we’ve got him for this year and that’s really all that matters.’ That’s the way I’ve always felt. There’s so many guys on this team who are on one-year deals. Even if it says it’s a three- or four-year contract, really the only guarantees are this year, so many of us are playing on one-year deals. I’m not the only one. We’re not going to have long careers if we don’t have a great year this year. We all don’t look much further than this season. I feel good about our owner, he’s done a great job this offseason communicating with me, and the same for Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff and our coaches. I feel good about the direction we’re headed and we’ll see where it ends up, but bottom line is I’m in a good place right now and now we gotta just go win a lot of football games.”
Just as he did in an interview with MMQB’s Peter King last month, Cousins rattled off a number of reasons, besides money, that he would want to remain with the Redskins beyond 2017.
“When you start listing all the pros, there are a lot,” Cousins said. “This organization is second to none in terms of the history, the former players, the Super Bowl trophies, an owner who’s committed to winning, who has passion about wanting to see his team be successful, a head coach who I have a good relationship with, there’s been continuity there. Continuity is very important in the game of football. Teammates that I love and respect and I feel really good about, not just the offensive line, but stars like Josh Norman and Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, the list goes on and on, Chris Thompson. All these guys I really enjoy playing with. So there’s a lot of positives. My wife and I love living in this city. I can go on and on and we feel really good about having been drafted here and our five years here.”
The Redskins’ offense will look a little different than the one in which Cousins threw for more than 9,000 yards over the past two seasons. Washington signed wide receivers Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick in free agency after Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson signed elsewhere, and second-year pro Josh Docston, who was injured for almost all of his rookie season, is expected to have a larger role.
“Certainly the system’s the same, the terminology and the way we line up in formations and how we move guys around, and the routes we run,” Cousins said. “With Terrelle Pryor being so tall and so fast, Brian Quick and Josh Doctson having a similar skill set, we didn’t have a guy quite like that at the receiver position last year with that big of a catch radius, so maybe some of the throws and some of the designs of the plays cater to that, and even when they’re covered, they’re open, because you can throw the ball high and away and let them go get it. We’re excited about that.”
With organized team activities starting next week, Cousins said he’s also excited to get back to work.
“We certainly want to win our division and all those things and have great results at the end of the year, but you can’t win the division in May, so it’s about a process,” Cousins said. “It’s about what can we do on a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday here in the spring that gives us a chance in the fall to win games. That’s what I’m excited about is I feel like the stars on the team, the Josh Normans and the Terrelle Pryors are coming in, they’re working hard, checking their egos at the door and just showing up and being great teammates and great leaders, and that’s a great step.”