When Kirk Cousins wants to, he can make you feel very special. If there were any doubt about that, go back to his final postgame news conference of the 2016 season, just moments after he threw a crushing season-ending interception.
“Thanks for your efforts all year covering us,” he told media members, unprompted, at the conclusion of his remarks. “You guys do a great job. You know, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have and the salaries we have and all the great opportunities we have if there wasn’t a demand to hear what you guys have to say and read what you guys write. And I appreciate you guys getting the message out, week in and week out. You do a great job. And there’s no media market quite like D.C. So I respect you guys and the work you have to do and the competitiveness that you have as well. Thank you.”
Hear, hear! Like I always say, NFL players owe a huge debt to our blog posts about their facial hair, and there aren’t enough of them willing to go stand up in front of the world and praise us, and if you want to see some high-level competitiveness, you should watch me race to the back tables in the FedEx Field press box when the postgame pizzas gets delivered. So anyhow, cheers to the media. Glad we got that settled.
Wait, this was about Cousins. Anyhow, I’m of the belief that Cousins has been rather lukewarm in his public comments about his current employer, as his latest contract saga has played out over the past few months. And yet in an interview with team employee Joe Theismann, published Friday on the team’s website, Cousins said the things he was supposed to say.
“Do you want to be a Washington Redskin?” Theismann asked him
“Do I want to be a Washington Redskin? Yes. That’s an easy answer,” Cousins responded. “Great organization, phenomenal history, passionate fan base, great city. There’s just so many positives to discuss. I love my teammates, I love playing with these guys. So I don’t need to look elsewhere.”
“I don’t need to look elsewhere.” Which, fine. That’s nice to hear — and, even if he doesn’t reach a long-term deal, you will hear more and similar thoughts during his Tuesday appearance on 106.7 the Fan, and during his news conferences at training camp. It might not be entirely convincing, though. Even Theismann — the sunniest of optimists, whom Cousins personally assured of his feelings — isn’t entirely convinced.
“I would love to see him stay a Washington Redskin,” Theismann said on WJLA last week. “But I will predict this: if a contract doesn’t get done in the next week, I would be very, very surprised if Kirk Cousins was gonna be a Redskin in 2018.”
And Theismann is already thinking about the same replacement city you are.
“What does Kirk really want?” Theismann said on San Francisco’s KNBR, when asked about the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan. “Kyle’s there. I mean, this is probably the worst-kept secret in the NFL, that Kyle is waiting for the decision when it comes to Kirk. … And Kyle drafted him. You know, Kyle’s going to do a heck of a job in San Francisco. I believe that, I really do. … I think that Kirk knows that’s waiting out there. Everybody knows that it’s waiting out there.”
I mean, we haven’t made it to the 2017 finish line yet and there’s already rampant speculation about the 49ers in 2018. Are you ready for months and months more of this?
“The big question right now is, WWFD: What will the 49ers do,” Peter King said on NFL Network Monday morning. “And the big question there is, I believe that the 49ers would love to sign Kirk Cousins in 2018. If that’s the case, and if [the Redskins] don’t franchise him in 2018, it’s an easy decision. But what happens if they do franchise him again and the 49ers say ‘Well, that’s all right, it’s worth it to us to go after him and to get him.’ Would they be willing to pay the freight to get him under the franchise tag?”
Again, I’m typing this on the day of the 2017 deadline, and we’re talking about 2018. In any case, Theismann also asked Cousins what motivates him.
“I just want to chase excellence,” the quarterback said. “I don’t know if it’s something that’s taught, or it’s wired into you, but being mediocre just doesn’t sit well. And just the chase for excellence, the pursuit of excellence is something that is wired into me, and that really is all the motivation I need. But then when you think about I’ve got a wife at home, I’ve got a baby on the way. You know, there are a lot of reasons you want to be successful.”
Also, the media.