A few questions on the morning after the Kirk Cousins long-term contract extension deadline arrived and departed, being too beautiful for this world.
Q: Why does Bruce Allen call Kirk Cousins “Kurt”?
A: To us few obsessed souls, this is, of course, nothing new. But the issue seems to have attracted unprecedented national interest on Monday: It was mentioned on ESPN, was written about on national websites and was all over social media. The only thing surprising was to see so many render the alternate first name as “Curt” rather than “Kurt.” Since both are potential spellings, why not stick with the one that shares the same first letter as the quarterback’s actual name?
Anyhow, as is his wont, Allen referred to Cousins at least six times on Monday by what I always assumed was a pet name: “Kurt,” or “Curt.” It seems like the easiest thing in the world, pronouncing correctly the one-syllable name of your franchise quarterback — just a basic show of respect and appreciation.
Cousins, though, said on Tuesday that he wasn’t bothered by this situation, and doesn’t mind the misnomer.
“I really don’t,” he told 106.7 the Fan’s Grant Paulsen during a lengthy interview that mostly focused on more serious topics. “I’ve been called Kurt my entire life. I remember having different teachers and instructors who would call me Kurt — K-U-R-T — and it doesn’t matter. It is what it is, that’s fine, not a big deal. There’s a lot of other things I’ve got to worry about. … Trust me, it’s probably not as big an issue as some people may make it out to be.”
(For the record, there were four uses of “Kurt,” plus one of “Kurt is” and one of “Kurt’s. My 10-year old daughter showed me how to make this video. Good father-daughter project. Don’t judge.)
Anyhow, as it turns out, no, it isn’t a pet name, and it isn’t an intentional slight, and it isn’t a misapprehension. Via ESPN.com’s John Keim:
Asked about Allen’s pronunciation of Cousins’ first name, a team spokesman said it sounded that way because of the Redskins president’s accent.
And in fact, Allen and Larry Michael went over this ground earlier this offseason, with Allen appearing to demonstrate that he really just says “Kirk” as “Kurt.”
So there’s one mystery cleared up.
Q: That statement, the one Allen read from, the one that placed the blame for the lack of a long-term deal on Cousins’s side? What was the point of it?
A: This isn’t a sarcastic question. I’ve actually tried to consider some angle I might be missing. Why did the front office beckon a half-dozen reporters to Ashburn to listen to a 112-second statement, with no follow-up questions allowed? Why did that statement identify Cousins as the impediment to a deal? What was the goal?
Whether the front office was sad, disappointed, angry, happy, or indifferent to the lack of a deal, why would Washington’s leaders want the world to know exactly how much they offered — especially when the offer was neither impressive nor realistic?
Now, many fans reacted poorly to the statement, seeing it as the team publicly picking a fight with its captain. But other fans had what I assume was the intended reaction: They thought Cousins seemed either greedy for not accepting the team’s offer, or uninterested in signing any long-term deal with Washington. And so it follows that those fans thought more poorly of Cousins at the end of business Tuesday than they had at the beginning of the day. And I can’t think of any serious motivation the team might have had other than that: to turn some of its fans against its starting quarterback.
Q: Why would you want to turn some of your fans against your starting quarterback?
A: Indeed. Why would you want to turn some of your fans against your starting quarterback?
Q: Maybe the front office was also trying to sway the prevailing media winds by getting its story out, in public, on the record? Maybe, after the Scot McCloughan disaster, someone figured a clear, on-the-record statement would be better than any anonymously leaked reports conveying similar information?
A: Yeah, maybe. But if they were trying to sway the prevailing media winds, I don’t think it worked.
Q: Okay, so maybe they didn’t want a message vacuum, and they just couldn’t think of anything else to say?
A: Maybe. Or maybe they could have looked to other teams for guidance.
Here was Pittsburgh General Manager Kevin Colbert, after the team failed to reach a deal with Le’Veon Bell this week:
“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell before today’s deadline,” Colbert said. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”
Here was Kansas City GM John Dorsey’s statement after failing to reach a deal with Eric Berry at last year’s deadline:
“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach a long-term agreement with Eric’s representatives before today’s deadline,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “Although both sides would have preferred a different outcome, Eric is a true professional and a tremendous football player. We know that he will continue to be a leader in our locker room and we look forward to resuming our discussions on a long-term agreement when the negotiating window reopens after the season.”
Here was Buffalo GM Doug Whaley’s statement after failing to reach a deal with Jairus Byrd at the 2013 deadline:
“We worked very hard to come to a long-term agreement with Jairus, but unfortunately, were unable to reach one before today’s deadline,” Whaley said.
This isn’t to suggest these situations all went smoothly, or avoided hurt feelings, or had happy endings. But the statements have a slightly different tone than Allen’s, which included this part:
“On May 2nd, right after the draft, we made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million) and guaranteed a total of $72 million for injury. The deal would have made him at least the second highest-paid player by average per year in NFL history. But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent this year.”
Q: Despite the lack of a long-term deal, does Cousins still love the Burgundy and Gold?
A: You know it! HTTR!