Cousins in March signed the one-year franchise player tender, which will pay him just less than $20 million. The Redskins still can negotiate toward a multi-year deal, which would carry a lower salary-cap figure. They must do so by July 15, or Cousins will play on the one-year franchise player contract.
That deadline is now just less than two months away. But general manager Scot McCloughan said he isn’t concerned by a lack of progress.
“It’s a big contract, and a position that’s very important to us, and he wants to be in the organization,” McCloughan said on Monday before teeing off at Ryan Kerrigan’s annual golf tournament to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “We’re going to figure it out. If it’s not done by July 15, don’t worry. We’ll still get something figured out.”
McCloughan firmly believes in “taking care of our own,” meaning he wants to re-sign standout Redskins players rather than let them hit free agency. Last year, he signed Kerrigan, an outside linebacker, and left tackle Trent Williams to contract extensions before their contracts expired. Two weeks ago, McCloughan and the Redskins gave tight end Jordan Reed a contract extension so he doesn’t become a free agent following the 2016 season.
Cousins tops the to-do list.
McCloughan said talks between the team and Cousins’s agent, Mike McCartney, remain ongoing, and that he had briefly spoken to Cousins about the situation earlier the same morning.
“It’s a positive conversation, and you guys are well aware, we want him back, he wants to be here,” McCloughan said. “It’s just a matter of getting a deal done.”
Cousins last season emerged as Washington’s starting quarterback after three years as a backup and set franchise single-season passing record, throwing for 4,166 yards to go with 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, a quarterback rating of 101.6 and a league-leading completion percentage of 69.8.
He too said on Monday that he isn’t worried about the situation, and while he is leaving the matter to his agent and the team, he’s trying to avoid setting any type of expectations about when he’ll get a long-term deal.
“I’ve just tried to focus on letting my play do the talking and let the team and my agent do the rest,” Cousins said. “There’s obviously plenty of time, and I don’t think a lot gets done or happens when you have plenty of time. … My expectations are I need to get better, I need to be improving and developing myself as a player and beyond that, I don’t really expect or try to predict what could happen.”
Cousins said he knows how unpredictable things can be in the NFL. This time last season, he expected to play out the final year of his rookie deal as a backup to Robert Griffin III, and then sign somewhere else.
Now, instead, he is set to either play on a one-year deal that dwarfs his salary in 2015, or receive a handsome multi-season contract.
Fully entrenched as Washington’s starter, Cousins said he feels confident entering the 2016 season.
“Nothing’s promised,” he said, “but whether it’s a one-year deal or a 10-year deal, you’ve got to go out and prove it every game, every year, so I feel very stabilized in my role and just excited to take advantage of every opportunity, and it is a phenomenal opportunity.”
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