Two months before the July 15 deadline for signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract, Washington Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said Monday he’s not spending time worrying about the status of talks and is focusing instead on the season at hand.
“My approach, really: I’m not gonna be concerned about it,” Gruden said before taking part in the Ryan Kerrigan Leukemia Golf Classic at Lansdowne Resort. “I know he’s gonna be here this season, and that’s all I care about.”
Cousins, who will turn 29 in August, is assured of returning for his sixth season with the Redskins and his third as the squad’s starter, via a second consecutive NFL franchise tag that will pay him roughly $24 million this season. A long-term contract brokered by the NFL’s deadline would supplant that agreement. If no such deal is reached, Cousins would be free to sell his services on the open market in 2018. And on the heels of setting back-to-back single-season records for passing yards, there is a market for Cousins.
“Whatever happens, happens with him and his agent and our organization,” Gruden said of Cousins. As head coach, his focus is on helping Cousins continue to elevate his play in his third season as an NFL starter.
“He has got two good years under his belt in our system, and I think it’s gonna be very good for him. You’re gonna see major growth from him again.”
In 2015, his first year as a starter, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and led the Redskins to the NFC East title. Last season, he threw for 4,917 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions but, with a playoff berth at stake, struggled in the regular-season finale against the New York Giants. The Redskins missed the postseason, finishing 8-7-1.
While Gruden made plain he’d love to have Cousins signed to a long-term deal, he noted: “This is the year I’m worried about.”
Monday’s event at Lansdowne benefited the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.
In addition to Gruden and Kerrigan, among those taking part were defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, running backs coach Randy Jordan and players Colt McCoy, Will Compton, Arie Kouandjio, Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long, Nick Sundberg and others.