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Cousins signs tender, but WSH makes a mess

By: Chris Jeter

The jury is still out on Kirk Cousins, but either which way, he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with Washington anymore and will likely leave after next season for nothing.

Less than 24 hours ago, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins met with owner Dan Snyder requesting a trade to no avail. With that option off the table, the quarterback accepted the franchise tender and will remain in DC for at least another season. With the current segment of the Cousins saga at its apparent conclusion, it shows how Washington always finds a way to mess things up, even if they have a good thing going.

The team’s apprehension to lock Cousins up on a long term deal is understandable. They don’t want to commit multiple seasons to a player that might just be a flash in the pan. Looking at the numbers, though, it’s hard to talk the team’s side.

Cousins took over as the starting quarterback in 2015, the beneficiary of another bungled quarterback situation with first round draft bust Robert Griffin III. He started that season slow but caught fire from week seven on, throwing 23 touchdowns to only three interceptions in that span. Cousins finished with a 71 total QBR, sixth behind the likes of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger. While Cousins put up big numbers, critics felt he feasted on inferior competition.

Instead of signing a long-term deal, Washington franchise tagged Cousins, hoping to see if the signal caller could duplicate his success. He did that and more in 2016. He threw for over 4,900 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 71.7 total QBR was again sixth in the NFL. Again, though, critics point to Cousins strong receiving corps and good offensive line play (Washington finished third in adjusted sack rate). So instead of locking Cousins up long term, Washington did the same old song and dance.

Pundits can argue for days on end whether or not Cousins is an elite QB. Maybe it’s harder to see the argument where he is an elite quarterback, however, as was the case with Tyrod Taylor situation in Buffalo, Cousins possess above average skills under center and remains the best option Washington has.

What’s their alternative? Getting Tony Romo and his bad back that might be one hit away from having his career end? Drafting a quarterback in a weak quarterback class? Starting Colt McCoy, heaven forbid? Aside from maybe the Romo scenario (and they’re not getting him), those options sound worse than keeping Cousins around.

Under the current franchise tag, Cousins will earn $23.9 million. Only Andrew Luck and Drees will make more in 2017. With the importance of the quarterback position, especially in today’s NFL, Cousins only stands to get more expensive. If Mike Glennon can convince the Chicago Bears to give him $15 million per season, it is a safe bet that Cousins can command much more on the open market next year, assuming Washington does not tag him again.

Washington took a big gamble hoping Cousins was exactly what they thought he was. It did not work. Now they are paying elite QB money to a guy they think is anything but. Cousins may not be the quarterback Washington wants long term, but he is the one they have and need. If they continue to play games with their homegrown quarterback, they might get the result they deserve: Cousins bolting the nation’s capital for nothing.

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Chris Jeter

Staff Writer
Chris has always had a love for sports. He inherited his affinity for them from his New York Yankees-loving dad and grandad, even if they gave his beloved Orioles a hard time during their 14 years of futility. Chis grew up an Orioles, Ravens, Maryland Terrapins and Chicago Bulls fan. His love for the local teams can from his mother. His love for the Bulls came from Michael Jordan and his favorite color being red. As a youth, Chris played basketball, baseball, and soccer with varying degrees of success. He always wanted to play for a team in one of those sports when he grew up, but once he quickly realized that, that was probably not going to happen, Chris wanted to be a part of sports in some other way. Eventually, Chris settled on becoming a sports writer. A year after transferring to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he took Media & Communications Studies with a Journalism Minor, he began writing for The Retriever, initially as a contributing writer and eventually as a staff writer for sports. After several months writing for The Retriever, he began writing for So Much Sports, covering various college sports and as a columnist, writing about a variety of national sports topics.

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