Washington football is at the ultimate crossroads these days.

After last season’s playoff appearance and divisional title, the sky was—and might still be—the limit for Washington’s NFL team. With all the house’s money riding on free-agent-to-be quarterback Kirk Cousins this year, his rocky start to the season has drawn mounting criticism. Cousins hasn’t been fantastic, but a 2-2 start and back-to-back wins has the team enjoying a more positive aura than they possessed just last month.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

The offseason plan was to retain Cousins for a year, surround him with talent for another playoff push and re-sign him as a permanent staple after he submitted another rock star campaign. But things don’t always go as planned, and it might be time for Washington to start considering a plan B. But what’s the backup option? Even if Washington plans on tanking the season, there’s no guarantee they’ll find a quarterback with a top pick in next year’s draft, and franchise quarterbacks don’t normally make it to free agency. Washington may have to bring back Cousins next year simply out of necessity, but at what cost?

Owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Scot McCloughlan have no problem resisting the urge to lay big money on Cousins. They want to see an encore performance from the quarterback, but early signs aren’t suggesting that that will happen his season. But even if Cousins doesn’t crank out another All-Pro campaign, he might still be in the drivers’ seat considering Washington will have their backs against the wall next summer.

On the heels of a frustrating home win against Cleveland, there are still going to be concerns about Cousins going forward. He’s still not seeing the field the way he was late last season, and he’s still turning the ball over way too much. Cousins has his flaws and he may never develop into a blue chip signal-caller—but that might not even matter when it’s all said and done. With few options at the quarterback position next season, Cousins may not have to build on last year’s performance to still take home a big payday this offseason.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO