Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass under pressure in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Arlington , Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
Washington’s Kirk Cousins just submitted one of the best seasons by a quarterback in team history and could be ready to cash in during the offseason. Cousins picked the right time to peak—the conclusion of his original four-year rookie deal may lead to a new contract which could potentially pay as much as $15 million a year. The odds are in Cousins’ favor, as the 26-year-old signal caller caught fire in the latter half of his first full year as a starter.
The regular season success didn’t fully transfer into the postseason but it was a positive experience for followers of a franchise that’s been a consistent failure over the last few seasons. Washington’s 9-7 campaign and NFC East title was enough for a playoff spot, but the team eventually bowed out to the Green Bay Packers. Were Cousins’ feats enough to earn him a huge contract? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: Cousins’ team records for completions and passing yards were enough to elevate his stock in the eyes of Washington. It’s not often that a quarterback can set single season records, and once that happens, they need to be retained at all costs. Cousins’ importance to the team, coming on the heels of the failed project that was Robert Griffin III, opens up the possibility of a huge extension for Cousins.
Green: Cousins’ importance to the team will without question make him a top priority to re-sign, but Washington is definitely set up to overpay. Sure, Cousins set team records that weren’t really all that lofty to break, and he piloted his team into the postseason out of perhaps the worst football division in the NFL, so what does that make him? Is there talent there? Yes, absolutely. Is there a hint of his being overrated? Of course, no doubt. This year’s draft class doesn’t appear particularly deep, putting Washington in a prime position to overpay. The last time Washington broke the bank for a quarterback, they walked away with RGIII as the prize. That money could best be served patching up the defense and finding a serviceable signal caller. I’d re-sign him but for no more than $10-12 million per year. If he doesn’t take it, let him walk and start all over.
Riley: Proven quarterbacks just don’t grow on trees, so Washington and owner Daniel Snyder should have no problem cutting Cousins a sizeable check. The NFL is a passing league, and teams will continue to overspend for players who can keep them afloat in today’s game. Cousins didn’t exactly have a magical campaign, but he had one of the best seasons in team history and that will definitely count for something. Critics always complain about how much money a certain position or player makes. But at the end of the day, the organization’s job is to place value on prime positions which give the club a chance to compete. Cousins’ 2015 season put Washington in excellent position, and they’ll find other ways to reshuffle money around before playing it cheap with Cousins.
Green: The team could be better served trying to ink any other quarterback to a one-year deal while patching some of the areas on the team left untended thanks in part to the RGIII deal from a few years ago. It just hasn’t been a good experience when Washington gives a huge payday to a quarterback. Whether it’s simply bad luck or the inability to spot a franchise passer, Washington should try its best not to make such a large investment for only a short resume. Give Cousins a deal similar to what Ryan Fitzpatrick received when he had a decent year in Buffalo back in 2011: a six-year deal worth $59 million. I’d offer Cousins maybe $75 million over six years. As a quarterback with only one decent season under his belt, that’s all he’s worth in my eyes.