There are some NFL teams that are hurt by bad players. There are some that are hurt by bad coaches. And then there are some that are hurt by horrific owners and General Managers. The Washington Redskins fall into that last category. They have squandered talent and opportunities for years, and while they have been fighting with their quarterbacks over contracts and bending to the will of diva players, the Giants and the Eagles both won Super Bowls and the Cowboys have had sustained success.
The biggest example of Washington’s complete ineptitude is the way they handled the situation with Kirk Cousins. Their 2012 fourth-round selection developed into an above average starting quarterback who has the ability to lead a competent, if not impressive, Redskins offense. He has a 65% career completion percentage to go along with 16,000 passing yards and 99 touchdowns.
The Redskins hit Cousins with the franchise tag in 2016, which was not an uncommon move to try and keep their franchise quarterback. However, the problem came with them being utterly unable to strike a deal with Cousins. Some of that may have been due to Andrew Luck’s record-breaking contract that was signed in the 2016 offseason, which provided him with an average yearly contract of $24,000,000. That would have been a steep price to pay, however, the Redskins would have been able to sign Cousins to a much more reasonable deal, most likely around $19-21 million a year, because his talent and track record were not at the same level as Lucks at that time. Washington failed to strike a deal with Cousins that year and was forced to slap the franchise tag on him for the second year in a row in 2017, paying Cousins a whopping $23,000,000. If they had struck a deal with Cousins the year before, they would have had to pay less money and be able to have less stress about their future.
Instead, the Redskins let another year go to waste and now Cousins is a free agent and will not be returning to Washington. The Redskins solution was to trade a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs for Alex Smith. They then signed Smith to a four-year extension worth $23,000,000 a year.
So instead of signing Cousins to a deal back in 2016 for at MOST $24,000,000 (because even at the very worst they wouldn’t have had to pay Cousins more than Luck), they wasted two years of talent and money to end up trading away an elite young cornerback and a third-round pick to have to pay a game-manager quarterback the same money that they would have had to pay their franchise quarterback.
Is Kirk Cousins an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady-level player? No. But he is an above average player at the most important position in the NFL. Not only did the Redskins pay an absurd amount of money to actually downgrade at the position, but they also lost one of their best defensive players who is still improving.
Losing Cousins isn’t entirely on the fault of the Redskins. He certainly could have been pushing them for ridiculous amounts of money and it may be his fault for not accepting an appropriate contract. However, with the way the Redskins handled the Alex Smith trade, it’s clear that they are a team with no strategy or ideology and they are content with mediocrity.
Until next time – B$