ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Kirk Cousins is getting valuable snaps on the practice field going into his third season as a starter. The Washington Redskins quarterback is also getting just as many chances to answer questions about a long-term contract.
Cousins is facing the prospect of playing a second consecutive season on the franchise tag with a July 15 deadline looming for he and the Redskins to agree on a deal. With less than two months until the deadline, he doesn’t seem concerned and doesn’t expect anything to happen until the calendar flips to July.
“Deadlines do deals,” Cousins said Wednesday after the team’s second session of organized team activities. “That’s just kind of a rule in negotiating, so why would something happen way before a deadline? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not in a hurry, they’re not in a hurry, so we’ll just see how things go. I’m being patient.”
Cousins said July 15 will be a “telling date” as it was last summer when there was no deal done and he was locked into playing on the franchise tag . After breaking his own franchise record with 4,917 passing yards while making just under $20 million last season, the Michigan State product would make about $24 million this year if he doesn’t get a long-term contract.
Cousins one-year salary would be the second-highest of any NFL QB, behind only Cam Newton. But a multi-year agreement would speak volumes about what the organization thinks of the 28-year-old Cousins. Team president Bruce Allen said Monday there is a “constant dialogue” with agent Mike McCartney and that the July 15 deadline would be the driver toward a deal.
Cousins described the talks as “positive,” and Allen said he was still optimistic about getting a deal done.
“We’d like to get a long-term deal, and I think he should want to get a long-term deal,” Allen said. “Kirk’s played well on a one-year contract the last two seasons. The reason we want to sign him to a long-term deal is he’s gotten better and better each year. I think he has a lot of good football in front of him.”
Cousins seems to thrive in prove-it situations, be it his senior year of high school when he had no scholarship offers or his draft year when he wasn’t considered a top prospect. Cousins was quick to point out that his recruiting coach from Northwestern was at the practice facility on Wednesday and remembered that the school chose to go in another direction.
Washington hasn’t done that, but the Redskins also haven’t given Cousins a long-term deal. If nothing gets done this summer, the team could theoretically use the transition tag on Cousins again for 2018 — but that’s not an ideal route for anyone.
For his part, coach Jay Gruden isn’t concerned about it right now.
“I know he’s going to be here this season,” Gruden said last week. “That’s all I care about. Whatever happens, happens with him and his agent and our organization. But I’m excited to coach Kirk for a third year in row. He’s got two good years under his belt in our system and I think it’s going to be very good for him.
“You’re going to see major growth from him again. I’d love to have him for a long-term deal, but this is the year I’m worried about.”
Cousins has plenty to worry about, including his wife due to give birth to their first child in September. He doesn’t seem stressed about his contract situation.
“I feel like everybody is on the same page,” he said. “I feel good about where I am at, where this team is at, where my teammates are at. And so it is just a matter of trying to move forward and we will see what happens come July 15.”
NOTES: LT Trent Williams and TE Jordan Reed are not participating in voluntary OTAs. Gruden said Williams was working out in Oklahoma and Reed in Miami. … Gruden called Matt Jones “absent” and hopes the running back is there for mandatory workouts next month. Jones lost his starting job to Rob Kelley last season and has been shuffled down the lineup by more offseason moves. … WR Josh Doctson took part in OTA workouts after missing almost all of last season with Achilles tendon injuries. … LB Junior Galette is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn right Achilles tendon.