Speaking on his show that aired over the weekend on NBC, Jay Gruden told host Chris Cooley that he wants Cousins’ contract situation to be resolved.
After two years of both sides saying they were OK with Cousins on a one-year deal, it appears that patience is running out. During a question-and-answer session with fans Friday in conjunction with his paid weekly appearances on 106.7 The Fan, Cousins said he was fine playing on another one-year deal, but added, “You can only just kind of go year-to-year for so long.”
Cousins has played the past two seasons on one-year deals under the franchise tag, leading to season-long questions about his future with the organization.
“I think something has to be done,” Gruden said. “I personally don’t want to go through another one-year deal, and just one year, one year. I think you want to have a quarterback in here that’s going to be here. And hopefully that is Kirk, and if not, we have to move on and do what we have to do as an organization.”
Part of Gruden’s desire stems from knowing how to plan for the future and how cap space needs to be allocated in 2018 and beyond. It could impact who the Redskins want to pursue.
If they retained Cousins on a one-year deal, it would cost either $34.5 million (under a franchise tag) or $28.8 million (transition tag). If they opted to go with backup quarterback Colt McCoy and a rookie, the cost would be at most around $10 million this season.
Both Gruden and Cousins have extolled the virtues of playing in one system for a long time.
“For the most part, the great quarterbacks are in the same system for year in and year out, and are developing in that system,” Gruden said on his show. “We’re not holding our breath every March and April, waiting for the guy. If that’s the case, that’s the case. But we like Kirk and his development. He’s played well at times, without a doubt, proven that he’s a good starting NFL quarterback.”
What the sides haven’t agreed upon is Cousins’ worth and what he should receive in a long-term deal. That could remain a sticking point this offseason as well.
Gruden told ESPN before the season ended that he would not take it personally if Cousins opted to leave, even if the decision came down to something other than money.
“Not at all, no, not at all,” Gruden said. “It’s a business. We’d like everything to work out. We’d like to have everyone back. He’s no different than any other free agent. … We put a lot of work into those guys and we’d love to see them back. They have to do what’s best for them and what’s right, and no hard feelings. Wish them well.”