The Washington Redskins have made Kirk Cousins the first quarterback in NFL history to receive a franchise tag two years in a row. Over the last two seasons, Cousins has had individual success and led the team to a positive record in each season. So given the great singular importance of the starting quarterback position, why have the Redskins not signed him to a long-term contract?
Cousins has started every game over the last two seasons. In that time he has thrown for over 9,000 yards and 54 touchdowns, and led the team to a combined regular-season record of 17-14-1, including a conference championship in 2015. These are not small feats in the very competitive NFC East. Some teams are stuck in a never-ending search for their franchise quarterback. They draft and sign new signal callers every year, but cannot find the right guy to get the job done.
When it comes to the quarterback position, the NFL draft scouting process frequently becomes an exercise in wishful thinking. Teams reach on quarterbacks because the benefit of finding the right guy at that position outweighs the risk of missing on a first round pick. The Redskins themselves drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall selection in 2012. Don’t get me wrong, Griffin was not a reach. He played very well for the team before injury pushed Cousins into the starting role. The Redskins drafted Cousins 100 picks after Griffin in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft as a (forgive the pun) backup plan in case Griffin was hit by the injury bug. Griffin was injured enough and Cousins played well enough that the team let Griffin go, so why would they not solidify things with Cousins?
No position in any of sports has a greater impact on the entire team than the quarterback in NFL football. Teams search for years for “the guy” who can lead them to the Super Bowl. It is no wonder why this occurs. A quarterback can truly make or break a team, a franchise, and a coach’s career. With all that said, why have the Washington Redskins not figured out how to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal? The Redskins would certainly be better off overpaying Cousins than alienating him and becoming “one of those teams” when he inevitability leaves in free agency and they are stuck without their starting quarterback.
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