What the Redskins should do with Kirk Cousins

By John Bernardo
Mar. 15, 2017

What is an NFL team without a quarterback. Hopeless. Helpless. Lame. Boring. Look at the bad teams in the league. Browns, Bears, Jaguars, Forty Niners, Texans, Dolphins, Bills, Rams, Vikings, and Jets. All of those teams have bad quarterbacks or average at best. Look at the roster of some of those teams. Texans, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller. Rams, Jets, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Matt Forte, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson. Dolphins, Ndamukong Suh, Jay Ajayi, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker. Some of those aforementioned teams have serious NFL level talent on their roster; except for the position that matters most. Quarterback. 

So that leaves us with an above average quarterback. Kirk Cousins is the QB for the Washington Redskins. You might remember him from doing things like this.

Or maybe you remember this.

Cousins is a solid QB. Let's define solid. Since 2012 Cousins has tossed 72 touchdowns and 42 interceptions. He's achieved a completion percentage of 65.9 and a quarterback rating of 93.6. For perspective, Tom Brady's quarterback rating is 97.2 and his completion percentage is 63. I'm not saying Cousins is as good as Brady. What I am saying is Cousins is worth keeping. If Cousins is worth keeping, what is he worth?

To value a competent NFL quarterback is like putting a price on water in the desert. Let's say quarterbacks are water, and draft picks are food. I absolutely need water. But I could live a bit without food. Let's say you came up to me and said I'll give you this food for that water. I say no. You double your offer. You offer to give me twice as much food as I have water. All the food in the world isn't going to change the fact that I need water. This is what people don't understand about quarterback's in football. You need  them. There is no price for a competent QB.

Scot McCloughan, recently fired GM of the Redskins

Kirk Cousins is better than competent. Let's say you're the General Manager of the Washington Redskins. The Cleveland Browns come knocking on your door saying they'll offer their 1st round pick for Cousins, as well as their 2nd round pick. Are any of these players in this draft going to be worth what Cousins is for the next 3 years? No. How many quarterbacks have been taken in the first round that have busted? Countless. Cousins is practically untouchable. 

RGIII
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Don't forget, Washington traded away 3 first round picks and a 2nd round pick in 2012 to trade up and get the #2 pick overall from the Rams to draft Robert Griffin III (funny how Cousins was a 4th round pick in that same draft). Clearly, Washington was burned by trading away draft picks in order to get a quarterback. It'd be crazy for them to trade Cousins away for uncertain guys in the draft. There's no Andrew Luck in this draft. The recent notable young guys like Derek Carr, Dak Prescott, and Russell Wilson, yeah those guys weren't even drafted in the 1st round. 

Ask any quarterback deprived team if they would take Cousins. This the Jets might like Cousins? The Browns clearly want him. You know any Bears fans? Ask them how they feel about Cousins, VS whomever is their starter. You remember when the Patriots looked crappy against the Texans in the playoffs this year? Imagine if Kirk Cousins was their QB instead of Brock Osweiler. If the Texans had even average QB play they could've won the game.

And that's what it all comes down to. Kirk Cousins isn't a superstar. But he wins games. So much about the NFL is having a QB who can win the game for you. Who can make something happen when your run game is stalled. Who can go score for score against the other team. Cousins can't do it all by himself, but when he's on, he can get it done. More importantly, you're not going to automatically lose because of him. Sure, he's had some untimely errors. But look around in their division. Eli Manning is good enough to win games. Dak Prescott busted onto the scene and he isn't going anywhere. I don't know what will happen with Carson Wentz, but the Redskins can't afford to find out the hard way. 

Can the Redskins afford Cousins? Sure. He'll be expensive. But what other option do they have? They should've given Cousins a better contract offer earlier. Cousins chose to not sign the contract and bet on himself. So, the Redskins utilized the Franchise Tag on Cousins. Turns out, Cousins was right to bet on himself. Now they're going ot re-tag him. Sooner or later, Washington is going to have to pay the piper. They may as well get it done sooner. I always like when a guy bets on himself and succeeds. That tells you a lot about the guy. About how he believes in himself. If not Cousins, then who?

It's not like the Redskins were the Packers and Aaron Rodgers was waiting in the wings behind Brett Favre. This isn't the 49rs when Alex Smith got concussed and Colin Kaepernick took the NFL by storm. The backup QB for the Redskins is Colt McCoy. He's not an NFL starter. When he had opportunities he failed. It's not even like they have Matt Flynn, a competent looking guy who ultimately never made it as a starter. It's Kirk Cousins or nothing. Going from something to nothing just doesn't make any sense. Keep Cousins, ride or die with the guy. He has taken them to the playoffs once, and they barely missed last year. Good luck getting that with all the draft picks in the world. Rookies are too young, too green, and NFL defenses are too good even for the best rookies. Pay Cousins, sign him long term, and do the best you can to improve the team around him. There are no other competitive options.