The Washington Redskins were blamed quite often for Kirk Cousins’ departure. It’s not that simple and his agent explains why it might have been tough all along for the team to re-sign him. That doesn’t mean the Redskins couldn’t have done things differently to try to get a deal.
But in an interview with 106.7 The Fan on Friday, Mike McCartney said the seeds for the path Cousins eventually traveled were laid in 2015.
“I planted the seed and had that vision you might be the guy that can change the way contracts were done,” McCartney said. “He got excited as we talked more and more about it.”
Both sides ultimately received what they wanted: The Redskins have stability at quarterback and a guy who wants to be here in Alex Smith; Kirk Cousins got to choose his next team and be rewarded in a way he wouldn’t have been otherwise. This isn’t about the merits of the decision. It could well be both sides benefit. Smith is a good quarterback and the Redskins can afford to spend a little more because he costs less. Cousins did join a team that was within one win of a Super Bowl that returns just about everyone. Except, of course, its quarterback.
The Redskins now must build around Smith. Cousins now must prove he can lead a team far.
So this isn’t about assessing blame. But it’s about analyzing how it reached this point, something many no doubt don’t care about and just want to move on. However, neither side liked the best offer by the other. Washington offered a deal worth $16 million per year with $24 million guaranteed. And McCartney showed a glimpse of the future: He proposed a fully guaranteed three-year deal at $19.5 million per year. There were other on-going issues that made a deal tough, but from a financial perspective, perhaps it was never a good match. Two tags later, Cousins, a player considered good but not great, was on the road to a fully guaranteed three-year deal worth $84 million.
“This was probably a perfect storm,” McCartney told 106.7. “Kirk started playing well in the fourth year of a rookie contract. Because of the franchise tag, a lot of times we negotiate and find comparable players. In this case, I stuck to the franchise tag and it just made it difficult. I understood that after one year of being the starter, it made it difficult for a team to really commit to a guy long term. He hasn’t been the starter in the offseason where defensive coordinators can start game planning for a guy. So from a club perspective, it just made sense they needed a little more time after that first year. In the second year, there were so many changes in the organization roster wise [receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson] and coaching wise [Sean McVay] that Kirk wanted to take more time.”
But it’s not always personal for the agents and teams. Look at Paul Richardson, for example. He has represented by the same agent as Garcon. Yet this is where the agent wanted him to be, knowing well how Jay Gruden’s offense operates. In 2016, the agent, Brad Cicala, had discussions with the team about having them trade Garcon.
No harm, no foul. Richardson got done -- and partly because of what Garcon told him, as well.
“I have a really good relationship,” McCartney said on the show. “[Redskins chief negotiator] Eric Schaffer sent me a really nice text [Thursday night]. I saw those guys at the combine.”
But as McCartney said, Cousins' departure was a perfect storm. Sometimes, it's not about blame and a deal just doesn't work.