Like the Los Angeles Rams, the Washington Redskins also failed to sign a franchise caliber player long term at the franchise tag deadline. However, their player may be slightly more significant as it happens to be franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins.
For the second straight year, Cousins will be playing on the franchise tag making him the only quarterback to ever do so in back to back seasons and making his future in the nation’s capital that much more uncertain.
According to ESPN the Redskins have viewed Cousins as being good, but not great, and their offers reflected that. They offered Cousins a five-year deal for approximately $20 million per season earlier in the offseason, with “low guarantees” according to one source which would have obviously been much less than the $23.9 million that he will make with the franchise tag.
With the two sides unable to come to a long-term deal, it seems very likely that Cousins will hit the market next season as a free agent.
In his two years as the full-time starter, Cousins has thrown for a combined 9,083 yards, 54 touchdowns and 23 interceptions and has ranked fourth in the NFL with a total quarterback rating of 71.3.
Cousins’ yardage ranked 10th in 2015 and 3rd last year. Both of those season occurred with Sean McVay as his offensive coordinator and from 2012-2013, Matt LaFleur was also Cousins’ quarterback coach.
That begs the question: If Jared Goff struggles in 2017 or is even slightly average, could the Rams a) trade for Kirk Cousins pending a long-term deal and in turn give away Goff and draft compensation or b) simply sign Cousins in free agency?
It is certainly a possibility. Cousins has had his two best seasons as a starter with McVay calling the offense and when it comes to free agency, many times it’s players following a coach, going to their hometown, or joining a contender. Arguably after this season, the Rams would fit two of those categories.
If McVay and general manager Les Snead feel that Goff is holding the team back and they could become a Super Bowl contender with Cousins, with no ties to Goff, the new Rams head coach could seek getting his quarterback that he’s also had the most success with.
Last season, Goff looked lost in seven straights losses as he threw just 155 yards per game and more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (5). Even if Goff improves, it would be mighty tempting for McVay to pursue his quarterback in DC.
Like the Trumaine Johnson situation, this will be one to watch. The Rams will also need to be able to extend cornerstone players like Alec Ogletree, Aaron Donald, and Lamarcus Joyner.
Donald will require a contract upwards of $20-million and Ogletree should be around $8-million, while Joyner could be around that same range.
It would take some creative work with the cap as the Rams have a projected $39-million in space which ranks 8th in the NFL going into 2018.
Ever since the departure of Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger, the Rams have struggled finding their franchise quarterback. Like when Drew Brees left the then San Diego Chargers in 2006 for the New Orleans Saints, the Rams could get lucky and find their franchise quarterback next offseason in free agency.