New Contract Tracker: Quarterbacks and Interior DL

Everyone’s eyes are now squarely fixated on Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan.  There won’t be a NFL free agent contract signed in 2017 as interesting as the one that Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is going to ink.


When the average person- in or out of the league- ranks NFL quarterbacks from best to worst, how far do you think they get before they spit out the name “Kirk Cousins”?  The answer is likely farther than statistics say they should.

In ten games, Cousins has completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,091 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.  His passer rating is 98.8, which slots him 10th in the league.

In a world where Brock Osweiler makes $18M APY and is blaming laser beams for his troubles, what’s it going to take for McCLoughan to be able to re-sign a quarterback that has drained the swamp of disappointment at Redskins Park and been the primary reason why HTTR is once again a thing people say with (possibly misguided) pride?

wk11qb

WEEK 11 HERO:  Kirk Cousins did it again, and this time in front of the entire nation on Sunday Night Football.  Slicing, dicing and pureeing the woeful Packers defense at will, Cousins ran away with this week’s award by delivering a 375-yard, 3 touchdown beating upon the bewildered faces of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy.

Sure, the Packers defense is in complete disarray right now and D coordinator Dom Capers’ system is as relevant as a Buffalo Springfield cassette tape, but do not take anything away from Cousins.  He was in complete command of the offense and the game from the very beginning, displaying pinpoint accuracy and creating immediate rhythm with all ten teammates on the field.

The man is making it nearly impossible for the team to look any place else for their quarterback of the future. 

There’s something happening here

What it is ain’t exactly clear

Even if the team doesn’t believe Cousins is truly a franchise player and worthy of a contract that will eat up about 1/8 of their future salary caps, what recourse do they have?  How could they possibly sell discarding Cousins to the fan base after what he has done to turn the Redskins’ fortunes around?  For who?  For what?  The sweet 3rd round compensatory pick in 2018?

A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say “hooray for our side”

Re-signing Cousins to a contract averaging $20M per year looks like the only real choice Washington can make.  If and when they do, it then becomes imperative that McCloughan lives up to his reputation as a talent evaluating wizard and hits big on his draft picks and UDFA’s, just as he did previously in San Francisco and Seattle.  Surrounding a capable Cousins with inexpensive guys that can play in this league could very well be the kind of policy proposal that actually fixes Washington DC. 

WEEK 11 ZERO:  Though it came in a win, Tyrod Taylor again left us wanting more.  This time, quite a bit more.

Going 19/27 for 166 with 0 TD’s and 1 INT, Taylor eeked out a victory against Cincinnati and in the process helped even up Buffalo’s record at 5-5.  But that’s the problem.  It’s going to take better than .500-type quarterbacking to vault this talented team from also-ran to playoff force.  I mean, that’s what we’re playing for, right?  To be a championship contender through playoff-worthy performances?

The guy is clearly capable.  The Monday Nighter against Seattle was a virtuoso performance of alternating run/pass sorcery.  That’s a quarterback that can win games in January.  You just have to get to January first and I’m not sure I see the hunger or desperation in his play it takes to earn a playoff place setting.   

With six games remaining, Buffalo has a legitimate chance to break a long playoff drought, but it will require their quarterback to increase his level of play and perform above his current comfort zone.  The physical comparisons to Russell Wilson are fair in terms of arm talent and running/escape/big play ability. 

Right now, the difference between the two is simply this: Russell Wilson will fight and claw tooth and nail until the last second of a game to win it.  Until Taylor matches that kind of focused relentlessness, it feels as though he’s ultimately going to come up a bit…short.

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

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WEEK 11 HERO:  Well, it was not a robust week for interior linemen in week 10.  I could have given the award to Damon

Harrison again, who had another 5 solo tackles and is running away with the stops title among our free agent group.

However, I’ll go with Jack Crawford of Dallas, who is silently having a quality year as part of an overachieving defense that has helped the Cowboy rip off 9 straight wins and counting.  Last week he had a solo tackle and a sack of Joe Flacco in a come-from-behind effort by Dallas.

While the offensive line, Zeke and Dak are getting all the press clippings- and deservedly so- it is worker bees like Jack Crawford that are catapulting the Cowboys to the top of the NFC.

WEEK 11 ZERO:  The Seahawks are starting to catch their stride and last week was no exception as they took out the Eagles in Seattle.  They did it, however, with very little help from DT Ahtyba Rubin.

Rubin failed to crack the scoresheet in 34 snaps and was part of a run defense that gave up 113 yards on 26 carries to Philadelphia.  No one is expecting Rubin to harass quarterbacks all day but he is supposed to be an immovable object versus the run.  

Seattle may be able to continue winning without significant contributions from Rubin, but it would help the cause greatly if he could reclaim the type of line of scrimmage dominance he showed last year, which led to the 3-year deal he signed this spring.

Justin is a contributor to Fansided’s Seattle-centric website EmeraldCitySwagger.com and a life-long Seahawks fan- which was a mostly harrowing experience growing up in Northeast Ohio. You can follow him for thoughts on salary cap information, butchered clock management and the NFL in general@OhioHawk4372.

  • McGeorge

    Justin,
    I don’t agree with your analysis.

    >>Re-signing Cousins to a contract averaging $20M per year looks like the only real choice Washington can make

    I can see Cousins becoming the highest paid QB.
    The Redskins can franchise him again, baring that …
    there are teams like the Jets that need a QB. If they could pay Andrew Luck prices for Cousins (not saying he’d want to play for the Jets) then it would save them years of wasting draft picks on QBs that they could instead spend on rebuilding the team. Take the #2 for Hackenberg and the #4 for Petty and instead use that on the secondary.

    If the Redskins franchise him again, it could anger him. He’ll play out his contract then leave for good.

    He can get way more than 20MM on the open market. Its only if he wants to give the Redskins a home team discount that he would take that.

    • eddiea

      Taylor is ONLY getting $9M this season,but will get Osweiller Money IF the Bills don’t release him by 3rd day of New League Yr. As a Skins Fan i don’t think Cousins is worth $20+M per,but what can tgey do? Then b/c they’ll only have 1WR under contract plus needing OL,DL,LB and FS paying a QB that much will put Skins further down NFC East pevking order. Oh well this is how/when a GM shows they deserve pay and job