In the last two days there have been many opinions regarding the Redskins and Kirk Cousins being unable to come to an agreement on a long-term contract before the deadline last Monday. Most of them have taken sides. But consider a take from Bill Polian, the former Colts general manager and president, who says that, for the time being, both sides have benefitted from the franchise tag.
Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio, His logic starts by assessing the base nature of a high-paying job – giving himself, his children and grandchildren financial security.
"Kirk Cousins never has to work another day in his life if he chooses not to," Polian said. "Now, he's a very smart guy. I'm certain he invested his money wisely. I'm certain he'll invest this money wisely and so he's on easy street. Anything he does from here is really a bonus. It may be a gigantic bonus but nonetheless a bonus because what's the purpose of a job if not to feed your family? That's the first purpose of a job and he's achieved that and he's achieved it in spades. So in a very real sense, he is playing literally playing with house money. What does he have to lose?"
This would make it seem as though the Redskins are on the negative side of this equation, but Pollian is quick to dismiss them making a mistake in this process.
"They have gotten the quarterback at market rate. The only thing they haven't gotten is a long-term deal," Polian said. "Long-term deals carry with them risk, even for quarterbacks who play a long time. So, they assumed no risk. Other than the immediate risk, which they would assume under any circumstances anyway because the first time a veteran player signs his contract or actually when he makes the team, his contract's guaranteed for skill and injury anyway. So, the bottom line is they've assumed no real risk at the cost of a market rate contract. So, the Redskins haven't lost anything."
Much of this hinges on the end of next season of course, and Polian knows that the Redskins will have to make a decision when it comes to franchising Cousins for a third consecutive year, trying to hash out a long-term contract or potentially enacting a sign-and-trade. Still, a franchise tag – estimated at around $34 million -- won't be as taxing as people think.
"The cap's going to go up, it's not debilitating and he [Cousins] may say, 'bring it on, now I'll take care of my great-grandchildren,'" Polian said. "So, this is truly a win-win. The only thing that hasn't happened is that the touchy feely part of it: 'Oh, they haven't respected him.' 'They haven't given him the chance to be a real leader.' You know all that malarkey that surrounds these contract negotiations is not there.
"It may be that they transition tag him, sign, match and trade and you know, you can't put poison pills in anymore," he added. "So if they clear cap space, at which Bruce Allen has no peer when it comes to dealing with the salary cap. He's the expert of experts and he understands the football part of it too, which is rare for cap people. The bottom line is, do they clear cap space, match and then, create a trade, which would give them the value of the services that Kirk has put in for them? That's the one I'm going to be watching. The offseason negotiations are the one that I'm going to keep a close eye on because I think there's a lot that the Redskins can do, and there are going to be decisions that the Cousins Camp has to make. But in the meantime, noone's hurt, everybody's doing well."
In other words, onto the season.