WASHINGTON — On Friday, neither the Washington Redskins nor Kirk Cousins blinked at the deadline to negotiate a long-term deal from the franchise tag. Reports now indicate that the team didn’t change its offer after the scouting combine in February.
NFL insider Mike Garafalo kept tabs on the negotiations throughout, noting in February that the team had made a pair of offers to Cousins and Co. in the ballpark of $12.5 million and $15 million on multi-year deals.
That pales in comparison to the $19.953 million Cousins signed with the franchise tag. No doubt, Cousins and his representation used this number as a starting point for negotiations, creating a gulf between the two as the deadline ticked down.
“I talked to someone who was informed of the negotiations all the way through, and they said there was one more offer after I reported that,” Garafalo told NFL Network on Friday. “It was at $16 million per year, and it was right around the time of the scouting combine. And from that point, the Redskins did not improve that offer.
“Again, $16 million per year, with about $24 million in guarantees. If you look at the franchise tag, he’s guaranteed $20 million already, so that would’ve been only about another $4 million guaranteed. This didn’t make sense for Cousins to take that deal. He might as well play on the tag at about $20 million.”
But just because there was distance between the offers and demands doesn’t mean that there is necessarily animosity. Cousins seems to have an understanding of what is expected and what he needs to do to earn the kind of money he seeks.
“He believes that the Redskins want to see him do it again,” Garafalo explained. “He’s willing to do that. He bet on himself before the franchise tag deadline by not taking their deals, by saying, ‘Hey, y’know what, go ahead and tag me.’ They did. He’s willing to bet on himself again here.”
If Cousins repeats his performance in 2016, including setting a number of franchise records, Redskins management will likely be thrilled to reward him with a multi-year deal. Until then, the two sides will have very different numbers in mind.
“These two sides were not even remotely in the same ballpark,” Garafalo said. “I said earlier about how Von Miller’s tag was worth $14 million per year and the team’s offer was about $19 million, so it wouldn’t make sense to stay down here. You can flip that for Kirk Cousins: his franchise tag up here at $20 million and the team at about $16 million.
“It never made sense for him to come close to taking that deal.”