Reading Between the Lines: Bruce Allen on Kirk Cousins

WASHINGTON — Kirk Cousins has said he wants to return to the Washington Redskins. The Washington Redskins have said they want Cousins back. Neither side wants another franchise tag and both sides are open to a long-term deal.

But Cousins says the talks haven’t advanced much since the end of the season. So what’s the deal?

Team president Bruce Allen joined Grant and Danny on 106.7 The Fan and gave the familiar talking points about his quarterback’s development, value, and future. But there was something lurking in his response to being asked if he thought Cousins was a good player.

“This year, hopefully, you know, we probably could have handled it better; he could have handled it better. Whatever. We’re gonna get back at it,” Allen said. “There’s no doubt that we feel strong, we just couldn’t work out an agreement with his agent last year on a long-term thing. And so that’s where we are.”

It’s unclear if Allen is referring to last year’s negotiations, Cousins’ “How do you like me now?” public interaction with general manager Scot McCloughan, or something else entirely, but something could’ve been handled better.

It’s also what Allen said about Josh Norman that might shed light on the organization’s feelings at quarterback.

Danny Rouhier asked: “You guys have been a little more, frugal may not be the right word because that has a negative connotation, but I would say savvy with some of your contracts. Has there been a shift since you’ve come to Washington?”

“I don’t think we were very frugal on Josh Norman,” Allen responded. “When a great player became available, we jumped right on it and we’re happy that we did.”

Held in contrast to his comments about Cousins, the obvious questions are whether the team sees Cousins as a “great player,” and if the team will get to the point of jumping right on negotiations before it’s too late.

Grant Paulsen, asking about the financial philosophy regarding quarterbacks, wanted to know if the opinion inside Redskins Park is “that 24 million’s a lot to pay a quarterback, or 24 million’s a lot to pay Kirk Cousins?”

“Well, 24 million’s a lot of money,” Allen said. “So let’s not pretend we’re playing Monopoly here.”

But in the context of the team’s negotiations with Norman, Allen later said that the salary cap doesn’t even factor that much into determining the final number.

“Not that much. You know, I don’t even have a calculator,” he said. “We know what the projections are for the cap. Those aren’t secrets for the next few years. It’s really the market that day.

“When we signed Josh Norman, it had nothing to do with what the cap’s gonna be in the future or five years from now. He wanted to be put in a position with the other corners who are the top-flight corners in the NFL, and you try and work out a deal based on that.”

Finally, Allen rejected the notion that the Redskins are on a dwindling clock for getting a deal done.

“We just have to come to an agreement with his agent. I think we will,” Allen explained. “There’s no doubt that we want him and I don’t think there’s any doubt he wants to be with us. We’ve said that, so we’re dating, and now we just have to–”

“Well he wants a ring, Bruce,” Paulsen interjected, referring to a long-term contract. “I mean, look. You guys are on a shot clock. He basically said you’ve got six months. Here’s the deal: If I don’t have a ring, there’s places I can get married elsewhere.”

Allen: “No, we think Kirk’s best years are in front of him. That’s why we are interested in a long-term deal. We think he’s gotten better each year, and we do believe under the leadership that we have, he will.”

 

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