Day 3 of the Kirk Cousins watch – Redskins fans under siege.
Exhale – nothing will probably happen before the March 1 deadline to franchise tag Cousins. The Redskins never make things easy and with more than $100 million at stake appear to be suffering paralysis by analysis. Already, leaks of front office dysfunction show positioning over who gets blamed if things go wrong.
The problem with letting Cousins’ situation linger is the domino effect of signing other free agents or retaining their own beginning March 9. With $65 million in salary cap space, owner Dan Snyder should find his old Versace card used to sign Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith during the 2000 spending spree. Team president Bruce Allen’s smart austerity moves over recent seasons need to be revamped. It’s time to spend some money if the Redskins are to truly contend.
Figuring the Redskins don’t sign a long-term deal with Cousins, and why would they given past performance, then nearly $25 million goes to the passer for this season as a franchise player. That leaves $40 million. It’s not enough to get everything done, but Washington could find a couple of needed defensive linemen with that dough. They also need to re-sign nose tackle Chris Baker, but watch for the team to lowball Baker and suddenly need an entire new line. Good luck with that incoming defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
The Redskins probably won’t keep free agent receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Jackson will likely get more money elsewhere while Garcon will seek a longer deal than the Redskins offer. That leaves Washington hoping Josh Doctson recovers after missing nearly all of his rookie season with Achilles problems. It’s not impossible, but requires a few burning candles of hope. Otherwise, Jamison Crowder is the only receiving target while tight end Jordan Reed catches 100 balls and running back Chris Thompson gets 60.
Meanwhile, there are some free agents for Washington to ponder? With Snyder reportedly frustrated the team can’t break past 17-16-1 the last two years combined, maybe he once more overspends on bigger names. After all, fans need to be teased into believing the usual champions of the offseason.
New York receiver Victor Cruz is available after the Giants decided their third best receiver wasn’t worth $9.4 million. Cruz is 30 with past major knee surgery. It’s a cusp signing, but for the right price Cruz should be considered if Garcon and Jackson depart.
Minnesota appears ready to release running back Adrian Peterson, who’s scheduled to earn $18 million after missing 13 games last season with a knee injury. Petersen is a big red light at age 32, but has been an amazing player who might have one more big season.
Let’s be honest, the Redskins need someone better than Robert Kelley and Matt Jones. If they’re not willing to spend a high draft pick, maybe gamble $3 million on Petersen. And if Carolina releases Jonathan Stewart, who’s due $6 million this season, then send Redskins One his way for a bargain price because 30-year-old running backs don’t have much leverage.
If New Orleans can’t restructure safety Jairus Byrd’s $52 million deal with $7.8 million due this coming season to release him, then the three-time Pro Bowler could be a needed pickup in Washington.
So many needs, so little money to spread around if Washington can’t come to a deal with Cousins to lower his cap number. That’s why quickly resolving what to do with the passer is so vital.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.