by Rick Snider

It’s time for everyone to come together. To forget past slights and work toward a common goal. To be great again.

No, not the country, though that would be good, too. We’re talking Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins will pay the quarterback $23.94 million this season under the franchise tag for the second straight year. Forget talk of trading Cousins to San Francisco or even Cleveland. It’s time to move on to a long-term deal and continue to build the team around a passer who can play at least the next five years.

Anything else is nonsense.

Sure, there are some hard feelings, though anyone upset about making $1.4 million over three hours — win or lose — every Sunday this fall needs an attitude adjustment. That’s more money than many people make over their entire lives. That should be sobering enough to a level-headed person like Cousins to take a breath and work out a long deal.

Sure, the Redskins didn’t fully embrace Cousins over the past two years. They made him earn his windfall, but that money is coming like few deals in NFL history so the past is irrelevant. Cousins will have more money by January than most folks could squander in a lifetime and even more is coming. So, money isn’t the biggest factor anymore for Cousins. It’s being happy.

Cousins gets his payback against team officials from tussling general manager Scot McCloughan’s hair after a victory to making owner Dan Snyder sign a weekly check with lots of zeroes. Cousins has the final word so leave it at that and make a multi-year deal. No more talk of setting the market for those who follow him in the business. That will come on its own.

Fans also have to make peace with Cousins. It seemed many still longed for predecessor Robert Griffin III while others continue to chase that unicorn of a quarterback that would now be Sonny Jurgensen’s grandson.

The Redskins went through 23 other passers since the 1991 Super Bowl championship before finally gaining Cousins and all he’s done is throw for 9,083 yards and 54 touchdowns over two winning seasons. Short of the superstars of the game, nobody is better and Redskins fans well know it gets much worse.

It’s time for Cousins lovers and haters to come together because he’s the only path to success over the next few years. Not Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld or Tony Romo or some first-round pick. The Redskins have a good quarterback. It’s time to recognize it and move on to the many, many other team needs.

A long-term deal probably won’t come until the July 15 deadline because that’s just how it works. Cousins will watch other quarterbacks sign big deals to set a new market high and go off of that. And because Cousins can either receive $34 million next year if the Redskins tag him again or walk free, he has all the leverage.

A front office that asked Cousins to prove himself now needs to prove it can do the right thing and offer a serious contract offer that ends 2018 indecision and move ahead with Cousins.

Otherwise, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” says the man on the five-dollar bill.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.


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