WASHINGTON — Grant Paulsen called his shot with Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins in the summer of 2015.
The backup to Robert Griffin III to that point, Cousins — to the shock of many — was announced as the starter at the conclusion of that preseason, a role he has yet to lose since. Not after leading the Redskins to consecutive winning seasons.
Importantly, Cousins was announced the starter after being announced as a regular guest on 106.7 The Fan, perceived at the time as giving a prominent radio spot to a backup QB.
On Thursday, Cousins, for the third straight year, was announced as a regular guest of 106.7 The Fan for the upcoming season, an exclusive deal for which Paulsen openly admitted Cousins took “substantially” less money than the team-owned radio station offered for a competing deal.
That’s the reward for loyalty in Cousins’ eyes, it would seem, for betting on him before others were willing to do so. And now, here the Redskins are, with one month remaining to try to sign their franchise QB to a long-term deal.
“I’m not in those meetings where they’re trying to figure out if Cousins is going to sign with the team,” Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog told Chad Dukes. “But, from what we know, it seems that kind of loyalty has been part of the equation here, that he hasn’t felt wanted, necessarily, by the team.”
“Just dealing with the Kirk Cousins contract and nothing else,” Steinberg began to theorize, “the Redskins would be in a better spot today if Grant Paulsen were their GM, and I think that’s true.”
“I think that Grant probably would have signed Cousins to a deal as the backup quarterback in 2015,” he added. “I thought that Grant was crazy, and I kind of bought into some of the ‘What’s going on here’ dynamics when it seemed like Robert Griffin III was the starter, but, I mean, Grant was higher on him than just about anyone, earlier than just about anyone, and I think that history has been kind to his argument.”
To Steinberg, the argument for the wait-and-see approach — to see what Cousins could do with a full season under his belt, which the Redskins ultimately ended up doing (twice) — made sense at the time, what with Cousins being a relatively unknown quantity as a starter.
“I was like, you know, it makes sense,” Steinberg said. “Let’s watch him for another season and see him prove it again, and then once he proves it for another season, then everyone would feel better about doing it, and then you would feel a little more solid in giving him the money.”
“That made sense to me at the time, but the part where I fell short was not understanding that suddenly Kirk has a lot less incentive to do that,” he said. “He’s kind of in the driver’s seat at that point. He bet on himself and he won, and there was no reason at that point for him to cut the team a break, in a way that maybe he cut this station because he felt that loyalty and that love. I think that’s where I missed the boat, and I think that’s where other people missed the boat, in that, once he won, then he didn’t really have the incentive to give the team [a deal].”
“If loyalty’s that important to him, and investing in him is that important to him, then how angry is he with the Redskins,” Dukes wondered. “Because they still haven’t done it.”
“Yeah. I would love to get him unvarnished on that question,” Steinberg said. “Which is maybe one of the slight downfalls of him as a radio guest, is that he doesn’t necessarily pour out his heart.”
“He’s conscious of not making waves,” he added. “But I would love to know his true thoughts on that question.”