WASHINGTON — On the eve of his fourth Training Camp as the Washingon Redskins’ head coach, Jay Gruden has 99 problems but the contract status of his quarterback ain’t one.
Whether Kirk Cousins is under contract for just 2017 or the rest of his life, Gruden is approaching this season the same way: with a Super Bowl mentality.
“Kirk is no different from Terrelle Pryor, Zach Brown, Will Compton, all these guys that are on one-year deals,” Gruden told Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday. “We’ve got to coach them up, do the best we can and try to give them every opportunity to be successful.
“I think all of these guys are coming out with the intent to do their best…We’re going to do the best we can to coach the guys in the building, whether that’s one year or they’re on five-year contracts, it really doesn’t matter.
“We’re going to put the best players on the field, coach them up the best we can and try to get as many victories and get to that Super Bowl.”
Even though the Kirk Cousins situation seems direr than in years past, this is actually the third consecutive season in which Cousins has played out the last year of his contract. Last year, Cousins was joined by top receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, defensive lineman Chris Baker and tight end Vernon Davis.
That’s just a normal day in the office for an NFL coach.
“I think the contracts will take care of themselves,” Gruden explained. “You like to take care of everybody and have everybody have five or six-year contracts. The reality of pro football nowadays is that’s not going to happen. We’ve got to make sure we pay the right people, keep the right people in-house.”
With that being said, Gruden understands the hype around Cousins and doesn’t seek to downplay the importance of this negotiation to the team’s fans.
“I think there’s been a lot to be made of it and deservedly so. He’s a very important player on our football team–he’s the quarterback for goodness’ sake,” Gruden said of Cousins. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted him as a long-term solution here for the Redskins.
“There’s a chance that could happen. It’s not totally out of the question and we could still get him as a long-term quarterback here. Our job now is that the guys come into Training Camp, July 26th, coach them up and get them ready to play.”