The Pittsburgh Steelers are negotiating with Le’Veon Bell over a new deal. The San Francisco 49ers are talking with Jimmy Garoppolo. The Washington Redskins and Kirk Cousins – crickets.
The Redskins need to put their best and final offer to their quarterback now. No matter Cousins recently said he’ll wait until the March 6 franchise tag deadline to see what the Redskins might do while judging his free agency prospects.
No, the Redskins need to know whether Cousins truly wants to return so they can find his replacement if needed. That means make the best offer they can. No low-balling. No first offer. Go the distance, somewhere in the five-years, $140 million range. If Cousins doesn’t sign right away, then money isn’t the reason he wants to leave.
Then again, maybe the Redskins aren’t talking because they would prefer moving beyond Cousins and spend the money to bolster the team elsewhere. The Steelers need Bell. The 49ers are desperate to keep Garoppolo, so they’re talking now. The Redskins? Maybe they’d like to keep Cousins, but this team and its fans love new quarterbacks, so if Cousins doesn’t stay they’ll move on to Plan B, and a year from now Cousins is a distant memory for many. After all, it’s not like he has a Super Bowl ring.
But for there to be true clarity over who’s the future passer, talk before the deadline, even if Cousins is using that as a choke hold on negotiations. Cousins not taking a big offer now tells the Redskins it won’t happen later, either.
The Redskins are rightfully looking at quarterbacks during Senior Bowl week. The team needs a young No. 2 if nothing else, but also kicking tires on Baker Mayfield as a potential first-round pick. Mayfield may be there at No. 13 when Washington selects, though the backroom buzz says he could be a top overall pick, too. The next three months till the April 26 draft is time for lies to bloom. Believe nothing, because lying isn’t considered a sin by NFL execs and player agents.
Signing Cousins would mean focusing more on a defensive lineman in the first round, best-player-available talk be damned. The Redskins don’t have a proven draft war room, with Doug Williams getting his first true chance to pick players. Better to focus more on realistic targets than be distracted by shiny, new passers that undoubtedly the front office will want to start come fall.
A debate over Colt McCoy versus a first-rounder is a waste of breath.
End the noise – make the move. If it’s not happening, say so. Let Cousins find a tag-and-trade deal so Washington gets some compensation. Or, look like the team has a plan and sign Cousins as part of a push back to the playoffs.
Silence gets nothing done.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.