When Kirk Cousins signed his franchise tag, his salary jumped to an astronomical $19 million for this upcoming season. Most observers scoffed because there’s no reason under any logical circumstances that a quarterback should see his salary increase the way Cousins’ did after one good season, or that Cousins should be making that kind of money anyway. However, Washington GM Scot McCloughan disagrees, vehemently so.
“I told Kirk when he came in — and his wife must have hugged me for 10 minutes because he just went from making $600,000 to $19.9 million — I told him: ‘You take care of me and this organization, we’re going to take care of you. I promise. And we’re going to build this roster to where you can be average and still be good. I promise you,'” McCloughan said to NFL.com.
While $19 million per for Cousins is lunacy, he probably would have made more in a bidding war on the open market. Brock Osweiler got $37 million guaranteed from the QB starved Houston Texans for seven rocky starts with the Super Bowl champs. The Bills once traded away a top-ten draft pick plus a fourth-rounder for Rob Johnson and handed him a $25 million contract back in 1998, He started once.
Cousins still has a chance to improve his play even more from last season, and if he does so his salary, and cap hit, will go up. McCloughan won’t care because he’ll likely have a winning team on his hands.
“Correct, and I’m OK with that (laughs),” McCloughan said. “Let me overpay him if he’s good. If you have a productive guy, it helps everything, and it proves out. You look around this league and see the teams that are in the playoffs every year and look who the quarterbacks are. Look at the ones who win. It proves out.
“Don’t get me wrong, the O-line is huge. The running game is huge, which we had in Seattle. But when it’s all said and done and the quarterback can get the guys rallied around him, you have a chance. You’re going to play good defense. That’s easy to fix. You just draft good football players. They can be a small guy, a big guy, as long as they can find the ball. The special teams are going to be good because we’re going to build through the draft, so the younger guys will be big in that. But that quarterback, I’m telling you …”
Cousins had decent pieces around him last season as Washington stumbled and bumbled their way through the terrible NFC East to win their first division crown in three seasons, but with the quarterback being the most important position in any pro sport, overpaying someone like Cousins is likely going to be better than starting Josh McCown while you wait for the pied piper to come and save the day.