It turns out Kirk Cousins never asked for a trade from the Washington Redskins in the first place.
Appearing on the Know Them From Adam Podcast today with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cousins told Schefter that while he did meet with Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the prospect of a trade was brought up, Cousins was just asking about how his long-term future with the organization.
“I did inquire if there was any interest in trading me to get an understanding of their perspective,” Cousins said. “The answer I got back was Mr. Snyder communicated his belief in me and desire for me to remain a Redskin.”
Trade rumors have swirled around Cousins for the greater part of the off-season so far, with the most common one being the Redskins trading him to the San Francisco 49ers, as Cousins is said to be a huge fan of new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Cousins also told Schefter that he first heard the rumors about him allegedly demanding a trade while at shoe store an employee approached him about it:
“I laughed and thought, ‘I don’t know where that comes from because that wasn’t the case,'” Cousins said. “Somehow it got twisted to where an employee of the store is using the word demanded. That’s not the approach I took.”
If the Redskins and Cousins don’t work out a long-term agreement before July 15, Cousins will play the season under the exclusive franchise tag, a one-year contract that the team placed on Cousins ahead of the NFL’s franchise tag deadline.
Cousins will make $23.9 million in 2017 if he plays under the tag, which will make him the 4th highest quarterback in the league for this particular season behind Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, and Andrew Luck. Cousins played under the regular franchise tag last season and made $19.9 million.
Per Spotrac, Cousins would receive a four-year, $95.1 million contract on the open market if he were an unrestricted free agent. That massive deal would pay Cousins an average annual salary of $23.7 million, which would make him the 3rd highest paid player in the NFL annually next season. Under the tag, Cousins would also be the league’s 3rd highest paid employee, behind his teammate Josh Norman and Luck.
It’s been an interesting ride for Cousins in Washington since the Redskins drafted him 102nd overall in the 2012 NFL Draft after four years at Michigan State. Cousins appeared in a variety of games for the Redskins in 2012, 2013, and 2014 before current Redskins head coach Jay Gruden named him the starting quarterback for the entire 2015 season.
Cousins becoming the starter in Washington in 2015 signaled the end of the Robert Griffin III era in Washington, as he was the Redskins third-string backup quarterback behind Colt McCoy for Cousins break out season. It was then that season that Cousins posted one of the best seasons by a quarterback in Redskins history.
The 28-year-old Cousins followed up that season with another very good one in 2016, throwing for a career-high 4,917 yards and 25 passing touchdowns. His 97.2 passer rating ranked 7th in the NFL behind Sam Bradford, Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan.
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