Kirk Cousins has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in football over the last couple of seasons – and one of the highest-paid. He made $43.9 million combined in 2016-17 and could make $34.5 million in 2018 – if he is franchise-tagged for a third time, that is.
Cousins, 29, figures to make a lot of money wherever he plays next season, but his No. 1 goal has nothing to do with dollar signs.
“I think at this stage in my game, in my career, I want to win,” Cousins said on Tiki and Tierney. “If you’re not winning, life’s pretty miserable, and when you’re winning, everything’s great. I want to experience that. I want to be on a team someday that will play in this game this weekend. I think ultimately that’s what will drive the decision, if it becomes a decision on my end. That’s where my focus lies: Where can I win? It may very well be Washington. I think there’s a lot of positives in Washington, a lot of talent – they built some pretty good things. It’s just a matter of getting it all worked out.”
Cousins has 94 touchdowns (81 pass, 13 rush) over the last three seasons. Nevertheless, he does not have a long-term contract, which makes Brandon Tierney wonder: As much as Cousins wants to win, doesn’t he also want to feel wanted?
“Well, I think there is some value in being settled,” Cousins said. “I think that is why you see the long-term contracts from a players’ perspective. The ability to get settled is a nice thing. I’d be the first one to say that. But I’m also a guy that’s gone year-to-year because I say, ‘I can be patient. I can wait. I can hold off on that. I can have a little delayed gratification if it means something better down the road.’ So you take the good with the bad and understand what’s at stake. I’m in a pretty enviable position right now, and I think that’s okay. It’s just interesting to see how it’s going to end here.”
Cousins, a fourth-round pick in 2012, believes his best days are ahead of him.
“I do have a firm belief that I’ve gotten better every year,” he said. “I’ve gained more confidence. I’ve broadened my abilities as a player and what I’m capable of doing each year. It’s been subtle, but it’s there. And so I’m excited about the future and what that can bring. I’m going into Year 7; I’m not going into Year 17. So there is a lot of time to still develop and improve. I do think there’s more there and there’s a greater ceiling to reach, and I’ve got to work hard to bring it out.”
Tierney, a lifelong Jets fan, asked Cousins how he would feel about playing in New York. Could he handle the pressure and media scrutiny?
“I don’t know what I’d be walking into,” Cousins said. “I understand there’s always been a stigma around that. I mean, you tell me. Am I missing something? I would like to think Washington D.C. isn’t exactly the middle of nowhere. You got to ignore the noise no matter where you are. There’s going to be criticism, but no, I’m not walking into the easiest market if it’s New York.”