Cousins planned to re-sign before Smith trade

Brian Tinsman
August 24, 2018 - 10:04 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Like two star-crossed lovers, Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins never could get it right. Now, months after they found new, healthy partners, it's impossible not to consider how life might have been different.

At least that might explain why ESPN is still focusing on how the Redskins traded for Alex Smith and Cousins left in free agency for Minnesota.

In a Friday interview with Sal Paolantonio on NFL Live, Cousins explained how as recently as the week of the Super Bowl, Cousins assumed that he was staying put in Washington, perhaps on a long-term deal.

According to him, that's the place that made the most sense.

"When I was here Super Bowl week, I very much thought Washington was in the picture," Cousins explained, "to the point that I thought they made the most sense. I always felt like the grass isn't always greener on the other side and I'd had success there and why start over and hit the reset button if you don't have to?"

Instead, the Redskins struck early on a trade opportunity with the Kansas City Chiefs, securing Smith's services as the Chiefs looked to get younger at quarterback. The move caught Cousins legitimately by surprise, especially considering that the trade could not be truly confirmed until the league year started in March. 

The move actually gave Cousins additional time to consider his options and get comfortable with the teams who might be seeking his service.

"I was very much thinking that Washington would be in play," he reiterated, "but the team didn't want to wait that long and so they had to do what they had to do."

And indeed they did.

This latest development is interesting for two reasons:

1. It flies in the face of widespread and widely accepted reports that Cousins didn't want to be in Washington past 2017. There were many in the media who believed that Cousins was vying for a taste of free agency and would take the best opportunity to leave the Redskins empty-handed.

2. It seems like a strange conclusion for Cousins to reach if he hadn't been in contact with the team since the end of the regular season. His narrative in the aftermath of the trade is that he had not spoken to anyone in the Redskins' front office since season's end, so why would he believe that his best option was in Washington?

Regardless, Cousins got a fully guaranteed contract from the Vikings and has a multi-year contract for the first time as an NFL starter. Meanwhile, the Redskins have their first multi-year commitment to a quarterback since Jason Campbell.

Only time will tell if both sides made the right choice.


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