For the first time in his career, Kirk Cousins has been a starter in every game for the Washington Redskins. Undecided about his future until recently, it now seems the team is leaning towards locking him up on a multiyear contract once the season is over.
Of course, everyone is quite high on his four-touchdown performance in the win over the Saints, a career high for Cousins, as the Redskins improved to 4-5 and look well within the realm of possibilities of making the playoffs, in an NFC East led by a 5-5 New York Giants. A team that everyone picked to finish last in the division still doesn’t have a win against a team with a winning record, but it’s looking a lot more respectable and competitive than in the last two years, which isn’t something to ignore when successes are so hard to come by for the franchise in recent seasons.
Jay Gruden, the head coach, has already said he would like to have Cousins stick around for a little bit longer, hinting at the expiring rookie deal at the end of the season. It’s probably now up to Cousins, his agent and Scot McCloughan, the team’s general manager, to come up with the right numbers. And to think three weeks ago it would be crazy to think the Redskins making an offer to Cousins, who would have accepted a cheap offer. Two good game in the span of three weeks, and the whole dynamic has changed.
But it is worth remembering that Cousins has just two games with more than one touchdown pass, four games with two interceptions and five games with a passer rating of below 70. He doesn’t have the best offensive line, that’s no secret, but he’s not exactly showing the consistency a team needs from a franchise quarterback. The key phrasing is above replacement level, which is actually rare to find in the NFL these days. And Cousins of the last three games (or two of the last three) is exactly that if not better.
In the wins against the Rams and Saints, Cousins combined to throw 7 touchdowns without any interceptions not to mention posting a perfect passer rating against the Saints and averaging 12.96 yards per throw. But these are the Saints, who fired Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator, after the game. Cousins needs to show the same kind of ability, or at least close to it, in the next two games (at Carolina, vs Giants) in order to prove he’s worth counting on and keeping around.