It’s the obvious answer. The last time current Redskins GM Scot McCloughan was negotiating with a quarterback coming off of a small production sample size, he and Seahawks GM John Scnieder gave former Packers backup Matt Flynn 3 years and $20.5 million with $9 million guaranteed. After a 2011 Week 17 start vs the Lions in which he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns, Flynn became a hot commodity and the quarterback starved Seahawks opened their wallets.
McCloughan is mostly credited with helping find QB gem Russell Wilson that same year. He is the draft guru with the laundry list of pro-bowlers and productive players accredited to his scouting ability. In the 3rd round of that draft, after signing Flynn, the Seahawks found the cheaper, better alternative that made Flynn expendable after one year.
Now in present contract discussions with the quarterback taken 27 picks after Wilson, it seems Scot is applying some of the lessons learned from the Flynn negotiation. Even if he wasn’t responsible for the contract, what he witnesssd has seemed to make him more cautious in handing out another big deal. The success of the Wilson pick most likely adds to McCloughan’s bravado at the table with Cousins’ agent.
Kirk has more games under his belt than Matt Flynn, but as a result, the impending contract and potential mistake only loom larger.
The Redskins want to pay for current production in a market that commands a price for potential future production (a proposition to which I’m sure Team Kirk has balked at). A quick market scan shows that a deal for a young ascending passer demands $17-$20 million right now. The alternative is a franchise tag priced at over $19 million which rolls the dice on an even more expensive deal down the line.
However, the longer the delay and the more data points in the market, the more it could cost Kirk. If Foles, Bradford and Osweiler get big deals, then a franchise tag may be the prudent move for the Redskins. If the other quarterbacks get smaller deals then the starting point of negotiation may be lower in a dampened market. In the end, the hesitation from McCloughan and the Redskins to strike a long term deal quickly could cost Kirk millions.
This like most investments ends up being a risk reward proposition. McCloughan has suffered losses in the quarterback contract market and has experienced high returns on investment in the draft. This has led to tentativeness in the Cousins discussions. Cousins has done everything he can do to warrant the contract he will get this off season. He’s a high character guy with potential that is worth the money he’ll end up getting from the Redskins or someone else. However, the failure of Matt Flynn witnessed by Scot McCloughan is now the obvious source of delay on Kirk’s large pay day.