The Redskins are coming off a huge win in Seattle and one of the narratives that came out of the game was the praise for Kirk Cousins on that final drive and how he did under extreme circumstances. I’ve made it known that I’m not a Cousins guy and that probably won’t change unless he does something extraordinary. The thing the performance did make me do is try to examine the pro and the con side to this argument because both sides feel very strongly. With that, let’s examine the statistics and arguments for each.
Reasons Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback:
– Kirk Cousins enters Sunday second in NFL history in completion percentage (66.2) among players with at least 1,500 career attempts.
– He has the top two seasons for passing yards in franchise history (4,917 in 2016 & 4,166 in 2015), top two seasons for completions (406 in 2016 & 379 in 2015)
– Cousins is 2nd in franchise history with 29 passing touchdowns in a season.
– The signal caller is 14-10-1 in games decided by seven points or less.
– Cousins has 8 4th quarter comebacks and 11 game winning drives.
Reasons Kirk Cousins is not a good quarterback:
– Kirk is 0-2 in the playoffs but 0-1 as a starter. (32-56 360 yds 1 TD 0 INT)
– Kirk is 25-28-1 in 54 starts for Washington over six seasons.
– Cousins is 3-9 against the Cowboys and Giants in his career.
– He’s never won a Monday Night Football game in six attempts (8 TD/4 INT)
– Cousins benefited from DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed who were a top 15 group in the league.
Things to consider when weighing in:
– Kirk Cousins is the fifth highest paid quarterback right now and that number figures to go up if he returns in 2018. Matt Stafford, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees are all paid more.
– Cousins is dealing with a reduction in talent at wide receiver with Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor along with a rarely healthy Jordan Reed this season yet he’s on pace for 26 touchdowns and almost 4,300 yards.
– Cousins is averaging 7.8 yards per passing attempt which is 0.1 Y/A behind Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.
– Drew Brees, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater are some of your options in free agency.
As you can see, there are numbers both positive and negative involving the signal caller. He’s put up fantastic statistics over his career, but I argue that those numbers in the past were because of the team’s lack of a run game. In 2016 he had 606 attempts while the team ran the ball under 400 times. Of course someone is going to do well when you get that many chances. He also had fantastic weapons in 2015 and 2016. It’s very hard to overthrow a DeSean Jackson and it’s hard to not hit Pierre Garcon.
The NFL’s salary structure is now teams overpaying for their quarterbacks in order to keep them from going in free agency. I maintain that Stafford and Carr are not worth the contracts they are getting, but that’s what the market is dictating. Washington also did this to themselves by not inking Cousins to a long term deal earlier. Let’s say they get something done with the Michigan State Spartan earlier then this argument is moot because his salary is most likely justified.
If you want to pay him, then the team has a smaller margin of error when it comes to filling other holes on the roster. They can’t swing and miss on guys because there will be less room under the cap. If you don’t want to pay Cousins, then you are willing to take a step back with a rookie quarterback or some unproven veterans. Cousins will get his money somewhere even if the Skins aren’t the ones to give it to him.
Ultimately, this whole thing could be decided by the quarterback himself. He may be tired of the disrespect and want to leave or he may like the team’s direction and continue to lock himself in on exorbitant one year deals. Love him or hate him, he’s the signal caller of Washington for the rest of this season.