News of the Jimmy Garoppolo being traded from the New England Patriots to the San Francisco 49ers may have brought out a false sense of hope on the chances of Kirk Cousins signing with the Redskins. Sure, on the surface it appears Cousins’ former offensive coordinator turned 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is passing up the opportunity of a reunion. With Cousins’ other former offensive coordinator turned Los Angeles Rams head coach seemingly having his quarterback of the future in Jared Goff, Cousins’ options may be dwindling by the second.
However, the notion could be furthest from the truth. The chance of Cousins signing a long-term deal with the Redskins is at best 50/50. I would say 40/60. Cousins is still having a strong enough 2017 campaign, playing on his second franchise tag, to either force the Redskins’ hand to place a third consecutive tag on him to keep their options open or his price tag being out of reach of Washington’s desire.
Cousins is on pace to throw for over 4,300 yards, a career-high 30 touchdowns, and a career-low nine interceptions (as a starter). If he matches or exceeds those projections that would be his third straight 4,000-yard season. He is the only Redskins quarterback to ever throw for back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons. Those numbers are in high demand in the National Football League.
Let’s dig through the surface to see the deeper ramifications of Garoppolo to San Francisco:
1. 49ers Understood the Market
No that’s not the financial market. The 49ers understood that Cousins was out of their reach. At 0-8 on the season and the team going nowhere, there was not much to intrigue Cousins in the Bay Area. Sure, Shanahan and wide receiver Pierre Garcon (Cousins’ former teammate) are there. But, that’s not enough!
Cousins is in the position to be a missing link of a team right on the cusps of greatness. The 49ers may take a couple of seasons before they hit their stride under Shanahan. Cousins is a perfectionist, he wants greatness. That does not come in San Francisco and John Lynch understood that. Their best bet to land Cousins was through a trade. The Redskins to that point of Monday, had not entertained that notion.
On the open market there will be too many suitors that are a quarterback away from a Super Bowl. Pick a team they’d be more intriguing to Cousins. He is best when there is a good deal of talent around him. The 49ers don’t have that and won’t have that no time soon. Instead Lynch and Shanahan grab the next best thing to Cousins in the quarterback market, Garoppolo, who may have more upside and now they don’t have to fight for in free agency.
2. 49ers Understood Cousins May Not Hit the Market
The other thought to the 49ers madness of passing up on Cousins is the fact they were not confident he would even be available. For the past two offseasons the Redskins have shown they are either not ready to give up on Cousins, have no better option than him or simply they want him by placing a franchise tag on him. Nevertheless, the indication is that the Redskins will at the very least think out all their options.
That’s not a chance San Francisco can take. They need a franchise quarterback sooner than later. Right now, there is no sure answer in college and the Patriots were willing to part with Garoppolo.
3. What Are Cousins Options?
No, Cousins and his agent aren’t feeling they are running out of options. Have you seen Trevor Siemian in Denver? Blake Bortles in Jacksonville? The quarterback situation in Minnesota? The Arizona Cardinals? Jay Cutler in Miami? What Todd Bowles has done with the Jets with Josh McCown? Andy Dalton in Cincinnati?
Yeah, the list goes on and on.
Plus, the Redskins either have no better option, no clue of what to do, or again, still want Cousins. He has his leverage. He has a market that could blow the ceiling off. Someone is going to be ready to pay Cousins a boat of money.
A quarterback that thrives with a talent pool around him, the options are wide open and better than San Francisco. All Cousins needs to do is keep his leverage with his play on the field. Garoppolo to San Francisco does not change the narrative. We’ll be revisiting what the Redskins will do and who will be lining up to make a franchise-changing offer next spring.