And so it begins.
I woke this morning to the news that the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins have verbally agreed to a deal that will send QB Alex Smith from the Chiefs to Washington and the Redskins. “Ok,” I thought, makes sense considering the mess of a situation there’s been between the Redskins and their current QB Kirk Cousins over the past couple of seasons, and my hopes were raised for the possibility of my Cleveland Browns getting their hands on Kirk Cousins now that it’s 99.9999999% certain he’ll be hitting the free agents market come the off-season. Then I saw the reports about the deal the Redskins are going to be giving Alex Smith for his services.
It’s reported that he’ll get four more years added to the one year he has left on his current contract meaning he’ll be under contract with the Washington Redskins for the next five years. During those five years, he’s said to be making $23.5 million per year with $70 million in guarantees! That’s a massive deal for a QB that has been thought of for most of his career as “average”.
Alex Smith has got to be one clever cookie. The Kansas City Chiefs moved up in last years draft to acquire their QB of the future, Patrick Mahomes, and Smith suddenly becomes this machine proving everyone wrong about him being just average. Whenever the discussion arose about him the naysayers would always point to the fact that he wouldn’t/couldn’t throw the ball deep and was nothing more than a game manager. Well, seems he knew he was on his way out of Kansas City soon enough and wanted to make sure whoever he ended up with paid him well — I always find it amazing how much players can perform when it’s about time for them to be getting a new contract.
As the researchers at PFF have shown in the graphic above, Smith can sling it downfield better than anyone and he only had 5-INTs all season!
Basically, what I’m getting at is that, yes, Alex Smith had a very good season all-in-all and for the first part of it he was talked about as the sensation of the year and everybody loved him. That was until his performance level started to drop and he was back to same old average Alex Smith and it was time for the Chiefs to put in the new kid, according to many. It’s this “Average Alex” that makes me wonder how on earth the Washington Redskins can justify to themselves paying him as much as they reportedly are going to. They’re also reportedly going to give up a good young cornerback, Kendall Fuller, and a 3rd round draft pick to get him. I bet the Chiefs are loving this deal as they regard Fuller as a starter and a 3rd rounder can get them another quality player from the draft.
Personally, I think the Redskins are paying too much for Smith as they don’t know which one they’ll get once he’s signed for all that money. There’s no denying that he can be an excellent player and has proven that in 2017 but 5-years and $70 million guaranteed when they weren’t willing to give Cousins a good contract extension?
So, what does that mean for Kirk Cousins?
In all honesty, I’m not bothered what the Redskins are going to pay Smith and for how long as I think they’re a team that is destined for mediocrity for some time to come and well done to Alex Smith for getting such a great deal as he reaches the final stages of his career.
What concerns me is, what does this mean Kirk Cousins is going to be worth? If a 33-year-old Alex Smith is worth that much, surely a 29-year-old Kirk Cousins who has chucked the ball for over 4,000-yards each of the past three seasons and has been up there with the top QB’s once he’d established himself as the starter, is going to be worth a lot more, right? The guy is, basically, a top-10 NFL QB right now and those guys get paid!
Why this concerns me is because I’ve been holding out hope that the Cleveland Browns might be in with a chance of grabbing him to be their starting QB for the next five years which would give them the chance to use draft picks and other free agency moves to address all the other needs the roster has before plugging-in a young QB they get from a draft at some stage down the line — that’s right, I’m not one for pulling the trigger on a QB in this draft class as a priority (shock horror).
The only way I can see Cousins coming to Cleveland is if he gets paid massively. I’ve seen reports that people aren’t rating him as highly as he seems to rate himself, but to come in and turn a losing franchise around is going to take a lot of work and big names like him are going to want paying well to try to do that.
I’d see Cousins wanting the kind of money Matt Stafford and Derek Carr have been paid in recent years which would make him one of the highest paid in the league. Is he worth that? To the Browns, I think he probably is but there are plenty of other teams out there looking for their franchise QB and who could give Cousins more success in the game a lot sooner than the Cleveland Browns could.
Teams that I imagine will be chasing the signature of Cousins are the Bills, Browns, Jets, Broncos, Cardinals and Jaguars. I’ve even seen the Minnesota Vikings thrown in the hat as a possible suitor for him what with the situation they have at QB with regards to contracts.
I saw a good image on Twitter this morning after the trade news broke:
Where Kirk Cousins ends up depends on what he wants from the game. If he wants a whopping great pay deal then he could very likely be on his way to Cleveland, but if he wants to go out there and compete for success earlier then he’s probably better of going to one of the other teams.
As I’ve already mentioned, I’d like to see him playing for the Browns in a role that will give them time to find and get ready a young QB from a future draft, but if he’s not going to be a Brown, I’d love to see him playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars if they can shift Blake Bortles and his $19 million cap hit instead of re-signing him. Cousins would cost more than Bortles if Bortles were to re-sign but you get what you pay for and Cousins would be the final piece to get the Jags to the Super Bowl quickly. That’s something I’d love to see. If I were the Jaguars, I’d take whatever I could get for Bortles and throw a blank cheque at Cousins as now’s the time for them.
Whatever happens from here on in, now that the first domino has been pushed, I’m looking forward to it. This off-season should certainly be an interesting one as players get released and then signed.