Seemingly every NFL insider with sources or former executive with significant experience in such matters thinks it is highly unlikely that the Washington Redskins sign their quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract before the deadline to do so (as a franchise-tagged player) on July 17. In fact, pretty much everybody anywhere, including fans and players alike, tends to doubt a deal gets done.
Except for me.
This isn't the result of talking with some people behind the scenes or involved in the negotiations, mind you, although sometimes I question how much value that provides this far ahead of the deadline anyway. My "sources" are common sense and human nature.
The common sense comes from the Redskins' point of view. There are a lot of Redskins fans that have various issues with team president Bruce Allen, and while some of them may have merit, it's hard to argue that he's not an intelligent man. Or at least smart enough to realize that you don't let a top-15 quarterback in the NFL leave. Ever.
Especially if said quarterback has excelled for the current head coach in his system on the field and is a model citizen and solid face of the franchise off it.
If Allen were to let Cousins leave, that would ultimately be his legacy in Washington. As a guy who grew up a fan of the team because his dad coached them, that would be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
Plus, when is the last time Redskins owner Dan Snyder was accused of being cheap in terms of doing what it takes to try to bring a championship to Washington? Skins fans have a lot of problems with Snyder, but a reluctance to spend or use his resources to do at least what he thinks is in the best interest of the team, even if that has at times been misguided, is not one of them.
The Redskins have been waiting a long time for a franchise quarterback in the prime of his career, and now that they finally have one, they are just going to let him walk after this season? I find that hard to believe.
That's why people can talk about the big numbers involved or the franchise tag amount (over $34 million) for next season or the potential of a transition tag or whatever they want, but ultimately on the Redskins side I am betting that common sense prevails and they offer Cousins a lucrative deal that is worth signing.
That bring us to my other "source," human nature, and that is entirely about Cousins and his family. I don't know Cousins very well, but I played with hundreds of players on five different teams during my time as a player and I can think of very few, if any, who enjoyed the uncertainty and ambiguity that has been hanging over Cousins for over 18 months to this point. Do you really think he wants to play another season on a one-year contract that will then lead to another round of offseason tag speculation before finally (hopefully?) getting the long-term deal and security that comes with it that all players inherently crave?
That's not to say he won't do it again or is afraid of playing another year on the tag. He's already proven that he can and he will. But that's not the same as wanting to continue the state of limbo that he's been in since the tail end of the 2015 season.
Cousins has spent five years with the Redskins and is very well liked and respected in the DC area. He and his wife Julie have been married for over three years and are expecting their first child in September. Human nature suggests that they would like a place to call home for an extended period. It would go against almost every natural impulse to feel otherwise.
That's why if the Redskins offer a fair deal, which I think they will, I believe Cousins will accept. Unless there is a very high level of animosity between the two parties regarding how the situation has unfolded to this point, it's hard for me to believe otherwise.
I'm aware of the reports regarding how much interest teams like San Francisco and Cleveland could have next offseason if Cousins were to hit the market -- and the money that would likely come as a result -- but Cousins is smart enough to realize a lot can happen between now and then and that nothing is a lock in that regard.
I've also heard all the reports regarding how doubtful or unlikely it is a deal gets done, but when's the last time things that were said 20 days before a deadline really mattered? If anything, the fact that those reports are out there suggest someone is telling people that as a way of posturing in the negotiations, which only serves to reinforce my belief that they want to get a deal done.
Besides, remember when there was "no chance" that either Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas would get new deals because the numbers didn't work … until they did" Or just last year, when as recently as the day before the deadline, the Jets and franchise-tagged defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson reportedly weren't even talking and then all of a sudden a deal got done out of nowhere?
That's because common sense and human nature usually prevail in these situations. As it pertains to Cousins and the Redskins, I'm betting on it happening yet again.