On a recent podcast with MMQB's Peter King, quarterback Kirk Cousins discussed his future with the Redskins and commended the team's incredible fanbase.
Over the last few months, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has flatly repeated the same refrain when considering his long-term future, which is that he wants to be where he's wanted. This is a reasonable request, although some fans have been worried about its ambiguous implications and what it means for the team's relationship with Cousins moving forward.
Some of that might have been dispelled in a recent interview Cousins gave to MMQB's Peter King, in which the team's record-breaking quarterback of the last two years joined his podcast to discuss his contract status and feelings about his future. King asked him point blank if Cousins would like to stay with the Redskins, inducing a response that wasn't exactly like all of his others in recent months.
"I want to be where I am wanted and that's what I've said all along," Cousins said. "When a team is willing to step up and commit to me fully for the long haul, then why would I want to be anywhere else? This is an incredible fan base; it's one of the top five fan bases in the history of the NFL. It goes all the way back to the early 1930s, three Super Bowl trophies, multiple hall of famers and high character players still living in the area like Darrell Green and Art Monk, guys who we can learn from.
"I love this organization and want to see us get back to those glory days that they had with Coach [Joe] Gibbs in the 80s and early 90s. I want to add to that great history. There is really no reason to look elsewhere. It's a matter of wanting to be where you are wanted. I think that's what all of us want, not just in football but in any walk of life."
This is true. It's also the case that Cousins has played the majority of his football career not being able to see too far down the road of his career, living life in the NFL week by week, game by game. It's something he's been used to doing since high school and college, proving himself at every step and never feeling entitled.
King asked how Cousins felt about that, how tough it must be to play with that mentality now that he's working under his second franchise tag in as many seasons. The Michigan State product remained true to the way he's always felt.
"The nature of the league is such that it is going to have to be okay," Cousins said. "Many players are told that you're going to need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That's the way this league operates. The margin for era is so small. The difference between the joys of winning and agony of defeat is one play here and one inch there. That's what makes it great but it doesn't mean it's going to be easy for the players involved. Believe me there are far greater challenges in this league than the situation I am in. There are guys getting cut not knowing where they are going to have to move their families and not knowing where their next job is going to be. That's a much tougher situation where I am.
Take a look at the top photos of Kirk Cousins from the 2016 season.
"I feel very fortunate and look forward to the opportunity that I have in Washington. But a guy like Brock Osweiler signs a four-year deal last year and everyone is saying that is what I should be looking for, well he is not even with that team one year later. So was his contract really more than a one year deal? I guess technically since he is on that contract in Cleveland, but it certainly didn't play out the way anyone would hope in that situation. For me, the franchise tag really ends up being the same thing because it's a one-year deal. Most of these contracts in the NFL are one-year deals anyways."
Before moving on to other topics, King pressed Cousins once more about the challenges of not having a long-term contract and where Cousins' headspace is as he enters his second one-year deal after completing some of the best seasons at quarterback the Redskins have ever had.
Cousins remained measured about his feelings, citing his history once again as a player passed up by Universities during his high school recruiting process and never feeling as though he has ever been "the guy" for any one team.
"This goes back to the fact that if you know my story, this has sort of been the narrative for me," he said. "No one ever said, 'Kirk you are going to be the guy and we completely believe in you, we're just going to give you the job and you better prove us right.' It was, 'Kirk we're going to give other guys scholarships and you need to beat them out and prove to us that you're the guy year after year before we finally commit to you.' It has been a part of my story, so does it bother me, I learned to accept it as a part of my life and the way things have gone for a long time. This isn't Chapter 1 for me. This is Chapter 10 or 11, where I said 'Here we go again.'
"Whatever happens, happens, and I think for me, I play better when I feel like I'm still ascending the mountain."