Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan on Wednesday said the team would like to lock in quarterback and free-agent-to-be Kirk Cousins to a multi-year deal.
Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan on Wednesday pretty much confirmed what was already known about Kirk Cousins: the front office is very satisfied with the quarterback's progress.
Whether or not that parlays into a multi-year contract over the next couple months for the unrestricted-free-agent-to-be, however, is still yet to be seen.
McCloughan, officially talking to reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., for the first time since the end of the 2015 season, said "from the standpoint of going forward, of course you'd like to have (Cousins) around."
But the second-year GM's philosophy is not to openly discuss contract details and negotiations publicly. Just know the team will do what it can to try to ensure Cousins returns to the burgundy and gold in 2016 and beyond.
"I want him to be part of the Redskins," McCloughan said.
Cousins was given reigns of the Redskins' offense the week before its Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at FedExField, when head coach Jay Gruden told reporters "It's Kirk's team."
As the starting quarterback – and without having to look over his shoulder after each mistake – Cousins flourished throughout the 2015 season. He worked through the kinks the first few weeks, and really took off when wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned from a hamstring injury Week 9.
The 2015 Pro Football Writers of America's NFL Co-Most Improved Player award recipient, Cousins would set team records in passing yards (4,166), attempts (543), completions (379) and 300-yard passing games (seven). Cousins moved the ball through the air efficiently, completing 69.8 percent of passes for the second-highest completion percentage in Redskins history (eighth-best in NFL history) and recording the third-highest passer rating in franchise history (101.6).
McCloughan credited Cousins and his teammates for stepping up in a big way.
Check out the top images of Kirk Cousins from the 2015 season.
"Well, first of all, I thought Kirk did a really nice job, you know?" McCloughan said. "But it wasn't all about him, too. It was about the ten guys around him on offense, but the defense playing well, special teams playing well, getting turnovers, getting in certain positions on the field where we could score."
Cousins just wrapped up the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, meaning if he doesn't work out a new deal with the Redskins – or if the team doesn't decide to use the franchise tag on the Michigan State product – then he could become a free agent on March 9.
After deciding to focus on the regular season, and not his expiring contract, throughout 2015 – a strategy that "served us well," according to the quarterback – Cousins said "it'll be interesting to see where we're at" as his representatives and the team meet over the next couple months to possibly try to work out a long-term deal.
"I'm hoping for an opportunity to be the guy here for a long time and hopefully build on this season," Cousins told Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen after the team's playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.
If the Redskins and Cousins are unable to agree to terms on a multi-year deal, then the team could elect to utilize its franchise tag on the quarterback, a process that can begin Feb. 16 with a 4 p.m. March 1 deadline.
McCloughan said the franchise tag is always "an option" for Cousins, but "you'd rather not" in this scenario.
"You'd rather get a long term deal done, but we have a lot of options we're dealing with right now and that's one of them," McCloughan said.