If you look back at the NFL offseason calendar, the first big date is Tuesday, February 20th, when teams can start applying the franchise tag. We’ve already been over the reasons why it wouldn’t make sense for the Redskins to slap the franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins for a third time. What is the latest update on the pending free agent?
On Monday, Rich Cimini of ESPN reported that the Jets “are willing to pay whatever it takes ... and hope to convince him he’ll have a chance to win in New York.” If you look at the latest odds that Bovada just released for Cousins’ services, Cleveland is oddly absent from the list of teams:
Kirk Cousins' odds, per @BovadaLV— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 19, 2018
But don’t let that stop Browns LT Joe Thomas, who has been regularly posting on Twitter over the past few weeks on why Cleveland could still be a top landing spot for him.
I hear Cleveland is nice this time of year, that is, if you’d like to have a statue someday... https://t.co/Geo5CzvI5J— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 15, 2018
His appeal to Cousins continued on President’s Day, as he followed up on a conversation between former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz and ESPN reporter Britt McHenry.
If the Browns offer 35 a year, like @joethomas73 would offer, and the Vikings off 25 a year, Cousins would be foolish to take the Vikings offer. Plus, contenders change each season.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) February 19, 2018
McHenry later pointed out that Cousins is a unique case because he’s already amassed so much money.
How many millions does one person need? Cousins has said on record that he’s already received so much from the franchise tags, money isn’t #1. Rather take less with a better organization & chance to win.— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) February 19, 2018
But then Thomas jumped in to defend his mentality, trying to put himself in Cousins’ shoes:
“The real, and most important, question is how much less is he willing to take? It’s not a matter of principle, it’s a matter of economics. What value does he place on his ‘fit’ (whatever that means) plus his financial incentive (salary). Whoever maximizes that, will be the winner. I’m sure he’s unwilling to play somewhere for $0, and he’s probably unwilling to play for minimum salary. Therefore, (salary + unquantifiable value from team (roster around him, coaches, city, team culture, ability to leave a legacy, etc) = Cousins lottery winner).
He’s the only one who can answer the unknown value of the team to HIM. Most players in free agency place a small value on the ‘X’ factor, but most players don’t have the bank account of Cousins. If I was a betting man, I’d say his preferred team will have to be within $5 million/year, or he will go with the highest bidder. For example, the salary will have to be close in order for him to take less money and go somewhere else. I agree with Schwartz that money is #1, but there will be other factors (they’ll contribute about 5%) to the equation. Browns $35 million > Vikings $25 million.
It’s easy to pontificate and say, ‘I’m willing to take less money to go to the team I love (college recruiting/no money involved, allegedly), when the money difference is $1.’ But let’s say the money difference is $25 million or $50 million or even $75 million. Let’s see what happens then. These decisions are made on a sliding scale. Remember, everyone has a price, it’s just a matter of how much.”
Thomas has certainly put a lot of thought into this, but the question is whether or not John Dorsey and company have?