We've heard it before this offseason and we'll hear it again: He's like anyone else playing on a one-year deal; it's how he's always felt throughout his career anyway. Cousins does like it here, something he's stressed even more in recent interviews. And the talks with the Redskins have been positive. What we don't know is that they've led to further offers; the last known offer came before the scouting combine. As recently as two weeks ago there had been no negotiations.
But the message I've gotten from others is that, as Cousins told Redskins Nation TV, recent dialogue has indeed been positive. The Redskins continue to let Cousins know they want him long term; owner Dan Snyder has taken a more active role in expressing this sentiment and that's always a good sign. However, nothing is imminent.
The best way to show this, of course, is make him an offer that tempts him and kick-starts true contract talks. Until that happens, it's just public relations -- and the Redskins need to work to undo some of the bad feelings from earlier offers.
They have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal or wait until next offseason. We've rehashed the scenarios countless times.
For now, what matters is how Cousins handles the situation. He's doing and saying all the right things -- and comes across as someone invested in the season and not his contract. Yes, he knows what's going on with it, but Cousins wants to show his commitment to the here and now. He's taken the same approach this offseason that he has in the past, working with teammates away from the facility and participating in the voluntary workouts.
Others are doing the same, but the point is Cousins hasn't let his contract status impact his work. (Sidenote: He'll still get $24 million this year; do not shed a tear for him. He's not shedding one for himself).
"I feel good about where we're headed," Cousins told Redskins Nation, and team play-by-play man, Larry Michael about his contract. "I feel good about our owner, he's done a great job this offseason communicating with me, and the same for Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden and our scouting staff and our coaches. I feel good about the direction we're headed and we'll see where it ends up, but bottom line is I'm in a good place right now, and now we gotta just go win a lot of football games."
Cousins indeed likes playing in Washington, and with a baby on the way, he and his wife, Julie, have a good support network in place. Don't underestimate what that means (that alone won't keep him here; it could make any decision tougher if offers are comparable).
But ultimately, the number that matters for Cousins and the Redskins involves victories, not money. If Cousins lets his situation sidetrack his focus, it could lead to deeper problems for him and the team. Clearly any player would like long-term security. But to get what he ultimately wants, from here or another team, Cousins knows he must focus on one thing: His job. It's all that he can control.