That was one key reason why Cousins' side never countered the Redskins' contract offers this offseason. After failing to strike a long-term deal by Monday's deadline, Cousins will play this season under the franchise tag for $23.9 million.
"There have been a lot of changes in our organization since the end of last season," Cousins said during his paid appearance on 106.7 The Fan radio Tuesday. "I want to allow time to help make this decision.
"I believe wisdom is never impatient, and so I think it's smart to slow the process down, and to be patient and to allow things to play themselves out, to gather more information. I want to make the best decision I can. Being that in most NFL situations, this is the only year that's promised to us anyways, I don't feel a whole lot of extra security by having a long-term deal. So the one-year deal didn't really scare me."
Cousins -- the NFL's first quarterback to play under the tag for consecutive seasons -- also said he wasn't bothered by Redskins president Bruce Allen's statement Monday. Cousins also laughed off how Allen pronounces his first name, making it sound like he's saying "Kurt" instead of "Kirk."
"I've been called Kurt my entire life," Cousins said. "I remember having different teachers and instructors who would call me Kurt. It doesn't matter. ... It's not a big deal."
In Allen's statement, he said the Redskins offered Cousins a five-year extension with $53 million in guaranteed money in May. However, that included the guaranteed money Cousins will make this season and one additional year of guaranteed money. He could make more money in the future by playing out the tag, then either getting tagged again or hitting free agency.
Ultimately, though, Cousins wants to use this season to gauge the direction of the franchise. The Redskins fired general manager Scot McCloughan in March and revamped their front office in June, with Doug Williams elevated to the top personnel role. They lost playcaller Sean McVay, who became the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. And they allowed 1,000-yard receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to depart in free agency.
They did, however, give coach Jay Gruden a two-year extension in March.
Cousins said a long-term deal was closer than people realized. He declined to say if there was a number Washington could have offered to complete a deal.
"There probably wasn't a number, because it's not about money," he said. "It's about being in the right place and situation that's best for us long-term. Money is not what runs my life."
Allen flew to Michigan for last-minute talks with Cousins, but ultimately nothing could be worked out. After the deadline, Allen delivered a statement that mentioned the Redskins' offer. Allen also pointed out how "despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk's agent this year."
"I've been called Kurt my entire life. I remember having different teachers and instructors who would call me Kurt. It doesn't matter. ... It's not a big deal." QB Kirk Cousins, on pronunciation of name by Redskins president Bruce Allen
The Redskins wanted their position to be heard. Cousins said he wasn't bothered by the statement.
"I understand where he and the organization are coming from," Cousins said. "In his position, you have to do that. You have to be clear with where the offer was and the fact that they did their part.
"It was a great starting point. ... I think it was a fair offer. I respect and appreciate Bruce's approach. He communicated with me that they were going to need to let the story be known, as to where they were coming from, and I said I totally understand that.
"I knew something like that was going to be coming out. ... It doesn't offend me. It doesn't bother me."
One source said they knew a deal would be difficult to reach this offseason. Last year, the Redskins weren't ready to commit to Cousins at a certain price. He was inconsistent until the final 10 games of the 2015 season, leading the Redskins to the NFC East title. In the final 10 games, he threw 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions. His performance led to the Redskins using the franchise tag at $19.95 million.
This offseason, it was Cousins' side that needed more time. But the guaranteed money, courtesy of the tag, always set the parameters for any talks.
"The franchise tag rule has made this negotiation challenging from the jump," Cousins said. "It defined the entire negotiation going back to even 2015, and that's not the Redskins' fault. It's just the rules of the league, rules that were set up before I even came into the league. My agent and I, we did not ask to be tagged, but we were tagged. And once we were tagged, it framed our entire process and how we went about this."
Though sources have pointed to positive directions in the situation, including how Gruden and Cousins work together, there is a faction that believes he'll ultimately go with San Francisco. The 49ers' coach, Kyle Shanahan, was Cousins' offensive coordinator for two seasons.
"One narrative has been that if I don't sign a deal this July, that I'm not gonna be with the Redskins beyond this season," Cousins said. "I just don't believe that to be true."
He said he owes his career to Gruden because he gave him the full-time job at the start of 2015. Cousins also said owner Dan Snyder has been positive with him throughout the offseason.
Cousins said he knows he now must play well to justify a large salary from any team. But, he said, if the Redskins put together a successful season, "Why would I want to look elsewhere?"
"I would love to be with the Redskins long term," he said. "That's why I think that there's still a lot of hope that next offseason, when the season ends, the Redskins are going to have I think about two months to be the exclusive team that I can talk with."
The Redskins also could use the franchise tag for a third year at a cost of approximately $34 million. Or they could apply the transition tag for $28.7 million, but risk losing him for no compensation if they fail to match another team's offer.
"Everything's trending in the right direction. Everything's moving in a positive way," Cousins said. "If they're going to impose some deadline on me on July 17, I just don't feel peace about making that decision. If the deadline had been October or November, maybe we get a deal done. But I didn't choose when the deadline is.
"I have to operate within other rules that have been placed on me, and with that being the case, I'm going to choose to have six more months of time to decide things."