Jay Gruden 'totally anticipates' Kirk Cousins returning to Washington

There will be no drama about the quarterback situation in Washington this offseason. At least that's true if coach Jay Gruden is to be believed.

"I totally anticipate him coming back to" Washington, Gruden said of incumbent starter Kirk Cousins, per CSN Mid-Atlantic.

Cousins played the 2016 season on the franchise tag after breaking out as the team's starter in 2015. Washington felt it had not quite seen enough from him during that 2015 season to offer a long-term deal of the kind Cousins was seeking, instead opting to give him the tag.

That gave Cousins a fully guaranteed salary of just over $19.5 million, but only put Washington on the hook for his services for one season. If Cousins had reverted this year to his form from the 2012 through 2014 season, they could have simply cut ties this offseason and searched for a new quarterback.

However, it appears that the team liked what it saw during 2016 despite falling out of the playoffs a year after making it. Cousins saw his completion percentage and touchdown rates take a dip from 2015 to 2016, but his yards per attempt actually rose and his improved interception rate did not regress to the mean. He largely showed himself to be an above-average -- if not exactly consistent -- passer.

Surrounded by one of the top groups of weapons in the league and working behind a good offensive line, Cousins is set up for success for as long as he's in Washington. The key for Washington will be getting him to agree to a contract that enables them to get excess value out of his production, rather than one that pays him at the top of the quarterback market and would be extremely difficult for him to live up to.

If the two sides can't come to an agreement on a long-term deal, Washington could franchise Cousins again at 120 percent of his previous salary.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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