Kirk Cousins: 'My faith is ultimately driving this decision' to pass on $53 million

The Redskins wanted to pay Kirk Cousins $53 million in guarantees as part of a new long-term deal, but the quarterback instead opted for the franchise tag, which means he could be a free agent next spring.

As CBSSports.com's Will Brinson points out, that $53 million is barely above what Cousins will make on the franchise tag in 2017 and 2018 (should he get tagged again).

Cousins didn't feel it necessary to make this point while appearing on 106.7 the Fan, a CBS Sports Radio station, on Tuesday, instead opting for a more diplomatic approach.

"I understand where [general manager Bruce Allen] and the organization are coming from," Cousins said on the "Grant and Danny Show" on Tuesday. "I think 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 and it was a great starting point."

"I think it was a fair offer. I respect and appreciate Bruce's approach," he said. "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."

Put another way: Cousins didn't want to rush into signing a new contract, which means he will play on a one-year, $23.9 million deal.

"We felt like I need a little more time," he explained. "I felt like I want to allow the next six months to give me more information about our organization so that I can make a more informed decision. There have been a lot of changes in our organization since the end of last season, so 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 long-term deal didn't really scare me." 

Early in the offseason there was speculation that the 49ers and new coach Kyle Shanahan (who also served as Cousins' offensive coordinator in Washington) might make a run at the quarterback. Nothing materialized, but in light of this most recent development, ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested that the Redskins should trade Cousins now. Former agent Joel Corry, writing for CBSSports.com, thinks a trade is highly unlikely because "a team must have enough salary cap room to absorb Cousins' current salary," not to mention that "the prohibition on signing a long-term deal until the season ends also applies to the new team with a trade."

It's worth mentioning that Cousins says he wants to stay in Washington.

"I would love to be with the Redskins long-term," he said. "And 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. And then they still have the opportunity, if we're not anywhere at that point, to use one of two tags, and then from there there's still time."

Cousins went so far as to say that "I could play for the Redskins for the next 10 years on one-year deals," and noted that, ultimately, his faith will determine where he ends up. 

"First of all, what rarely ever gets reported is that ultimately this decision is not about anything more importantly than my faith," Cousins said. "My faith is ultimately driving this decision. Do I feel like the Lord is leading me to make this decision or that decision and where does he give me peace? ...

"He brought me to D.C. then. He had a plan for me," Cousins continued. "I didn't know if it was going to be for football or for something else, but he placed me in Washington, D.C. for a reason. I believe that with my whole heart, and as a result, I was content to be patient and allow time to reveal that and to continue to just wait on the Lord.

"And he has revealed that, and he's done far more in my five seasons here in Washington than I ever thought he would. And so here I sit and people are saying, 'It appears to be a dead end. After this year, what's going to happen to Kirk?' And I would say it's the same answer: I'm trusting the Lord."

Here's the bottom line: If Kirk -- or, if you prefer, "Kurt" -- Cousins has another solid season, he'll be looking at another enormous payday. All that's left to decide is who will pay him -- the Redskins or another quarterback-needy team -- and for how long.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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