Kirk Cousins is leaving the nation’s capital and heading to Minnesota on a 3-year $84 million dollar fully guaranteed contract to the Minnesota Vikings. The Redskins had Cousins’ replacement a month before free agency began when they agreed to a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for QB Alex Smith. Alas, Jay Gruden and Cousins are no longer together, and it was a separation which needed to happen.
Cousins started three full seasons during his 6 years with the Washington Redskins. Jay Gruden has been the head coach of Cousins and the Washington Redskins for four seasons and he was one of three starters Gruden’s first season. The 2015 season started, and Kirk Cousins was named the full-time starter.
Throughout their time together there never seemed to be a dull moment. The Redskins made it very clear and very public they weren’t willing to commit long-term to Cousins and the President of the team called Kirk Cousins “Kurt” on a video posted on the Redskins official team site.
Despite a toxic culture, Kirk Cousins continued to improve with not just his numbers but more importantly with the progress in the areas most needed to be successful at the QB position. Super Bowl aspirations are alive and bigger than ever in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins will lead an offense set to have promising rookie running back Dalvin Cook back from injury.
On the perimeter, he has rising superstars in WR’s Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs, and on the end of the line they have an all-around reliable tight end in Kyle Rudolph. The defense is also expected to bring back majority of the starters. The NFC Championship game, in whch they lost 38-7 to the Eagles, is not indicative of who this defense is or how they’ve played all year.
As for the Redskins, they have a lot more answers then questions yet again. They still have a franchise QB in Alex Smith at the helm so they’ll at least be competitive. Smith is good enough to not only be a starter for a long time but also be a starter for playoff teams. His 2018 campaign will sure to be his toughest challenge in a while as he no longer has a talented roster around him with a stout defense.
The 49ers and Chiefs both had a solid ground game and good to great defenses, Washington has neither. The one positive for Smith is he will reunite with former 49ers teammate in TE Vernon Davis.
Davis is a bit older but seemed to revitalize his career in Washington playing with Kirk Cousins and I don’t expect he will have any problems getting on the same page again with his old QB.
I think Gruden may be better off without Cousins. I also think Cousins is better off without Gruden and the Redskins. I think Cousins will thrive under offensive coordinator John DeFilippo (former QB coach of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles). Head Coach Mike Zimmer is also a defensive-minded head coach so he will help with some of the ill-advised throws Cousins makes from time to time.
Lastly, and the biggest factor, Cousins has never played with this good of a defense, not even close. He will have a defense that has his back and will give him multiple chances. As for Gruden, he may find Smith runs his offense more efficiently than Kirk, but will he be a better coach? Time will tell.