NFL AM: Contract Talks Break Down Between Cousins And Redskins


Kirk Cousins and Redskins contract talk breaks down:

Kirk Cousins has gone from the other quarterback- who was drafted in the fourth round to back up the guy the team dumped multiple draft picks into- to the guy the team feels it can’t let get away.

Despite the Washington Redskins desire to lock Cousins up to a long term deal, Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that the contract talks have broken down between the quarterback and the team, and that no further talks were scheduled.

While Redskins fans are probably frustrated by years of watching their team screw things up, this might be the best thing that could happen to them. While Cousins had a very good year, it seemed a little strange that Washington was ready to jump in with both feet and sign the quarterback to a long term deal considering they’ve seen quarterbacks have a good year before.

After investing far too much on Robert Griffin III, the Redskins watched the rookie quarterback take the league by storm.

You know how that worked out.

Cousins had a very good year this season, throwing for over 4,000 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His confidence, leadership and ownership of the team really seemed to grow as the season progressed, but the question has to be asked. Was it enough to warrant calling him a franchise quarterback and signing him to a lucrative, long term deal?

Instead of anointing the quarterback who’s coming off his first full season as the unquestioned starter a franchise quarterback, the Redskins might be much better off just giving him the franchise tag.

While Cousins’ numbers were very strong in 2015, Washington would be smart to let him prove he can do it again before inking him to the kind of deal that starting quarterbacks signing long term contracts get. While he threw just 11 interceptions this season, he threw nine in just six games (5 starts) in 2014, and seven more in just five games (3 starts) in 2013.

While it certainly looked as if Cousins had progressed past the turnover issues that plagued him as the fill in guy, the Redskins would be wise to let him prove he can do it again before signing the guy to a big money deal.

There is no middle ground here, and that’s likely why we’ve gotten to the point where contract talks have broken off. There is no middle of the road contract for a starting quarterback getting a long term deal, because typically a quarterback getting a long term deal is a franchise quarterback, and franchise quarterbacks don’t get middle of the road deals.

If Washington doesn’t want to commit to giving Cousins the kind of deal that shows they don’t view him as a middle of the pack quarterback, the franchise tag seems like a very obvious solution, and possibly one that could save the Skins from making another hasty mistake.

Jerod Mayo calls it a career:

Former New England Patriots first-round pick Jerod Mayo joined a growing group of guys who decided to hang up his cleats before the age of 30. The linebacker who turns 30 on February 23rd ends a career that typically went one of two ways. In his eight seasons with the Patriots, Mayo was either great, or hurt.

It’s the hurt part that likely led to Mayo’s decision, as the 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year has struggled to stay on the field the last few seasons, playing in just six games in 2013 and 2014. While Mayo saw the field in all 16 games this season, he started just eight, finishing with just 35 tackles.

Because the Patriots don’t do sentimental, Mayo had probably played his last season with New England this year, but before the team made a move, the veteran linebacker took to Instagram to announce that he and his wife came to the decision that his football playing days were behind him.

“After a lot of thought Chantel and I take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for what we consider a life changing event … that of becoming a New England Patriot for the past 8 years,” Mayo wrote. “We are extremely grateful to “Thundercat,” Jonathan, the Kraft family, Coach Belichick, the Pats organization, and the most amazing fans in contributing to these pages of our lives. As my family and I prepare for the future, be sure that the Pats memories will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

The veteran linebacker became a leader on the defensive side of the ball despite watching players around him become the playmakers as his body failed him. While Mayo hasn’t had more than 37 tackles since 2012, his teammates viewed him as an integral part of the Patriots’ defense and locker room.

Lions release Joique Bell:

“It’s been a pleasure Detroit,” Joique Bell tweeted after learning of his release from the Detroit Lions. “Home is where the heart is and my heart will always be here.”

Bell played four years at Detroit’s Wayne State University, before playing four seasons with the Lions, but after he was slowed by offseason surgery, and after the emergence of rookie back Ameer Abdullah, the Lions decided there was no more room in their backfield for Bell.

After averaging five yards-per-carry in 2012, Bell averaged just 3.9 yards-per-attempt in 2013 and 2014, and less than 3.5 yards-per-carry in 2015.

Bell is very versatile for a big back, as he’s a strong pass catcher as well, but he’s going to have to show someone that the wheels haven’t fallen off for him to find a spot to land in 2016. Here’s a few places that could make sense.

The Dallas Cowboys: Why the hell not? If you can’t run behind the Cowboys offensive line, it’s time to get out of football. Dallas could use a back like Bell in the rotation, and with the holes that line opens up, it would give Bell an opportunity to run with momentum. The soon-to-be 30-year-old back is a complementary back only, but there’s probably nowhere he could be more complementary than Dallas.

The New England Patriots: Because they’re a fit for any veteran, especially a back who can catch the ball out of the backfield. Likely nothing to see here though, as the Patriots seem destined to end up with Matt Forte.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Between DeAngelo Williams’ age, and the fact that the Steelers will probably want to work Le’Veon Bell back slowly after injuries cost him most of 2015, Pittsburgh could use a veteran guy for the rotation.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It seems extremely unlikely, but if the Buccaneers were to lose free agent running back Doug Martin, they would likely go to a much more committee driven backfield, and Bell could find carries among a group that includes Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey.

About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.