Editor’s Note: This interview took place before news broke Tuesday night that the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (CBSNewYork) — Finding a team built to win would be a high priority for Kirk Cousins if he hits the open market this offseason, the Redskins quarterback said Tuesday.
That may or may not bode well for Jets fans who are keeping their fingers crossed that Cousins will be wearing green by the end of the spring. The Jets are coming off back-to-back 5-11 seasons, which doesn’t scream contender, but they are expected to have nearly $100 million to spend, so they could potentially win over Cousins through their actions.
Talking to WFAN’s “The Afternoon Drive” on Radio Row on Tuesday, the Redskins quarterback — at least for now — tried his best to sidestep questions about the Jets, but he did say he would keep an open mind if Washington declines to slap the $34 million franchise tag on him.
“Let’s get past March 6 and see what the Redskins choose to do, and then at that point the ball swings back into my court,” Cousins said. “And instead of being passive, I can finally be active in the process and go be able to answer those questions.”
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Cousins made it clear that he’s more concerned about winning than earning top dollar.
“Winning is everything, especially at this stage of my career — I’m going into Year 7,” he said. “Because I’ve been franchise-tagged twice, I’ve been in a position where it’s not about the money so much; it’s about winning. I want to win. This isn’t the NBA. You can’t just get one player and now you’re in the AFC championship game or the NFC championship game. … Other pieces comes into play.”
The Pro Bowl QB also said offensive system, coaching staff, general manager, receivers and offensive line would factor into his decision.
Perhaps one thing the Jets have going for them is Jeremy Bates, whom the Jets are expected to promote from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Bates comes from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. Shanahan drafted and developed Cousins.
In other words, Bates could potentially check off Cousins’ boxes for offensive system and coaches.
Cousins said he met Bates coming out of college and liked him.
“I just think he’s a good football mind,” he said. “He’s about football, and that’s what matters to him. Everybody I’ve talked to who knows him loves him. So I think it was a smart hire with the Jets.”
Cousins said he wouldn’t be upset if the Redskins franchise-tagged him again. He also didn’t rule out re-signing with them even after hitting free agency.
“I may go out and do my research and realize that the best answer was right there all along in front of my face, and it was Washington,” he said. “But I haven’t had the opportunity to go gather that research, so until then I’m going to keep an open mind and see what’s out there.”