Scott Allen, Washington Post
Three days after the Redskins’ surprising trade for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith signaled the unofficial end of Kirk Cousins’s tenure with the team, Cousins addressed his future with reporters on Friday in Minneapolis. In the first of several scheduled interviews on Radio Row ahead of Super Bowl LII, Cousins said finding his next team “should be an interesting process.”
“It was a surprise,” Cousins told USA Today Sports’ Mike Jones of Tuesday’s trade. “I was actually working out at my hotel room here in Minneapolis and when I finished the workout went over to my phone and saw the news. Every player looks forward to free agency. It looks like I’m going to be a free agent on March 14. I guess there are still some dates to check off, but it should be an exciting process.”
During a subsequent interview on NFL Network’s “Super Bowl Live” program, Cousins said the Redskins reached out and “just kind of explained what had happened” on Wednesday.
“I don’t take it personal,” Cousins said when asked what he thought about the team not contacting him until the next day. “It’s a business. I just don’t get my hopes up. I don’t expect too much from people in the league because you just never know what could happen.”
Before Tuesday’s news, Cousins said he felt “there was a good chance” he would be back in Washington.
“I was keeping an open mind,” Cousins told Jones. “… I think Washington can win. I think they’re in a good place. Whether it was going to be Alex Smith or somebody else, I think they’re in a position to be successful.”
“In this league and my story, I’ve learned that curveballs come all the time,” Cousins told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I expect to be a free agent come March 14. We’ll see if that plays out, and if it does, it’s a unique opportunity that I look forward to. I haven’t had a chance to pick where I wanted to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State.”
The Redskins will send a third-round pick in this year’s NFL draft and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs for Smith. The 33-year-old former No. 1 draft pick is viewed as a cheaper, but older, version of Cousins, who was drafted by the Redskins in 2012, named the starter in 2015 and played the last two seasons on the one-year franchise tag. The Redskins had until March 6 to decide whether to use the franchise tag on Cousins for an unprecedented third consecutive year, which would have resulted in a one-year deal worth close to $34.5 million.
“The team’s gotta do what’s best for them,” Cousins told TMZ Sports on Thursday at the EA Sports Madden Bowl. “I had a phenomenal six seasons in Washington and really can’t say enough good things about my experience there. It’s tough to move on from teammates, from everyone involved in the organization, from coaches and teammates, to the chaplain, to even friends in the community, our neighbors.”
During his interviews on Radio Row on Monday, Cousins repeated much of what he said at his end-of-season event with 106.7 The Fan last month about winning being more important than money and the ball being in the Redskins’ court.
“There’s no need to change the script,” Cousins told NBC Sports Radio’s Mike Florio and Chris Simms on Monday. “Stay consistent with the plan. … We’ll see what the Redskins want to do and then I’ll react accordingly.”
The Redskins revealed what they wanted to do the next day by trading for Smith. Cousins, who is expected to become a free agent, will have no shortage of suitors. Broncos linebacker Von Miller is among the players who has talked about what Cousins would mean to his team this week.
“It’s flattering to hear a player of Von’s caliber speak highly of me,” Cousins told TMZ. “It’s always nice to be wanted. I would enjoy gathering the information and talking with him and learning more about Denver along with the other teams that are out there.”