The Kirk Cousins contract dilemma has puzzled many an analyst and team executive alike. Apparently, that bewilderment extends to at least one former teammate as well.
"I don't know, man," Pierre Garcon said Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio when asked if he was surprised Cousins has yet to receive a long-term contract extension. "I wish I had the answer. But like you said, Kirk, he's got to be consistent. He's moving the ball up and down the field, he's making plays for us, he's been doing it for a long time. He is the guy that's helped us make those playoff runs. He's done a lot of things great for us, but I don't know why he's not the long-term answer there."
Garcon, now with the 49ers, wouldn't entertain the theory that Cousins will eventually make his way to San Francisco to reunite with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
"That's so far-fetched, I'm not even worried about that right now," he said. "We got this season to go. We got our first game against the Carolina Panthers, and that's who we're focused on right now to tell you the truth."
The back-to-back franchise tags placed on Cousins ultimately complicated matters beyond a simple resolution. With Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hitting the $25 million-per-year threshold and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford poised to cross it soon, the ball has returned to Washington's court with exactly one week left to reach a long-term deal. The options continue to be unappetizing for a Redskins team that did not see enough in Cousins to lock him up below market a few years prior.
While few could blame the Redskins back then, Cousins has blossomed into one of the league's more potent young starters. In two seasons as a full-time signal caller, he's completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and compiled a touchdown-to-interception ratio of more than 2:1 (54-23).
Should he manage to avoid a franchise or transition tag, he undoubtedly will be the highest-paid player in free agency next winter.