The San Francisco 49ers will be entering 2017 free agency without a quarterback under contract and a candidate that has been included in many analyst’s discussions is Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. One would think that the quarterback’s history with 49ers new head coach Kyle Shanahan from their days in the nation’s capital would help move the matters forward but it may actually do the opposite.
The younger Shanahan was with Washington during his father’s tenure as head coach and things did not end on the best of terms. Mike Shanahan and subsequently his son left after continued conflict regarding owner Dan Snyder’s adulation of quarterback Robert Griffin III. While neither party has commented on the record about their relationship, Snyder’s treatment of Griffin was well known throughout the organization as was Shanahan’s disapproval of it.
Snyder’s behavior did not go unnoticed by players either. After Griffin left a game to injury in December 2012 and Cousins ended up leading Washington to a victory over the Browns, Snyder reportedly ignored Cousins in the locker room after the game, only speaking to Griffin. You’d think this would positively influence the possibility of Cousins heading to Santa Clara and reuniting with his former offensive coordinator, who appreciated him. If only those two parties were involved, it would likely happen. Snyder, however, may want to throw a wrench into the whole plan.
Here’s where it gets a little confusing. Although, similar to when the 49ers ‘mutually parted ways’ with Jim Harbaugh and wanted rid themselves of anything and anyone having to do with him, Snyder wants to do the same regarding anything with Shanahan’s fingerprint on it, including Cousins. Unfortunately, the rift is so deep between Snyder and the Shanahans that Snyder could force Washington to hold onto Cousins just to spite the younger coach, or trade him to another team.
Does Cousins want to stay in nation’s capital after how he’s been treated? Not really, but with Washington not likely to give him a long term contract because ultimately he is the last vestige of the Shanahan era with the team, he could be looking at a 24 million dollar payday after making nearly 20 million in 2016. Cousins would prefer to be with a staff that appreciates him but if the money is too good to pass up, he could stick it out in Washington for another year, even if he doesn't “like that.”