Kirk Cousins proved himself as a bonafide starter in three seasons as Washington’s full-time quarterback, but his franchise’s proficiency in failure always meant he was graded on a curve. Cousins was able to put up big numbers between the 20-yard lines, but he was saddled with a 24-23-1 record as his club rose up to the standard of mediocrity set by owner Dan Snyder.
Getting to nine wins in Washington was an accomplishment. Now, after agreeing to a deal with the Minnesota Vikings for three fully guaranteed years and $84 million, a similar performance would be a disappointment.
Minneapolis has been a boomtown for quarterbacks in recent years, pushing Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum to the best seasons of their respective careers while bolstering them with one of the league’s top defenses. Keenum’s ascendance was particularly impressive; last year he boasted career highs in passing yards per game, passing efficiency, touchdown rate, and the league’s seventh-ranked passer rating five spots ahead of Cousins.
His five-year, $66.5 million pact reportedly fully guarantees $30 million, which would be a hefty increase on the record set last offseason, when Kevin Zeitler got a five-year, $60 million deal with $23 million guaranteed from the Browns.
It’s a reflection on how good Norwell’s 2017 campaign was, given that the Panthers tendered him at a second-round level last season as a restricted free agent and no team made a run at him.
It’s interesting and probably fair to think about this as another move by the Jaguars to shift toward a run-first attack, given that Norwell is an absolute mauler on the ground.
“There wasn’t like an underlying consistent theme that everybody talked about for the reason they didn’t win more,” he said. “I think it was just overall, it’s so hard to get there, and once you’re there it’s a small sample size, you’re playing the best teams, and they just fell short a few times.”
Though the players don’t offer any significant theories, one broad theme does present itself when reviewing the various’90s postseason exits: an inability to put teams away.