The Redskins front office botched the Cousins situation for years, but there was a sense that the quarterback wanted out of Washington. Redskins running back Chris Thompson exemplified the ambiguity of the situation when he hesitated 10 seconds deciding how to answer a question from Chris Cooley on ESPN 980 about whether he got a sense that Cousins wanted to remain in Washington.
"I think everybody got some mixed messages, I will say that," Thompson, one of the first Redskins players to comment publicly after the trade, said, via the Washington Post. "I know for me, talking to Kirk, being with Kirk, all we talked about was, you know, 'C.T., with you staying healthy, we can do this with you, we can do that with you,' and we were able to do a lot of the things that Kirk wanted to do with me. We wanted to continue this, so for me, I expected him to be here.
"I knew it would be hard given that we want to win, but if you pay a guy [$30 million] a year, it's going to sacrifice some other things as well, as far as helping our defense out, maybe getting some more receivers, or running backs and all those type of things. It's kind of hard to say. I think everybody got a different feel about it, but I know Kirk enjoyed being with me and I enjoyed being with him, so I wanted him to be here and I think part of him wanted to be here, but at the end of the day, you gotta do whatever you think is best for you and your family."
Cousins will be the most sought-after free agent on the open market in 2018, and perhaps in the history of free agency. The quarterback will likely become the highest paid player in NFL history with teams like the Broncos, Jets, Cardinals and Vikings vying for his services.
Thompson said that while he was surprised about the trade, he's excited about the Redskins importing a veteran like Smith to take over for the departing Cousins.
"It was a surprise to me, just I guess how quick everything happened," Thompson said. "I figured and kind of had a feeling that there was going to be something that happened, but for it to happen as fast as it did came as a surprise. I'm excited about Alex coming in and being here if everything stays the way that it's supposed to be through March.
"He's an athletic guy. I hear he's a really great guy, a good leader, too, so I'm just excited for the opportunity, and I know Kirk is going to go somewhere and get every single dollar he wants. I think he deserves it. He's put up some great numbers year in and year out, so that's what this league is all about, the numbers."