Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins signed the one-year, $19.9 million franchise tag this year, putting himself in what he views as a no-lose situation in 2017: He’ll either get the franchise tag again with a minimum salary of $23.9 million, or he’ll get to test his worth in free agency.
“Here I am again,” Cousins told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. “The team says they want to see another year. That’s fine. I’ve been in this same spot twice with a lot on the line—my college decision and my career decision. I’m getting paid a good amount this year, and it’s not like I’m stressing and losing sleep over it each night, over what’s going to happen. I played last year making a lot less in the same situation. I had to prove it.”
If Cousins struggles this season or gets hurt and isn’t able to command a big contract in free agency in seven months, that would be a worst-case scenario. Still, making nearly $20 million this year would be a pretty big consolation prize. And Cousins isn’t expecting the worst-case scenario.
“Both sides understand it’s a business. I’m not going to take things personally, and I know that if I play football well, the ball’s in my court,” Cousins said. “And really, in this league, that’s all you can ask for. If you don’t play well, you have to live with it. Then you went out and you didn’t earn it. It takes patience. That’s fine. I’ve taken the long road a few other times in my career. The long road is fine.”
Cousins sounds confident that he’ll play well this year, and the contract will take care of itself next year.