Quarterback Kirk Cousins picked a good time to have a good season.
With his contract expiring at the end of the year, Cousins started every game for the Redskins, closed the regular season with a strong second half and helped lead them to an NFC East title that boosted his value heading into free agency. The Redskins made it clear that they wanted to keep Cousins from hitting the open market, either with a long-term deal or by tagging him.
It looks like it is going to be the latter option. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team has decided that they will use a tag on Cousins, although they haven’t decided whether it will be the franchise or transition tag. The difference between the two tags is around $2 million in salary, but the differences in how things would play out from there would seem to make the more expensive franchise tag a better option.
While the transition tag, expected to be around $17.5 million, would cost less money if Cousins winds up playing out the year under its terms, it also opens the door for another team to make a run at signing him that could leave the Redskins either unable to match or matching a deal that isn’t on good terms for them. A team could try to sign Cousins under the non-exclusive franchise tag as well, although it would cost them two first-round picks if the Redskins didn’t match the offer.
Either tag would be a major raise for Cousins, who played for $660,000 last season, and Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that receiving the franchise tag wouldn’t come as a disappointment to Cousins. While that isn’t always the case, Cousins would be paid very well while getting another year to show he’s worth a long-term deal that would come with a higher floor thanks to the increase in salary that comes with using the franchise tag on the same player two years in a row.