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Will 49ers be in play for Kirk Cousins?

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With the 49ers planning to hire Kyle Shanahan to coach the team and currently having a quarterback depth chart that consists of Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder, the next question becomes whether the 49ers will make a play for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

In 2012, Washington made Kirk Cousins a fourth-round draft pick. Then-coach Mike Shanahan has repeatedly raved about Cousins, and Kyle Shanahan ran the offense in Washington for the first two years of Cousins’ career.

Cousins, who was subject to the franchise tag in 2016, would be entitled to $23.94 million in 2017 if Washington tags him again. Washington could, in theory, apply the exclusive version of the tag (which would potentially drive that number much higher) in order to block the 49ers or anyone else from trying to pilfer Cousins.

However, the non-exclusive tag would give Washington a pair of first-round picks as compensation for Cousins, and San Francisco holds the second overall selection in round one. Washington arguably would be thrilled to flip Cousins for the No. 2 pick in 2017 plus wherever the 49ers land in the first round next year.

Washington also could tag Cousins and trade him for less than two first-round picks.

The situation quickly becomes a high-stakes game of chess, checkers, and chicken for Washington, the 49ers, and Cousins. To preserve the ability to trade Cousins, Washington will have to be prepared to commit $23.94 million in cash and cap space to him. If Cousins promptly signs the tender (like he did in 2016) and they can’t trade Cousins, Washington will be stuck, with Cousins getting $23.94 million for one year, being entitled to $34.47 million under the tag in 2018, and wanting a long-term deal based on those figures.

The situation makes it imperative for the 49ers and Washington to quickly flesh out a non-binding plan for making a deal happen when the new league year opens in March, if the 49ers want Cousins, if Cousins wants the 49ers, and if the 49ers are willing to give both Washington and Cousins what they want in order to get it done. The fact that Washington G.M. Scot McCloughan previously served in that same role with the 49ers could expedite things, if Shanahan’s plan for fixing the 49ers offense consists of bringing to the Bay Area that quarterback with whom Shanahan worked in 2012 and 2013.

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76 Responses to “Will 49ers be in play for Kirk Cousins?”
  1. metalman5150 says: Jan 17, 2017 6:59 PM

    No sir, I don’t like it.

    Every skins fan.

  2. casualmalexlfan says: Jan 17, 2017 7:02 PM

    If the Redskins move on, Cousins will be in play for ALL teams looking for a QB in free agency.

  3. dickshotdogs says: Jan 17, 2017 7:04 PM

    Let’s not lose our minds here. We’re talking about Cousins. He’s adequate.

  4. jssebastian2014 says: Jan 17, 2017 7:05 PM

    This tire fire couldn’t happen to two nicer owners.

    I feel bad for the fan bases. But not the owners.

  5. tyelee says: Jan 17, 2017 7:05 PM

    That seems like a stretch!

  6. lionsfan54 says: Jan 17, 2017 7:09 PM

    You SURE they’d be “thrilled” to flip Cousins for the #2 overall pick? Who will be their QB?

  7. jjfootball says: Jan 17, 2017 7:13 PM


  8. ocgunslinger says: Jan 17, 2017 7:14 PM

    Cousins believed in himself and took the gamble. He won the gamble and deserves to be rewarded. If the Redskins don’t step up it won’t matter to Cousins.

  9. maestro1899 says: Jan 17, 2017 7:15 PM

    Why does the writer think Washington would jump at the chance to let another team like SF sign Cousins for the two 1st round picks?

    If you believe Kirk is a franchise qb, you don’t trade him for two firsts, even if one is the second overall. Who would they draft to replace him? Kizer? Mitch Trubinsky? Watson? Chad Kelly??

    C’mon PFT!

  10. bryonneufeld says: Jan 17, 2017 7:18 PM

    Washington would be wise to retain their QB and keep building. They are league average defense away from being a top 10 team.

  11. truninerfan49 says: Jan 17, 2017 7:21 PM

    I can guarantee you that a rebuilding 49ers team would not give up 2 first round picks for Cousins

  12. softhelmet says: Jan 17, 2017 7:24 PM

    And who if this happens will replace the above average Mr. Cousins. If things go right the Skins have a team that can make the playoffs now, I don’t think rebuilding with another QB is in their plans. They should have signed Cousins earlier.

    He gambled on himself and won…Good for Him!

  13. packmangamble says: Jan 17, 2017 7:24 PM

    Why would the 49er’s be in play for Kirk Cousins?? Even the 49er’s aren’t that stupid!!

  14. breadmeatcheese says: Jan 17, 2017 7:31 PM

    washingtonians love their cousins; and are willing to pay a lot of money for it.

  15. beavertonsteve says: Jan 17, 2017 7:34 PM

    Things will get really interesting if the 49ers and Cousins agree to sign AFTER the draft. The 49ers could sign use a contract with a massive first year salary and tie the Redskin’s hands. They would get the 49ers 2018 & 2019 picks, which should be much worse.

  16. key2heat says: Jan 17, 2017 7:34 PM

    Cousins needs the softest schedule to be successful.

  17. skawh says: Jan 17, 2017 7:39 PM

    No way would I want Cousin’s! No way SAN JOSE!
    Find a real QB to lead that team. Cousin’s would be a waste of money and a disappointment. Look how Cousin’s failed to put Washington into the playoffs when he had the opportunity. Big failure is what that is, imho.

  18. DrSteveBrule says: Jan 17, 2017 7:44 PM

    Trade for McCarron. Then tag Cousins and flip him to a desperate QB needing team. Give the team some leverage by having a QB ready to play already on the roster. Draft another QB with one of the picks to develop. Can’t keep signing one year leases with Cousins and he has no incentive to sign a long-term deal, barring injury.

  19. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Jan 17, 2017 7:48 PM

    Or they could just wait one more year, let the Redskins tag him again, and sign him when he is unrestricted next year. You can only tag a player for two years.

    I don’t even think the 49ers are stupid enough to trade two number one draft picks for any single player.

  20. blowfishes says: Jan 17, 2017 7:51 PM

    No way will the 49ers send two 1st round picks to the ‘Team From Washington’ for Cousins.

    Do you honestly think that a QB will solve all their problems?

    They need their draft picks and any incoming QB will want those picks to provide better depth around them.

  21. haileysbadoldad says: Jan 17, 2017 8:02 PM

    As a skins fan I love Kirk and feel he deserves the long term deal. If the Skins can get that 2nd pick and maybe a 2nd round pick for him this year I’d do it in a heartbeat! The could upgrade the defense in one draft and one free agency period. The could use that 17th pick on a QB they feel has the potential, could use that #2 pick on one of the elite safeties or middle linebackers coming out.

  22. sdchicken says: Jan 17, 2017 8:02 PM

    Why would Washington do that? They are a hanging out as a fringe wild card team, but would then reset the franchise back 3-4 years with no QB in a bad QB draft? Doesn’t make any sense.

  23. Emmanuel Goldstein says: Jan 17, 2017 8:04 PM

    Stupid 49ers.

  24. theebadguy says: Jan 17, 2017 8:08 PM

    “Or they could just wait one more year, let the Redskins tag him again, and sign him when he is unrestricted next year. You can only tag a player for two years.

    I don’t even think the 49ers are stupid enough to trade two number one draft picks for any single player.”

    Did you read the article?

  25. Matt from San Diego says: Jan 17, 2017 8:20 PM

    This is even more absurd than all of that “I guarantee AP to Dallas” Nonsense a couple years ago. Not gonna happen Charles.

    He will sign with Washington, keep working on the Defense, there are only like 5 elite QBs in the NFL and 4 of them play this upcoming weekend, some guys have to settle for 6s.

  26. normaneinstein7 says: Jan 17, 2017 8:23 PM

    As a lifelong Skins fan, I would not be thrilled flipping Cousins for the 49ers 1st round picks. Us Skin fans have suffered for decades with inept QB play. We’ve seen John Beck marched out as a potential savior, which led the team so desperate to make amends for that disaster, they went all in for RG3, which turned out to be a bigger disaster.

    Cousins is the best QB we’ve had in decades. He’s broken many franchise records. He’s still under 30. I don’t want to go through QB hell for any 10-20 years.

  27. tonebones says: Jan 17, 2017 8:23 PM

    NO! That would be like admitting that you’re going to hire a lousy General Manager. A good G.M. would be able to land a much better QB than Cousins with the 2nd overall pick. A great G.M. could find a Cousins type QB in the 4th or 5th round. A good G.M. would be embarrassed to admit he doesn’t have what it takes to find his own QB. Hopefully they’ll be looking for the next Joe Montana, not the next Kirk Cousins.

  28. dispozblcopy says: Jan 17, 2017 8:24 PM

    Um, two first rounders for Cousins sounds nuts to me. On top of double digit percent of the cap?

  29. abninf says: Jan 17, 2017 8:25 PM

    But the 49ers have that Black Panther communist dude.

  30. jvw1982 says: Jan 17, 2017 8:27 PM

    If I’m Kirk I’m demanding a long term deal, no more 1 yr deals, he proved himself the last two yrs, if they like it sign him, if not let him hit FA or trade him…..sometimes being the nice guy gets you treated poorly….time for him and his agent to play hard ball…

  31. normaneinstein7 says: Jan 17, 2017 8:29 PM

    haileysbadoldad says:
    Jan 17, 2017 8:02 PM

    As a skins fan I love Kirk and feel he deserves the long term deal. If the Skins can get that 2nd pick and maybe a 2nd round pick for him this year I’d do it in a heartbeat! The could upgrade the defense in one draft and one free agency period. The could use that 17th pick on a QB they feel has the potential, could use that #2 pick on one of the elite safeties or middle linebackers coming out.


    Why would you want to do that when we already have a QB capable of high level play. In the past the Skins at times had a top 10 Defense, but still went 6-10 because we had trash at QB. There is no QB in this class that is going to play at Cousins level. Even if there is, why in the heck would you want to gamble on that?

  32. tripledipper says: Jan 17, 2017 8:31 PM

    Frying pan meet fire.

  33. juanweiner says: Jan 17, 2017 8:32 PM

    “lionsfan54 says:
    Jan 17, 2017 7:09 PM
    You SURE they’d be “thrilled” to flip Cousins for the #2 overall pick? Who will be their QB?”

    Tony Romo.

  34. jackspain81 says: Jan 17, 2017 8:46 PM

    Wait? Who ever said the 49ers wanted Kirk Cousins?!? I seriously doubt any GM is giving up gold (2nd Overall Pick) for Kirk! The last few years he’s been very good but C’mon Man!!!

  35. backuppunter says: Jan 17, 2017 9:01 PM

    I know i should just look this up but can’t the Redskins just resign him? Does he want to leave?

  36. whispersd says: Jan 17, 2017 9:04 PM

    The 49ers should be thrilled to get a top 10 QB for only a 1st round pick, even at #2 overall. I have no idea why the Redskins would let Cousins go. He’s not perfect, but he’s given them the best two years of QB play since the 1980s.

    And Romo? He’s got, what, 2-3 years left in his career? You don’t let a young QB go to replace him with an old one who’s had serious injury issues the past two seasons.

    But I would not be surprised to see the 49ers make an offer on Cousins if he’s available, to force the Redskins to match it. The Shanahans have always been bullish on Cousins and they would love to drive up the price that Dan Snyder would have to pay to keep him. I’m sure Kyle has less-than-fond memories about how Snyder undermined his father as HC of the ‘Skins.

  37. kevinlawrencecantor says: Jan 17, 2017 9:22 PM

    Kirk Cousins is not a 20 million dollar QB. If that’s what he wants, let him walk. Only a few teams like the Jets and Browns would give him that.

  38. slippery59 says: Jan 17, 2017 9:27 PM

    Sure is hilarious that a “what if” article can get the dander up of so many people, especially when they don’t completely read and understand the article. That being said, like him or not, Kirk Cousins is about to become a very rich man.

  39. brownsclown says: Jan 17, 2017 9:28 PM

    Why not trade for RGMinus3?

  40. Straight Cash Homie says: Jan 17, 2017 9:32 PM

    Kirk Cousins a $23Mil/year QB? Lol, ok. If that’s the case then Drew Brees is highly underpaid.

  41. skinsgal4life says: Jan 17, 2017 9:35 PM

    I think they should sign him to a long-term deal.
    He’s really not worth $20 mil a year, but who else is available? Romo? I doubt it!

  42. zigwood says: Jan 17, 2017 9:46 PM

    You SURE they’d be “thrilled” to flip Cousins for the #2 overall pick? Who will be their QB?”

    Tony Romo.


    Not even Jerry Jones is crazy enough to ship Romo to division rival. Cmon man

  43. defscottyb says: Jan 17, 2017 9:56 PM

    Why would the Skins want to let him go??? Start all over again at QB… don’t do it!

  44. esorick says: Jan 17, 2017 9:57 PM

    As stupid as the 9er organization is, I could see them giving the
    #2 overall pick for cousins.

  45. stevejjones says: Jan 17, 2017 10:20 PM

    Nobody trades QBs unless they have a new one. Teams will wait for free agents. (See Sam Bradford)

  46. skinsdiehard says: Jan 17, 2017 10:33 PM

    I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to believe that Cousins is a very good QB. He threw a few INT’s in spot starts and then last 2 years as a starter he’s been prolific. For some reason folks can’t accept that he has improved. A lot of top 5 QB picks don’t pan out. Teams know that. It’s hard to ignore Cousins when he has finished the past 2 seasons in the top 5 in QBR passer rating.

  47. skinsdiehard says: Jan 17, 2017 10:43 PM

    People sometimes say that Kirk’s success is due to his surrounding weapons. Really? Eli has OBJ and has not been as prolific as Cousins in the last 2 years. Just go look at his stats, most importantly, yards per attempt for those who think he dinks and dunk. He was 8th YPA, 10th on pass yds in 2015 but only 12th in attempts (if you think he throws more). In 2016, he was 3rd in YPA, 3rd in yards and 6th in attempts and 5th in QBR. He’s prolific.

  48. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 17, 2017 10:44 PM

    He isn’t better or younger than the three guys they have on hand.

  49. skinsdiehard says: Jan 17, 2017 10:45 PM

    Redskins fans know that Cousins Isn’t the problem. It’s the defense holding the team back.

  50. shaniskins says: Jan 17, 2017 10:51 PM



  51. shaniskins says: Jan 17, 2017 11:00 PM

    Hes not worth 14 million better yet 24 million! let his choking @$$ be someone elses overpaid avg qb see Houston!!!!

  52. gogreenbiotch says: Jan 17, 2017 11:15 PM

    I really only watched the Eagles this year, so I dunno. But our defense is ok and cousins killed us. He’s not Brady but he’s not a chump either. If the 49ers are taking a qb anyway I would gladly work out a deal where they just trade this year’s first considering how high a pick it is.. Washington is losing half theiron offense anyway and the defense is ton of pieces away. Not that they should, but they could decide to go full revukld.

  53. easternshoresfinest says: Jan 17, 2017 11:28 PM


  54. nationalfishingleague says: Jan 18, 2017 12:19 AM

    Cousins is an above average QB, but despite being paid like it, he’s not a guy that you want completely build around him… Cousins needs a running game and a balanced attack.

    From what I’ve seen, when Cousin throws an INT, he gets upset and over aggressive and keeps throwing more INTs until the coaches force the run some to get his mind off of it.

    49ers need to try to draft and develop instead of super overpaying for a QB that is already overpaid and suggested he’s not earning enough.

    Let Kaepernick and Gabbert be your RG3 type as you draft and develop a better Cousins (or better) QB of your own.

  55. riprozelle says: Jan 18, 2017 12:20 AM

    “The situation quickly becomes a high-stakes game of chess, checkers, and chicken for Washington, the 49ers, and Cousins”

    Both teams struggle at checkers—chess is out of the question.

  56. campcouch says: Jan 18, 2017 12:57 AM

    Cousins worth two first rounders…Hahahaha. I’d take my chances drafting a QB at 2, stinking for a year and drafting high again instead of just stinking with an overpaid quarterback.

  57. goldtooth80 says: Jan 18, 2017 4:21 AM

    I know this sounds crazy , but I would not be surprised if the giants make a play for cousins

  58. troylok says: Jan 18, 2017 5:44 AM

    This isn’t news; this is speculation. No one has said there is any possibility of a trade. It’s just some sports analyst throwing dookie at the wall and hoping it will stick. Washington isn’t trading Cousins. You’d be better off speculating on whether the 49ers would keep Kap and use him in a read option offense similar to what Kyle used with RG3.

  59. kinggw says: Jan 18, 2017 6:01 AM

    Its comical that many of you believe Cousins is one of the better qbs in the league because of inflated stats against bad teams.

    His stats are more a reflection of who he’s surrounded by (Jackson, Reed, Crowder and Garcon) than his actual ability.

    Colt McCoy, Tyrod Taylor or any other average qb will put up comparable numbers in Gruden’s system in which the qb puts up almost 40 attempts per game.

    People want to label Cousins a great qb, but the reality is that he doesn’t beat good teams, win big games and crumbles under pressure. He had a big game against the listless Bears and chokes against the Giants. He’s the definition of fools gold.

    Many Skins fans have mistakenly convinced themselves that their recent “success” is because of Cousins, instead of luck and a favorable schedule. Hopefully the 49ers and Shanahan will save them from themselves and McCloughan can spend that money on a real difference maker like Eric Berry

  60. RegisHawk says: Jan 18, 2017 6:35 AM

    Sounds like Cousins can make out a la Fitzpatrick last year…to the detriment of whatever team is stupid enough to overpay him.

  61. msadpoet says: Jan 18, 2017 6:54 AM

    YOU like that!!!

  62. oregonraider says: Jan 18, 2017 7:21 AM

    Trade him for the two first round picks and then trade one of them for RGlll, that’s the ticket!
    Signed Illogical voices.

  63. mantorras says: Jan 18, 2017 9:00 AM

    2 first round picks for a quarterback who shrinks every time the bright lights come on? ok.

  64. collectordude says: Jan 18, 2017 9:05 AM

    Hope not, Cousins is not a championship QB.

  65. rcjur says: Jan 18, 2017 9:10 AM

    Real simple, 49ers or not, Skins should tag and trade Cousins to whomever needs a qb. Team isn’t going anywhere with Cousins. Then trade with Cincy for AJ McCarron. Don’t have to start over, save money and get a true competitor at qb. Build your defense thru free agency and draft and won’t miss a beat.

  66. bigbluefan1 says: Jan 18, 2017 9:22 AM

    Fun to hear how the Skins are so close
    You had one game to win beat a team that was playing for nothing and your in the playoffs

    What happened you choked

    You are not close to anything anytime soon

  67. RussianBreadMaker says: Jan 18, 2017 9:26 AM

    He will get franchise tagged again before that would ever happen.

  68. escapedconvict says: Jan 18, 2017 9:43 AM

    Take the deal if it’s offered. Colt McKoy can do 95% of what Cousins can do. Cuz cant get in the end zone. Lost the eye of the tiger.

  69. tcostant says: Jan 18, 2017 9:48 AM

    Would the exclusive version of the tag be much higher than almost $24M? Remember that his tag number is only that much, because it has to be 20% than last year’s tag. In the past the exclusive take was within a few million dollars of the non-exclusive version. So the real question is, what is the expected non-exclusive number expected to be. Lucks deal with increase it past $20M but no where near $24M.

  70. bjwbrown2011 says: Jan 18, 2017 9:56 AM

    Can you win a Super Bowl with Kirk Cousins? Probably.
    Can you win a Super Bowl with Kirk Cousins getting paid like a top 5 QB? Probably not.

    Cousins is in the Flacco realm where the QB is good enough to win but not if he’s the centrepiece of the team. And if he’s getting more money, the Redskins will need to hit gold in the draft otherwise there won’t be enough left around Cousins to contend.

    Just look at the Ravens, during Flaccos rookie deal (5 seasons) they went:
    5 playoff appearances
    2 Divisional titles
    1 Bye
    3 AFC championship Appearences
    1 Super Bowl Win.

    In the four seasons since then the Ravens have done the following:
    1 playoff appearance (making it to the divisional round)
    0 divisional titles.

    Simply put the Redskins need to evaluate what is the most they can pay Cousins while not putting the rest of the team in purgatory unless they think that Cousins has another level that he hasn’t reached yet.

  71. vtsquirm says: Jan 18, 2017 9:57 AM

    its really a question of the % of the salary cap not the $$ figure… I don’t care if Cousins is making 11, 12, 13% of the Cap. As long as its a reasonable figure for a starting QB, just pay him and be done with it.

  72. jjackwagon says: Jan 18, 2017 10:03 AM

    Love him or hate him, he is top five or top ten in most statistical categories. He will get paid.

    Cousins is NOT the problem in Washington. If they let him walk they deserve what they get.

  73. keys2heat says: Jan 18, 2017 10:33 AM

    Hail to the REDSKINS. Uh oh, run to your safe spaces, I said “REDSKINS”!

  74. rcjur says: Jan 18, 2017 11:08 AM

    Cousins sold his fate, when he yelled in the GM face and said “how you like me know”, then drop a big interception at home to end the season. He won’t see 24mil in DC or long term deal. Sorry.

  75. ecniner says: Jan 19, 2017 5:05 PM

    Kap and draft picks for Cousins…. not such a stretch

  76. gregoryw1965 says: Jan 21, 2017 7:11 AM

    Cousin had a chance to lead his team to the playoffs , he didn’t int!!that is what a franchise qb will do, leads his team.
    Trade him!!!

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