Kirk Cousins could easily leverage a trade, if he wants to

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It has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that quarterback Kirk Cousins will play in 2017 for Washington or San Francisco. Earlier in the day, Mike Silver of NFL Network suggested that, as of right now, it’s more likely than not that Cousins will play for the 49ers.

So how would that happen? Unless Washington rescinds the franchise tender (more on that to come), a trade would be the only way. With Washington likely expecting a major return for Cousins — and with Cousins likely expecting a significant haul on a long-term deal — it could be too hard for San Francisco to put it all together.

That said, there’s a way for Cousins to force Washington to be reasonable as to its expectations. If Cousins, who has yet to sign his $23.94 million franchise tender, were to declare that he won’t be signing it until the week preceding the regular-season opener, Washington would have to decide whether to take whatever San Francisco is offering to get the deal done now or to launch a multi-month game of chicken, with the team embarking on the offseason program and then training camp and then the preseason without Cousins and Cousins risking that the $23.94 million tender will be yanked at any time.

But if the 49ers keep a roster spot, cash, and cap space on hold for Cousins, they could sign him promptly after the franchise tender is removed. They’d risk not having him for the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason, but if the tender is yanked that late they would get him for no compensation to Washington. (Also, Sam Bradford did pretty well in Minnesota last year, despite showing up on Labor Day weekend.)

If Washington doesn’t rescind the tender and doesn’t trade Cousins, he would earn $23.94 million for 16 games. After boycotting the entire offseason regime, however, Cousins surely would not be tagged again (franchise or transition) in 2018. At that point, the 49ers could sign him.

It’s unknown whether Cousins will implement this strategy. However, he still hasn’t signed the tender. Until it does, it’s possible that he uses the failure to sign it as a way to make a trade happen under terms with which the 49ers could live.

74 responses to “Kirk Cousins could easily leverage a trade, if he wants to

  1. Given how the Redskins have treated Cousins, if I’m him I’m seriously considering just such a strategy to get the heck out of Washington. Yeah, San Francisco may be a mess for a year, but if York keeps his mitts off stuff and let’s the new GM and head coach control things the 49ers and Cousins might be an excellent match.

    If I live to be 100, I’ll never understand what went on between Cousins and Washington’s management with this contract stuff. Most teams I know of that don’t have a decent quarterback have to be scratching their heads over this weirdness too. Cousins isn’t Tom Brady, but he sure in heck isn’t RGIII either.

  2. This whole situation reeks of “keeping your girlfriend around simply because you’re too scared to dump her and be alone” in addition to “you waiting to see if that hot girl you once saw at a party will call you back”.

    Problem is, that hot girl isn’t gonna call you back because 1) you hang out with Dan Synder, 2) you’re a purported racist 3) she’s hot and you’re not and 4) sure, you’re current girl isn’t hot, but it’s not like you can do better.

  3. The Redskins created this problem themselves by franchising him last year, because despite the fact he’s a very good quarterback, he’s not worth what the skins are into him for.

  4. I don’t understand how this is happening. Shouldn’t they have worked out a deal or a trade last year under the first franchise tag? I thought that was the point of the tag. Snyder seems like one of those kids who would start a Choose Your Own Adventure book and be dead three pages later.

  5. This speculated course of action is completely inconsistent with Cousins’ agent’s comments at the combine last week about wanting to maintain a positive relationship and good working environment with the Redskins. And as for nfloracle’s comments about the Redskins “mistreating” Cousins– they drafted hiim when everyone else in the league passed on him for 3 or 4 rounds, despite the fact that they had just paid a king’s ransom to draft another QB, developed him, then had the guts to bench that QB they’d paid a ransom for and declare that the starting job was Cousins’. And they assembled offensive pieces around him to let him succeed, which has made him a very rich man, and is about to make him a very, very rich man. I should be so “mistreated”!

  6. If Cousins shafts the Redskins by not showing up until the end of preseason that will cost him a lot of money in the long run. If he does that to one team he’ll do it to another.

    Ultimately, Cousins has to wait. And be mad because he’s only going to make $20 million or so for the second straight year.

  7. weepingjebus says:
    Mar 7, 2017 4:44 PM
    I don’t understand how this is happening. Shouldn’t they have worked out a deal or a trade last year under the first franchise tag?
    ———-

    There has been some decent journalism about that issue. You have to get off the short blogs to really get into it. To their credit, PFT has linked to some pieces. Basically, the Redskins mishandled the whole situation. And Kirk Cousins could make more money over 3 years than any QB in history.

  8. Or gen could take the risk of his top receivers leaving, and him getting abused by an average offensive line. If cousins leaves via trade skins need to seriously consider trading Jordan Reed also. With no offensive talent and him locked up long term he’s the only one worth any value, flip him for more picks and rebuild.

  9. Cousins seems like Cinderella, but he’s going to turn into a pumpkin the instant he signs with another team, especially the talent-shy 49ers.

    His stats are fine, but his game tape says otherwise.

    He’s a guy that can’t get it done, even on a team that has plenty of offensive options. He wants a team-killer level contract, similar to the one that’s kept the Bears in purgatory with Jay Cutler.

  10. It’s time to get petty… We will franchise you at $35 million next year too just so you can’t have your way…. Sign the LTD. Sign it!

  11. Snyder seems like one of those kids who would start a Choose Your Own Adventure book and be dead three pages later.

    ****

    jesus.

  12. They didn’t sign him because he wanted top dollar. Kirk Cousins is NOT a top dollar QB. Just look at the last game vs the Giants. Cousins blew it again.

  13. weepingjebus says: Mar 7, 2017 4:44 PM

    I don’t understand how this is happening. Shouldn’t they have worked out a deal or a trade last year under the first franchise tag? I thought that was the point of the tag. Snyder seems like one of those kids who would start a Choose Your Own Adventure book and be dead three pages later.

    —————

    The best comment of the day.

  14. So basically he can tell all his teammates that because the team is ONLY offering more than $24MM he is willing to sabotage THEIR entire season so he can make even more.

    THAT is the kind of move that could only come from the mind of a selfish and self-centered mediot, because that is what THEY would do.

    If Cousins ever chose to that that, there wouldn’t be a locker room in the NFL that would ever trust him again. Why would they.

  15. I honestly don’t blame Washington for handling this like it did. Cousins had a top 5 o-line, two #1 WRs for most teams, a top 3 TE, a top 3 slot receiver and he played well enough.

    They didn’t want to give him a ridiculous contract because for some reason everyone forgot he was an INT machine (he still has an affinity to throw them in important points during the game).

    Cousins is probably above average–but he’s played with great talent around him these past 2 years. I don’t blame the redskins for not overpaying him. If the talent is there–you can win with average QB play.

    I think 2 first rounders and playing it out with an average QB might help this team win over tying up $25 million/year in 1 guy who’s only played well when he’s been loaded with talent.

  16. I think 2 first rounders and playing it out with an average QB might help this team win over tying up $25 million/year in 1 guy who’s only played well when he’s been loaded with talent.

    Why in the world would the niners give up two firsts, when they can get him for free next year?

  17. Players that hold out till late in the offseason almost always seem to be injured in the first half dozen games of the year and put on IR.

    Seems like that happens in about 80-90% of the late hold outs. It rarely works out for the player or the team he’s on.

  18. “Snyder seems like one of those kids who would start a Choose Your Own Adventure book and be dead three pages later.”

    Savage.

    Early contender for comment if the year.

  19. “– they drafted hiim when everyone else in the league passed on him for 3 or 4 rounds, despite the fact that they had just paid a king’s ransom to draft another QB, ”

    And the guy who stood on the table for him to be drafted is now coaching the 49ers.

  20. @hawkwind8

    Maybe the 9ers don’t bite for 2 first rounders–but what if speculation starts that another team is willing to give up maybe a 1st and 3rd rounder? Maybe a Cleveland, Chicago or any team starving for a QB.

    Terrible teams give up a lot for maybes: look at Washington’s investment in RG3. Cousins has actually proven he can start–maybe not be worth it–but teams are so desperate they’ll go for it.

    Trust me, the 49ers won’t want to risk it. What if midway thru the season Cousins is struggling–throwing INTs at a record rate–and then bites on a contract extension?

    Anything can happen from now until next year’s FA.

  21. Kirk could screw the Skins but it is not in his DNA. The Skins will be offered two first round picks for Kirk by multiple teams before the draft. Don’t be surprised if the Bears (Kirks’ favorite team as a kid), Jets, Browns, and even the Rams may make a play to get him. Kirk wants a big contract, and a couple of things several other teams can offer him. I think the Niners will not get him if they wait too long to offer 2 #1 picks for him. They shouldn’t let other teams make their pitch. Get him now if you really want him.

  22. Could easily leverage a trade? That’s a dramatic overstatement. He has leverage to try and get traded or signed long term, and for the record he could justify holding out on injury concerns.

    If he really wanted to leverage a trade he would hold out until week 10. Of course he loses out on more than $10 million that way.

    The problem here is that Washington has toxic ownership and management. Even a good talent evaluator like McLoughlan is going to struggle in such dysfunction.

  23. I don’t understand the hand-wringing when its time to pay a QB. A top 20 QB is with over 5 years experience will be expensive. It is the cost of doing business. Heck there was a PFT article that mentioned Glennon may get 15 million a year. If I was a Skins fan I would just be glad my QB situation was better than SF, CLE, CHI, Rams, NYJ, JAC, or BUF. Washington fans at least know they have a chance at the playoffs.

  24. I’m SO SICK of these athletes wining about the number of millions they will make.

    And I’m tired of the writers writing about it all the time.

    And, for the first time in my life, I’m becoming more and more tired of the NFL and its eleven minutes of action during a game.

  25. The gambit described in this ‘article’ is unlikely to take place. As described, Cousins could make things hard for the Skins.

    If he decides to skip training camp and the first game of the season it is likely to negatively impact his performance. This is a contract year for Cousins. He needs great stats. He does not have a body of work yet that would allow him to have a poor year. Also it would set a terrible precedent that he’s going to be a pain in his new team’s ass in a couple years.

  26. Cousins will be playing for Washington or possibly an already-playoff-caliber team. Why in the world would he essentially say “ok” to a trade to SF, a team that has arguably the least talented roster? Consider:

    1. Washington is on the upswing. They are no longer doing the so-called “rebuilding” thing. They are filling holes as needed to compete for championships.

    2. Cousins has already spent several years as part of a rebuild. Why go through it again when you have the talent around you now to compete in the playoffs?

    3. SF will not pull the trigger on a trade without having a long term contract agreement in place. With 24M guaranteed for 2017 and the leverage to get that or more guaranteed each of the next few seasons regardless where he plays, why would Cousins even consider living through another rebuild?…especially when you factor in the injury risks on a very sub-talented team.

    4. Cousins wants the money and knows he will get it. (He deserves it too quite frankly.) The only thing left for him is to play for a championship caliber team. He’s holding all the cards to do/get both.

  27. bondlake says:
    Mar 7, 2017 5:35 PM
    I’m SO SICK of these athletes wining about the number of millions they will make.

    And I’m tired of the writers writing about it all the time.

    And, for the first time in my life, I’m becoming more and more tired of the NFL and its eleven minutes of action during a game.
    ========================================
    Go watch soccer and post on PST!

  28. Im a fan and ive seen every snap. If he were more consistent a trade would be cookin, but if SF trades for and pays Cousins, that might blow up in their face. The stats are inflated becauss there is no run game, which hurt an already overwhelmed defense. He is not good enough to pay THAT much and not good enough to trade THAT much.

  29. oswizard says:
    Mar 7, 2017 5:26 PM
    Kirk could screw the Skins but it is not in his DNA. The Skins will be offered two first round picks for Kirk by multiple teams before the draft.
    _______________________

    2 firsts for a player that is going to carry a massive salary cap commitment and has 3 career wins against teams that finished with winning records in spite of being surrounded with excellent offensive weapons is not realistic.

  30. I don’t believe a word Mike Silver says. The Redskins paid Cousins 20 mill last year. So, 24 mill isn’t that big of an increase. Last year was. Next year, is the time for the 49ers to step in.

  31. Why would Cousins boycott anything? He’s making a bundle. He should play under the franchise tag as long as he can. The NFL is a business and he found a mother lode.

  32. Rex G.

    What you have said is true, however Kirk has already stated that SF is the only place he wants to play. If you think about it, why wouldn’t Kirk take the 25M this year, which is more than he would get from SF this year, and then just be free and clear to sign a long term deal with his old buddy out there next year…

  33. @hawk,

    His tag doesn’t come with a no trade clause. Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo and the Jets all need a QB. They can easily convince themselves that they’ll be able to re-sign Cousins to a long-term deal and build around him.

    Why wouldn’t they risk maybe a 1st and 2nd rounder on him? If he is what they value him to be, he’s gonna be worth the extension and I don’t think Cousins is gonna turn down a multi-year extension.

    Many teams need a QB and they’ll bite even if Cousins doesn’t see them as his first choice. Teams are desperate. Once the draft arrives–you’ll see how willing teams are to truly negotiate.

    I think you truly don’t understand the dearth of quality QBs right now. A team will bite on him. At the very least for a 1st and 2nd rounder imo. But if a team is willing to pony that up, the 49ers won’t want to risk it and will go all in.

  34. Wink nod negotiation is fine. But, if Cleveland swoops in and wants to offer 2 2nd rounders and Washington can free up $25 million in cap space and get 2 high round picks–they’ll do it. But before they accept, they’ll give Shanny a call in San Fran and see if he’s willing to pony up then or he’d rather wait and have Cousins take snaps behind that Cleveland o-line for 16 games (if he makes it that long)

  35. @ nfloracle says:

    Given how the Redskins have treated Cousins, if I’m him I’m seriously considering just such a strategy to get the heck out of Washington. Yeah, San Francisco may be a mess for a year, but if York keeps his mitts off stuff and let’s the new GM and head coach control things the 49ers and Cousins might be an excellent match.

    If I live to be 100, I’ll never understand what went on between Cousins and Washington’s management with this contract stuff. Most teams I know of that don’t have a decent quarterback have to be scratching their heads over this weirdness too. Cousins isn’t Tom Brady, but he sure in heck isn’t RGIII either.
    ——————————————————————————————–

    People state the Redskins treated Cousins badly explain exactly how. They developed Cousins into the player he is today especially so after he was a int machine. Secondly they promoted Cousins over Griffin during the 2015 season and Cousins just happened to play well, after which his rookie contract expired…so were the Redskins supposed to pay him top $$ after 1 good season, we know all to well about 1 yr wonders with the most recent example Brock Osweiler (sp)

    The Redskins chose wisely to FT Cousins last season to see if he could replicate the his performance which is why they are at this point, not because the Redskins tried to d1ck Cousins over….he just happens to be in a position with is contract expiring and a QB needy off season, most of what’s out there is pure 100% speculation because neither Cousins, his agent or the Redskins are talking to the media outside of the generic gamesmanship talk.

    So if treating a player badly by giving him the highest tender (last yr) enabling Cousins to be one of the highest paid QB’s last season @$25mil …I’d hate to see what they would do if they hated him…lol

  36. In reading other posts that point out the “desperation” that poor teams will do to make themselves relevant by throwing away 1st round picks for, at times, an unproven QB. There’s no greater example of that than the sorry bunch in minisoda. As much as MF wants us to believe that “it went pretty well” for mn, did it really?

  37. Two bunk teams playing an offseason game that neither front office is intellectually capable of playing.

    In the red corner, please welcome an owner who’s failed miserably at free agency and has hired a drunken incompetent as his GM. yayyyyy

    In the blue corner, please welcome spoon fed owner Jed York and a guy he liked because he was on the “D” team calling his meaningless 1 p.m. games. yaayyy.

    This should end GREAT for both teams. :/

  38. Before he tries to force a trade Kirk should be careful what he asks for – grass may not necessarily be greener on the West side when you have to face the likes of Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Richard Sherman, Cam Chancellor and the Rams No Fly Zone featuring MVP candidate Aaron Donald 6 times a year

  39. This all really comes down to how bad Shanahan wants him. If he thinks he really can be the man then you work out a deal with him before any trade. If I’m Washington I wait until draft day and if the Browns pass on Watson I pull the trigger and take him at #2 in a trade. He has that kind of talent. I was screaming for teams to take Russell Wilson who after transferring, immediately became the Big Ten Offensive Player Of The Year which mean he is smart. Watson got beat by Alabama one year, and comes backs and slaps my Buckeyes around and then leads his team to the National Title. If he’s not top tier, I don’t know who is. Whomever drafts this kid will not be able to keep him off the field.

  40. This has nothing to do with money. The ‘Skins didn’t offer him $20M last year. They were forced to. They didn’t offer him $23M or whatever he is set to make this year either. For some reason, they just couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to him, so why should he commit to them? They could have got him 2 years ago for half the cost today but they franchise tagged all their leverage away. He’s been really good the last 2 years but Snyder and Co. are so dumb as always.

  41. thought a troll on here already blogged about cousins only willing to sign an extension with SF.

    so it seems he has already been trying to leverage a trade for a few weeks now.

  42. First of all HTTR! all you succubus’ get a life! Our O- line coach is the second coming of Bugel. Cuz had top 5 blocking and receiving options last 2 years. This dude don’t wanna be here! Brady takes less to win, if Cuz wasn’t full of it he would too. Can’t even go into it or this post will get deleted also!

  43. I despise Dan Snyder but I don’t see how the red Skins mistreated Cousins that would cause animosity.

    Last year Cousins had a very good year, but it was his first year, why would a team pay a lot for just one year of performance as an indicator of future performance?
    Look how RG3 and Nick Foles did after their good years. Look at Brock Osweiller.

    What I fault the redskins for was not signing him near the end of the 2016 season, when he was having another good year.

    If he really hates being there, then he should leave. But I don’t see what’s getting him so mad that he would demand a trade.

  44. I’ve heard several points of views about Kirk Cousins as a player and yet I haven’t heard one analyst point out that his career has been more successful than Drew Brees’ career was with San Diego and then when Brees joined the Saints with the right atmosphere and the right coach he became the Hall of Famer we all know him as now. I see this type of potential in Kirk Cousins if he joins the 49ers with Shanahan and with all the cap space that the 49ers have they could easily persuade top named free agents if they had a franchise QB in place already.

    This is my Dream scenario and its not out of the realm of possibility.

    49ers Get: Cousins and the 17th overall pick

    Redskins Get: 2nd overall Pick and 4th round pick with a 2018 conditional 2nd round pick if we make the playoffs this year with Cousins as a 16 game starter.

    49ers Draft: O.J. Howard, John Ross Rd. 1
    Christian McCafrey Rd. 2

  45. IN SCOTT WE TRUST…..as long as he’s off the sauce….during working hours……out of trouble!!! IN SCOTT WE TRUST!!!

  46. The 49ers are in rebuild mode. They need a qb, but it makes no sense why they’d give up any draft picks for next year ( when they could have him possibly for no picks). Plus, why the big need for this year when they still need to build other talent?

  47. HEY’ You niner fans! Good luck with that check down champion! PLEASE write letters to the 49ers organization urging them to trade WHATEVER THE REDSKINS ARE ASKING FOR COUSINS. HTTR!!!

  48. You could give Washington endless draft picks and they still won’t win..
    Anyone remember the Ricky Williams trade…
    Saints entire draft plus a rd 1 and rd 3 the following yr and washington won…… ZIPPO

  49. It is unlikely that the Niners will trade for him. They can wait until he becomes a free agent in 2018 instead. The Niners are not going to the SB in 2017.

  50. I hope my niners just sit tight here. They don’t need Cousins that much. There are plenty of options at QB including the draft. Cousins is good but not elite. SF is also rebuilding in a major way. For the Vikings who seemed to be rising it made sense to go after Bradford. 49ers are just starting the long road back. Plenty of time to sort out who the QB is going to be. I know what you are thinking: ‘damn, that guy is super smart, HE should be the GM not that pretty boy Lynch’. Sorry not going to happen, I don’t even have time to watch the games, just enough to follow it on the internet.

  51. There is absolutely no chance the 49ers would trade one let alone 2 1st rd picks for Cousins. Wash has no leverage, the 49ers can siimply walk away & wait for 2018 to either sign Cousins then or draft from a much better crop of QBs. A swap of their 1st rd picks is about the best Wash could hope for. Moving down from 17 to 2 in the draft is the equivalent of SF giving Wash the #6 overall pick on trade value charts & Wash would be lucky to get that. 49ers hold all the leverage & can easily walk away at anytime. Wash doesn’t have that luxury. If they don’t trade Cousins now or sign him to an extension Wash will have a dark cloud hanging over the entire season. It’d be a year long PR nightmare for Wash.

    And far as a team like Chicago or Cleveland getting involved to pressure 49ers, that won’t work either. Every report has Cousins wanting to go to SF. 49ers know this. Shanahan knows this. Other teams know this. No point in other teams trying to trade for a QB that doesn’t want to go there. Shanahan wants Cousins. Cousins want to be in SF. One way or another it’s happening.

  52. Cousins is taking a lot of hits for an if/then scenario where there’s zero evidence it will happen. This SF thing was a rumor started by Ian Rappaport, whose accuracy level is in the toilet. Now it’s being promoted by someone who won’t even say the name of the team.

    None of it means anything.

    Also, to the idea of taking McCaffery in Round 2, he won’t be there. His stock is rising by the hour.

  53. Players fail to realize that it is a gamble either way. If he signs the Franchise tag, his money is guaranteed, as in he gets all of it…no matter what happens.
    If he plays well this year he gets an even bigger contract when he hits free agency next year, by the same token if he gets injured this year it will cost him next year BUT he will still have the $24mil that they guaranteed him.
    If he holds out, it will hurt his play this year which may also cost him money next year.
    You take the money on the table and cross the next bridge when you get there.

  54. Rex, So much for the niners giving up 2 when they can get him for nothing. The Skins organization really must have mistreated cous to get this kind of abuse from him.

  55. Washington could not have screwed this situation up any more than it has. so between last year and this coming seasons franchise tag he makes about $45 MILLION DOLLARS.

    how or why didnt they work out something like 5 yrs/$100 mil with $45 mil guaranteed?!! seems pretty damn reasonable.. and they couldve spread that money out and had him under contract for THREE MORE SEASONS!!

    so they basically paid him a very good players guaranteed money in 2 years only to lose him. wow.

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