For a team in a town known for politicians who speak in absolutes that are often absolutely untrue, take this for whatever you will: Washington president Bruce Allen insists that Kirk Cousins will be the team’s quarterback in 2017.
“That’s why we franchised him,” Allen told CSN Mid-Atlantic.
“I can’t keep up with the rumors,” Allen added. “Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven’t talked to anyone.”
The fact that they haven’t talked to anyone doesn’t mean they won’t, especially with the entire NFL gathered in Arizona for the annual league meetings.
“Our goal from the beginning has been long-term [contract],” Allen said. “I’m still hopeful and confident we’ll do it.”
Of course, that depends on what the definition of “the beginning” is. At the beginning of Cousins’ initial contract year, Washington didn’t want to talk. At the beginning of when they decided to engage Cousins, it was too little and too late to avoid the franchise tag launch sequence. At the beginning of the franchise tag period in 2016, Washington didn’t want to fully guarantee two years of the tag (i.e., $19.95 million plus $23.94 million) at signing. At the beginning of the dance this year, it likely will take the 2017 franchise tag ($23.94 million) and the 2018 transition tag (a 20-percent increase over this year’s pay, or $28.73 million), fully guaranteed at signing to get a long-term deal done.
Otherwise, Cousins can play out the season, pocketing two years of tag money and forcing Washington to decide whether to use the right-of-first-refusal-but-no-compensation transition tag in 2018 or the franchise tag for a third time, at a 44-percent increase (by rule) over this year’s amount. That approach would cost Washington $34.47 million next year, running Cousins’ three-year haul to $78.36 million.
Or they could entertain trading him now, getting 2017 draft-pick compensation and/or players in return and freeing up $23.94 million in cash and cap space and avoiding the likelihood that he walks away next year with only a 2019 compensatory draft pick in return.
But they insist they aren’t entertaining trading him now, which could be code for, “We don’t want to see desperate to trade him or we won’t get as much as we could.”