The news that Washington and quarterback Kirk Cousins are both comfortable with Cousins spending a second straight season under the franchise tag isn’t really news. Cousins always has been comfortable with taking $23.94 million in 2017 (to go with the $19.95 million he made in 2016) and then seeing what happens in 2018. Washington consistently has been comfortable with not offering him a suitable long-term deal, which necessarily means the team is comfortable with Cousins continuing on a year-to-year basis.
But here’s the real question. Will Washington, at some point between now and 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, July 17, put a large, multi-year contract offer on the table, forcing Cousins to say “no thanks” to it? With Cousins presumably wanting more than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing (that’s the sum of the 2017 franchise tag and 2018 transition tender), there could be a number somewhere between Derek Carr’s fully-guaranteed $40 million and $52 million that gets Cousins to bite.
This assumes that Cousins ultimately would be willing to ignore his agent’s advice, which would be to reject anything worth less than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing over the first two years of the deal. Still, Washington won’t know whether Cousins will go rogue unless the team tries.
And then the team can leak to the media the magnitude of the offer, making the organization seem fair and reasonable and Cousins seem greedy and selfish.