Report: Washington prepared to tag Cousins

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Win or lose on Sunday, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has won the football lottery. (Sure, Powerball pays better, but there’s a reason that jackpot has gotten so big.)

Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the team is prepared to apply the franchise tag to Cousins if they can’t work out a long-term deal before the deadline for using the tag.

It means that Cousins will be eligible for a one-year, guaranteed salary in the range of $20 million for 2016. It also means that $20 million for the first year — and a 20-percent raise for year two plus a 44-percent raise for year three — becomes the guideline for a long-term contract.

Really, why should Cousins take less than $20 million in 2016 plus the ability to make $24 million in 2017 and $34.5 million in 2018 (that’s $78 million over three years)? In answering that question (even though it was rhetorical), save us the whole “team player” and “how much is enough?” and “leave some money behind for other signings” routine.

Cousins has leverage, and he should use it.

If Washington wants to keep him from signing with another team, Washington needs to be ready to pay him more than another team would offer. If Washington plans to use the tag, it needs to be prepared to do a long-term deal with the tag as the starting point.

Or it needs to be prepared to go one year at a time, with Cousins cashing in each season until Washington decides to pay him or let him walk.

And if Washington thinks enough of Cousins to tag him, Washington needs to be concerned that another team may think enough of him to give up a pair of first-round picks to get him. Which could force Washington to use the exclusive version of the franchise tag, pushing the price for keeping him on a year-to-year basis dramatically higher.

That’s why the Ravens gave Joe Flacco a top-of-the-market deal three years ago in lieu of applying the tag. If they’d used the non-exclusive tag, they would have had to worry about a team like Cleveland signing him to a huge offer sheet. If they’d used the exclusive tag, Flacco would have been in position to break the bank, one year at a time.

Either way, the guy is getting paid. Some may scoff, but if Cousins isn’t the quarterback in Washington, who will they get? Thanks to their latest version of the Heath Shuler/Gus Frerotte misadventure, Washington knows better than anyone that the draft is a crapshoot.

61 responses to “Report: Washington prepared to tag Cousins

  1. Unless you want a QB situation like the texans, you have to pay your QB once you identify him. Join the club washington.

  2. Cousins may be all he’s turned in late this year, but he’s also red hot now. He had a LOT of trouble early on. The Skins would be wise to use the tag. Too many NFL teams have spent big money only to be disappointed with the QBs (Flacco, Romo, Kaepernick, etc) and holding a big cap hit.

  3. Nobody should begrudge Cousins cashing in for all he’s worth, but I’m not sure why the idea of a pitch to “leave some money behind for other signings” is so very silly. It’s obviously worked very well for Brady and NE. Maybe Brady is a unicorn, but it’s not facially ridiculous for a time to at least try saying “let’s win this together, and if you leave some money on the table that will help.” Cousins will probably say, “err, no thanks,” but it’s not a dumb thing for the Redskins to raise.

  4. Cousins certainly isn’t a $78 million dollar QB, over 3 years. But Washington has no other options. And IMO, Kirk better get all he can, while he can. Because I have a feeling he’s not long for this league. Just my gut feeling.

  5. Why would Cousins sign with Snyder an Allen knowing both have tried to undermined him.He knows that’s why Shanahan got fired and Gruden would have if he didn’t declare RG3 the starter after 2014. They must tag Cousins because he’s too smart to sign a contract with those two having final decision. If you believe Scott has final say then you really are on another planet.

  6. Sign him. Is there any other investment opportunities that look better? Remember all of these players have risks. At least you know you have a player with the right character and could be really good or at the least a player who could win with any type of a running game developing in the future. Kirk is the safest choice available. Quit chasing the “perfect” QB and grab the one that can win the East for years to come.

  7. It’s mostly lousy defenses he’s played well against right? A tag might be the best way for the Skins to hedge their bets and see if he continues to play well next year.

  8. Name one QB that has played under the Franchise Tag. I can’t, although this could be the first. DC has to be wary of the Scott Mitchell and Nick Foles effect. On the other hand, Cousins will want to get paid now. He will be 28 next season and has been getting 4th round money the past four years. Also, no home team discount here. Not after watching Snyder date Griffin and the rest of the Griffin side show.

    Cousins will want five years, $90 million, and real guaranteed money, not Tannehill or Kaepernick guaranteed money. The dollar figure is $40 million guaranteed. If not, Cousins can take $19.5 million with the tag and have real leverage after next season – if he performs. We will see how big of a gambler he is.

    McCloughan is smart and won’t want to give the big guarantee now. However, Snyder will interject and get it done at 5, $90mm, $40mm.

  9. Let’s see if they feel that way after the Packer D beats the Redskins back into reality tomorrow

  10. Kirk has a chance to really twist Snyder’s panties in a knot. Make them franchise you three years in a row and cash in. Then move to a real team.

  11. They broke the bank giving up draft picks for RGMe. Now they do it again for Cousins who was an after thought in the same draft. Now they enter salary cap hell where they will be unable to put a competitive team around him and he is not good enough to do it all by himself. What a mess Washington is.

  12. boycord says:
    Jan 9, 2016 6:35 PM
    Name one QB that has played under the Franchise Tag

    ever heard of Drew Brees…?

  13. So we are comparing Cousins to the guy who was the reigning Superbowl MVP and had been a solid starter for five years?

    I mean the reason the tag shouldnt be the starting pount for a long term deal is that Cousins had a good year but this is one year.

    Redskins should be rolling the dice and paying more later then have Cousins turn out to be Derick Anderson 2.0 (btw Derick Anderson made the pro bowl)

  14. Has leverage? Of having done what, not won or even played in a single playoff game, and not played QB for a full season? And he’s worth $20 Million?

  15. Could have traded for him before the season for 2 old kicking tee’s and a gatorade cooler. Now he commands 2 first round picks.

  16. As long as Cousins salary doesn’t hurt the Redskins from signing potential top free agents to help improve the team, I don’t care what they offer to keep him.

  17. I’m not saying Cousins doesn’t have leverage, but Florios calculation is flawed.

    If he plays under the tag and goes out and plays bad i 2016 or suffers a major injury, he won’t be tagged again in ’17 and ’18, making those 24 and 34.5 million dollars rather hypothetical.

  18. Flawed reasoning. There actually is a very good reason why Cousins would sign a long term deal at less than $20 million per year — it’s called long term security.

    Players don’t typically want to play one year at a time because they could become injured or maybe they won’t turn out as good as they are in their “contract year.”

    This article seems to be almost gleeful that the Redskins could be in a rough spot. But the reality is the Redskins are in a great spot…they found a QB who they can build their team around.

    I’m willing to bet they sign a long term deal for less than $20 million per year by putting in bonus money, incentives, etc.

    And yes, Cousins will sign such a deal for long term security. This whole “one year at a time” thing is not the first choice of players..I don’t know where you all are getting that.

  19. screamingsheep69 says:
    Jan 9, 2016 8:10 PM
    Could have traded for him before the season for 2 old kicking tee’s and a gatorade cooler. Now he commands 2 first round picks.


    What’s funny is PFT trying to make this sounds like an horrible bind for the Redskins. I guess since PFT can’t gloat that the Redskins are losers, and since the trademark issue is also going the Redskins way, we have to start a new narrative to run the team down.

    Honestly it’s a little embarrassing.

  20. afrostb says:
    Jan 9, 2016 8:16 PM
    I’m not saying Cousins doesn’t have leverage, but Florios calculation is flawed.

    If he plays under the tag and goes out and plays bad i 2016 or suffers a major injury, he won’t be tagged again in ’17 and ’18, making those 24 and 34.5 million dollars rather hypothetical.


    BINGO. This is why players want long term deals.

    Now why would Mike Florio be trying to write a misleading article making the Redskins look bad? Hmmm?

  21. I have long suspected that of cousins got the chance to be the starter for a full season he would prove his abilities, but he needed this experience. He has clearly shown that he can be the franchise quarterback for several years to come. The Redskins should negotiate a long-term deal with him.

  22. Washington should just do the 20mill for one season. They need to see if this season was a fluke.

  23. Kirk Cousins is not the “Washington [sic] quarterback”. Jake Browning is the Washington Huskies quarterback. Perhaps Florio you were thinking of Kirk Cousins, the Washington REDSKINS quarterback.

  24. Skins should go one year at a time for at least 2 years. Next season will truly tell if Cousins is the real deal but the likely hood with a tougher schedule is that he will regress next season because we’ve seen the other Cousins. Skins need to be smart here. Franchise is not the answer. Cousins was shaky beginning of year and has come along but isn’t worth big long term year money and not even franchise tag. Management needs see another year against better competition if they are really smart. Don’t be fooled, luck has a lot to do with the success here too. One I can think of is the game saving tackle Breeland made against Tampa which would of made that a costly loss. Most know having a ton of playmakers can make an average qb look better than they really are so team is better off given one year 16mil contract just like they had for RG III, and say do it again and then you can get a multi year contract. Don’t like that…bye and trade for AJ Macaron for a draft pick. Too soon to drink this Gruden and Cousins …..kolaid.

  25. Flawed article.

    First, a long term contract would GUARANTEE HIM huge dollars – the actual cost per year would not have to hit $20 million plus – upfront money is what we should be talking about.

    We’ve seen Washington fail to pay QB’s the money that they should have earned and those QB’s went to the Super Bowl with another team.

    Those who say Cousins is not worth the money are idiots – no one is psychic. What we have here is the perfect QB for this system. That makes him valuable. He is only Scott Mitchell if he goes elsewhere and is not a good fit for a system. Whatever Schmuck invoked that should be thrown off a cliff for being too stupid to be allowed to live.

  26. This whole thing is grossly out of control.

    $20 million a year?

    At $100K/year, it would take a person 200 years to make that much.

    And, Cousins would pay NO Social Security taxes on his income above $118,500.

    Am I the only one who is wondering what in Hell is going on here?

  27. R u kidding me. He is an average QB at best. Redskin Nation has lost their minds. This guy is a hack and tomorrow’s game will prove it. This team won 9 games and all of a sudden he is King. If he get’s a big contract with a franchise tag then I expect Redskins to be in the bowl for many years to come. Tank Bowl.

  28. This season, Cousins throws 29 TD’s, has 11 INT’s, leads the NFL in completion percentage, a 101.6 rating and he’s a question mark.

    Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for less TD’s (28-14 this year and 14 last) in two seasons than Cousins has in one, averages nearly 60 yards less per game and has a rating of 89 after 2 seasons of starting, and Vikings’ fans see him as their savior.

  29. Why are the haters out in full force?
    Because most of them don’t have teams in the playoffs.

  30. Franchise him then trade him for a #1. Sorry he is good but not worth 74M over 3 years, and this team cant afford to build with that amount of money in one player, they will end up like Baltimore after the Flaco deal.

  31. Speaking if Washington; people in DC heard France had a bombed a major ISIS stronghold and had to look out their windows to see if White House was still standing

  32. Anybody who objectively watched Washington lose to a vastly superior GB team tonight. And think Cousins is suddenly a franchise QB is just wishing. We saw a real franchise QB carve his team up. While Green Bay’s defense toyed with Gruden’s offense. Easily leaving 4-5 picks on the table. That game wasn’t even competitive. And could have been a 55-2 laugher. The Redskins are much closer to 6-10 than the 10-6 and better teams usually encountered in the Playoffs. He deserves to be paid well. He earned it. But break the bank? No way! He’s very replaceable. And looks like a typical MSU QB to me. Closer to Hoyer than Brady/Cam/Big Ben/Russell Wilson/Aaron Rodgers. Frankly he reminds me of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Just AW-ITE! Nothing special.

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