It seemed to be a coincidence that the Eagles signed quarterback Sam Bradford to a new contract not long after Washington applied the franchise tag to quarterback Kirk Cousins. It may not have been.
Per a league source, Washington was concerned that the Eagles would make a run at Cousins, if Washington either didn’t tag him at all, or if Washington applied only the transition tag.
From the perspective of the new coaching staff in Philadelphia, Bradford is as much of a stranger as Cousins would have been. However, Cousins has more experience in the West Coast offense that traces both through Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Washington coach Jay Gruden to Chiefs coach Andy Reid and former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. (Reid was a Holmgren assistant in Green Bay before getting the head-coaching job in Philadelphia.) Cousins was drafted by Mike Shanahan, whose own offense traces back to the common mentor of Shanahan and Holmgren: Bill Walsh.
So if the Eagles were going to give Bradford $17.5 million on a two-year deal, what would they have offered Cousins? Washington didn’t want to find out the hard way, and so Washington decided to give Cousins $19.95 million for one year. With Cousins out of play, the Eagles did a deal with Bradford.
After getting the short end of the Donovan McNabb trade six years ago, Washington surely didn’t want to lose Cousins to the Eagles for no compensation, if Cousins is indeed on the brink of becoming the guy Shanahan thought Cousins could be when taking a fourth-round flier on him in 2012.