In one month and one day, the deadline arrives for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year contracts. If Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn’t sign one by then, he’s fine with playing under the one-year, $19.95 million franchise tender in 2016.
Cousins addressed his views after asked whether he’d be open to signing an extension during the season, something that the rules clearly prohibit. (He could sign a long-term deal at the earliest after the 2016 regular season ends.)
“I don’t know all the rules but my understanding is I wouldn’t be allowed to,” Cousin said. “So after July 15, I don’t even know when I would then be allowed to again. So I’m not even that well-educated on it, which goes to show how much I’m asking the agent to handle it all. That’s my understanding is July 15, let’s just go play football and we’ll see you on the other side.”
His understanding is correct. Then, on the other side, Washington would have to decide whether to give him a 20-percent raise under the tag for 2017 (i.e., $23.94 million) or let the open market determine his value on a long-term deal. And if Washington decides to do it again and doesn’t sign him to a long-term deal, he’d get a 44-percent raise under the tag for 2018 — $34.47 million — or hit the market.
Those numbers surely are making it harder to get a long-term deal done, because Cousins surely knows that he’d be trading in $19.95 million for one year, $43.89 million for two years, and $78.36 million for three years. While he’d be carrying the risk of injury and ineffective for 2016 and 2017, he parlayed a $660,000 salary last season into a raise of more than 3000 percent for 2016.
As betting on himself goes, then, Cousins already is deep into house money.