Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has signed his one-year franchise tag, which gives him a $23.9 million guaranteed salary for the 2017 season.
Cousins’ agent announced the signing this morning. It had been expected that Cousins would sign the tag, just as he did last year.
The signing gives Cousins by far the highest base salary in the NFL this season, and it’s guaranteed and can’t be rescinded by the team. It also means Washington is free to trade Cousins to any other team, although as a practical matter Cousins could veto any trade because any team trading for Cousins would surely insist on working out a long-term contract extension with him first.
Now that Cousins has signed the franchise tag two years in a row, it’s virtually impossible for him to be franchised again: A third franchise tag next year would guarantee him a whopping $34.5 million salary for 2018. Washington could apply the transition tag on Cousins next year, but that would allow him to freely negotiate with all 31 other teams, and Washington wouldn’t be entitled to any compensation if he leaves.
So Cousins looks likely to pocket $44 million for 2016 and 2017, then hit true, unrestricted free agency in 2018. He’s already made a fortune, and if he has a big season, he’s set to make even more in a year.