What will Washington do with Kirk Cousins?

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One of the Super Bowl Sunday splash reports suggested that Washington will consider using the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins, as part of a plan to try to trade him. Although no plan premised on the franchise tag or the transition tag makes sense for Washington, nothing stops them from considering it.

As one source with knowledge of the manner in which Washington president Bruce Allen does business put it, Allen will try to conjure up something in an effort to salvage value for Cousins and, in turn, make it harder for him to hit the open market and finally get the long-term contract he deserves. As another source put it regarding Washington, “They are in the pettiness game.”

The pettiness game could blow up in their face.

If Washington applies the franchise tag, it will enter the 2018 league year with $34.47 million in cap space devoted to Cousins. Unless and until Washington rescinds the franchise tender, Cousins will continue to burden the books with a bloated cap number. That will make it harder to do business, especially when it comes to pursuing free agents from other teams.

If Cousins signs the tender, he’s guaranteed to receive $34.47 million in 2018. Washington could trade him once the tender is signed, but who would trade for a guy who is under contract for only one year, at that price? Cousins would have to be willing to cooperate with the effort to negotiate a more favorable long-term deal, but why should he? He can pocket $34.47 million for 2018, and then he would definitely hit the open market in 2019.

And so if Cousins is tagged and he signs it, there’s a good chance Washington would be stuck with him. Since the tag window closes a week before the new league year begins, a decision by Cousins to sign the franchise tender before March 14 could, in theory, cause Washington to back out of the Alex Smith trade.

There’s also a chance that Washington would tag Cousins and, if he doesn’t sign it, rescind the tag later, after teams in search of veteran quarterbacks have signed who they want — and after the free-agency market softens. But as Washington demonstrated two years ago, even a late-April decision to remove the franchise tag won’t keep a great player from getting big money; that’s precisely what happened after the Panthers removed the franchise tender from cornerback Josh Norman, who quickly signed for market value in Washington.

The transition tag also is a possibility, at a lower one-year rate of $28.7 million. But with no right to compensation and only a right to match, Cousins could simply sign a long-term offer sheet after Washington consummates the Alex Smith trade on March 14. At that point, there’s no way Washington would opt to keep Cousins based on the terms of a long-term deal.

So Washington basically is stuck. That won’t stop Allen from trying to come up with a way out of the box. It also doesn’t mean Allen won’t opt for doing something stupid over doing nothing. Still, in this case, the best move continues to be allowing Cousins to leave, counting his departure toward the net gains and losses that will determine Washington’s compensatory draft picks in 2019.

25 responses to “What will Washington do with Kirk Cousins?

  1. Take a second and think about the dumbest thing they could do. That’s what Dan Snyder will do.

  2. If they’re so stupid they tag him he should sign it immediately and laugh all the way to the bank while openly giving Dan Snyder the finger.

  3. I still didn’t see the option of working out a trade with another team between Feb 20 and 28. The Redskins wouldn’t be stuck as you put it when free agency starts. They won’t go into free agency with the tag on Cousins and without teams willing to trade.

  4. If they tag him, he should IMMEDIATELY sign the tender. That’s $34M in the bank, and once Alex Smith hits the Redskins, that’s something like $60M on the Redskins’ cap for two QBs.

  5. “The pettiness game could blow up in their face”

    Could? It’s already happened twice. They want those RG3 picks back, so they will do it again.

    Because they are insane.

  6. So you mean to tell me that the people running the team aren’t qualified for the job but yet they continue to hold the position. Interesting…so when i tell people that i am smart enough to be a GM I’m not lying. I wouldn’t do anything as dumb and petty like this.

  7. This would be quite possibly the dumbest ‘signing’ in the history of sports.

    60 plus million in cap space. They would have to back out of the Smith trade and then you would also have a ‘lame duck’ way overpaid QB, also affecting the cap space.

    Emotions get in the way of logic. Just ask about a million people in jail.

    Let him go.

  8. So let’s get this straight…3 years ago when Bruce was trying to get Cousins signed for $15 million per season Kirk countered with $19 million per season. Bruce said no way…so what do they do? Sign Kirk to 2 1 year contracts at $19.5 million and then $23 million and now they’re going to play games and possibly be stuck paying him $34 MILLION! This year. And they claim Scot Mccloughan was the one drunk on the job.

  9. Insinuating they tag him is ridiculous and fake news.dud fake don yee tell you this?.
    Either way, Ron Burges would be proud of you guys.

  10. This is why most of those who are making negative comments about what the Redskins are trying to don’t understand business and will never own a football franchise or for that matter be successful in anything. This is not personal, this is trying to recoup some of the assets that you put-in too grow a QB, Kirk Cousins should be thanking the hell out the Redskins front office for drafting a low rated QB in the fourth round and then surround in with more talent and coaching than they did the QB that they selected in the first round. If the Redskins had traded Kirk Cousins three years and $45 + million ago we would not be talking about Kirk Cousins.

    When will the media and fan of Kirk Cousins take off the blinders! Kirk Cousins is not a QB that can save or make a franchise better! If so he would have did it with the Redskins!

    Kirk Cousins is the biggest over under-achiever in the NFL!

    Where are the wins that should accompany his stats, they are not there, Kirk Cousins is not a franchise QB, one playoff appearance in three years as the Washington Redskins staring QB.

    Two season with a .500 or less winning percentage.

    Look at Kirk Cousins play against winning teams;

    Cousins’ record against teams with 9+ wins: 2-11

    Teams with 8+ wins: 5-13

    Against team’s that finished above .500 this season, Cousins and the Redskins were 2-5.

    When the team made the playoffs in 2015, they were playing a fourth place division schedule, going against Chicago, Tampa Bay, and the then St. Louis Rams. They went 3-0, but the combined record of the three teams was 19-29. Against teams with winning records, they were an abysmal 0-4.

    This is what a franchise is going to break their salary cap for a QB that has done nothing more than accrued stats in garbage time. The Redskins put one of the best offensive lines not to mention the best OL coach in football (Bill Callahan around Kirk and what did they get? Nothing!

  11. If I’m Cousins, I sign it and act accordingly like I’m going to play out the year for the REDSKINS and then in warmups before kickoff of week One I ‘feel something funny’ in my knee and never a play a down this year and retire after the season concludes. Snyder is a cancer.

  12. Jusr let Cousins go. You got your QB in Smith. Build a team around him. Also Cousins is just above average QB. Why tag him for $34 million? It counts towards the cap. That a lot of money that isn’t spent went free agency begins. It doesn’t make sense.

  13. I hope the Browns can find a way to sign Cousins. I think with two top 5 picks and Jimmy Graham on the market that this offense could quickly catch up to the defense. It all starts with Kirk. If they can get him then maybe they can get Graham and then they’re a good draft away from being a wildcard team. I know that sounds crazy since they just completed the “Perfect Season”, but they’re a good qb away from being competitive. Can’t wait for the Combine!!!

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