CBA gives Kirk Cousins an immediate path to checkmate, if Washington tags him again

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A.J. McCarron may not be the only quarterback who secures his freedom via the NFL’s grievance process.

Albert Breer of SI.com reports that, if Washington applies the franchise tag to Kirk Cousins for a third straight year, “his camp will quickly file a grievance to block the tag, based on Washington violating the spirit of the rules, which dictate that players are tagged as a mechanism for teams to buy time in getting a long-term deal done.”

Actually, Cousins’ case would be far stronger than that, with the muscle coming not from the inherently ambiguous “spirit of the rules” but on the plain language of them. Article 4, Section 8, subsection (b) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement says this: “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.”

In English, when a team applies the franchise tender, the team must intend to employ the player at the amount of the franchise tender for the upcoming season. With Washington already planning to trade for, and to extend the contract of, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, there’s no way that Washington intends to employ Cousins at $34.47 million for 2018.

This portion of the labor deal provides Cousins with a silver bullet to block either the franchise tag or the transition tag, which would require Washington to have a good-faith intent to employ Cousins at $28.7 million. The fact that the window for tagging players closes a week before the start of free agency means that Cousins will have seven days to secure a ruling before the market opens. Given the widespread reports of Washington’s plans to acquire and extend Alex Smith, it shouldn’t take seven minutes for an arbitrator to issue a ruling.

There’s also an argument to be made that Cousins shouldn’t wait for Washington to put him in check before declaring checkmate. Given the Super Sunday Splash Report! from ESPN that Washington is considering tagging Cousins so that it can trade him (a plan that on its face violates Article 4, Section 8, subsection (b)), Cousins could file his grievance now, forcing Washington to put its cards on the table well before March 7.

64 responses to “CBA gives Kirk Cousins an immediate path to checkmate, if Washington tags him again

  1. Skins must tag him. They cannot finalize the trade for Smith until after March 7.why would they risk the trade falling through? What if Smoth tears his ACL before the trade is finalized?

  2. This all assumes that Cousins doesn’t want to be tagged. But a one year contract for $34.47mil may be exactly what he wants. So I would think he’d just go ahead and play chicken with Washington. If they tag him, he should sign it the moment it arrives and let Washington twist in the wind while they figure out how to unload him. He gets paid either way.

  3. When has the term “good faith” ever benefited the employee and not the employer?

    They could easily tag him and claim they intended on trading Smith, or cutting Smith, or making Smith their 2nd string punter. All 3 ideas would be equally insane, but after all, this is Dan Snyder we are talking about so anything is within the realm of possibility.
    But you can’t act as if the term “good faith” does anything to move Cousins closer to earning his freedom.

  4. He shouldn’t care and sign it immediately if they did tag him. Washington will never find a trade partner at that salary, Cousins will laugh all the way to the bank, and the Redskins CAP will take a big hit it does not need to.

    They would be fools to tag him.

  5. breaking up is hard to do. Who would have thought that Alex Smith has more trade value than Kirk Cousins. Smith was on the way out of the league when his career was resuscitated by Jim Harbaugh, and when Harbaugh benched him, it was thought that the 49ers would have to cut him instead of getting draft picks from KC in a trade.

  6. Pretty sure New England did the same thing with Matt cassell, right? If so, the Redskins could absolutely do it. NFLPA can file a grievance but it’s been done before I thought. Anyway..later Kirk.

  7. What’s the big deal? Everybody knows Cousins is going to Minnesota next year.They want him and he wants to go there, per his “To Minnesota as A Bullet” comment stated last week.

  8. Who cares? Overated. If he was so good and could carry a team, they would of at least made the playoffs. He is going to be severely overpaid by a desperate team who thinks he can get them over the hump. That’s going to lead to disappointment for everyone involved.

  9. “Pretty sure New England did the same thing with Matt cassell, right?”

    It was the first application of the tag to Cassell, not the 3rd as it would be with Cousins. I would assume the same limitations would apply though, but I think the tag and trade method has been used by a number of teams over the years and the Pats weren’t the first to do it.

  10. It wasn’t the Redskins who solely are responsible. Scot M is the one that initially balked at a long term deal for cousins. Part of the reason he was fired. Then Bruce tried to be cute and low ball cousins. Then cousins agent said no negotiations, just sign and play on the one year tag if that’s what team is going to do( odd that good faith wasn’t an issue for camp cousins then but is now). Honestly wish they had worked it out and we kept him but oh well. Best of luck wherever he goes.

  11. I pray that Washingtom does so Alex can go to the Jags or something. He doesn’t deserve to be under another miserable ownership after spending most of his career with York

  12. J Schwindt says:
    February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    Skins must tag him. They cannot finalize the trade for Smith until after March 7.why would they risk the trade falling through? What if Smoth tears his ACL before the trade is finalized
    ——-

    If Smith falls through the correct answer is to get rid of him.

    Cousins does not like Washington, and that FO does not like him. What possible good will come of going through another season with Cousins at $30 million for one more year. He’ll put up numbers again, at best Wash wins one playoff game but probably doesn’t get in. Look, the writing has been on the Wall for two years, Cousins is determined to goto FA and see what he fetches, there is nothing Snyder can do but delay the inevitable. For a mere 30M. How many Skins fans think this is a good idea?

    I bet very few. The dude is out, Skins need to build not waste more time dicking around with Cousins. No goals will be achieved while he remains. Isn’t it obvious?

  13. Kirk also violated the spirit of the rules by not negotiating and just continuing to sign with no intention of signing ling term. You are right about the spirit of the rules in this case. It is just that both sides are guilty of this, not just the Skins. Don’t forget Matt Cassell was handled the same way in New England. I like Kirk and wanted him in D.C. long term, but not at the price he is going to command.

  14. If he is tendered he should immediately sign it. That would guarantee him huge money. Then he could file his grievance which would be enough to prevent any team from actually wanting to trade for a guy that could might not be available if he wins the grievance. That screws the Redskins into either winning the grievance and still paying him or losing it and Cousins hits free agency as scheduled rather than being traded somewhere he doesn’t want to go.

  15. Never has so much been spoken about such a mediocre QB. Who cares where he goes, because no matter whose uniform he wears he will be a choking dog who cares more about money then actually winning a game that matters! Enough already whiteh this bum.

  16. viffty says:
    February 17, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    Never has so much been spoken about such a mediocre QB. Who cares where he goes, because no matter whose uniform he wears he will be a choking dog who cares more about money then actually winning a game that matters! Enough already whiteh this bum.
    ________________
    Never was a truer word ever spoken!!

  17. oswizard says:
    February 17, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    Kirk also violated the spirit of the rules by not negotiating….
    —————-
    LMAO. No one was forcing the team to tag him the past 2yrs, which is just down to their prolonged uncertainty about him going forward. If he had “violated” the spirit of the rules you’d think the team would have figured that out after a few months let alone 2yrs!

  18. If im Cousins i just wouldn’t sign the tag and ignore any and all trade request and extensions. I would take it up to training camp and preseason and cripple any all moves the Skins could do.

  19. I will take my fandom to whatever team Cousins goes to.

    Having been a deadskins fan since 1970 and enduring mediocrity as far as I can see, I want this team disbanded, sold off, and anything that can insult the fake native americans in the process.

    Cousins has truly been dissed by this team and the reports of pathetic contract offers that the Redskins did produce are very limited – in short the contracts would have been entirely to the Redskins favor with trade ability at anytime and Cousins would be bound to the contract without much say at all.

    I hope the pettyskins try something cute – I want them ruined especially after they went for the Great Gimmick and ruined the team for years afterwards.

  20. oswizard says:
    February 17, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    Kirk also violated the spirit of the rules by not negotiating….

    —-
    Your response proves you are lying – if you were informed, you would know that the Redskins royally screwed Cousins in their offers – in short, the Redskins would be the ones who could pull the rug out from under Cousins after the first year of the deal and Cousins would have no outs. What irritates me most is we have stupid Cousins haters who never base their opinions on any facts – the contract offers were lowball, disgusting, and so skewed to the Redskins favor that no one would have signed the contract.

    Become informed, Cousins haters – you blithering idiots!

  21. Cousins should sign the tag, if they give it to him. Then he can say no to any trade that he doesnt like (No team will trade for him unless he is willing to sign long term).

    He would get 30M+ just to sit on the bench for a season, then be a free agent.

  22. The Skins shouldn’t be fearing a silver bullet, they should be fearing a silver pen. If they tag him he’d be as out of his mind not to sign it as the team would be to extend it. Who is going to trade for Cousins knowing the jumping off point is $34.47m?

  23. What’s really funny is Washington has 34 million in cap space. The ball is Cousin’s court & he can do whatever he wants. Who cares what Washington does? And this is from a Denver fan who prays we don’t sign Cousins. Now Alex Smith for 14 million? Sign me up. Maybe Elway can get Washington to trade Smith to us – LOL. I will take Foles, Keenum, Bridgewater heck even Bradford or Taylor for 1 year along with Baker Mayfield.

  24. If they signed him at the franchise price he would probably be wise to sign it.

    I think the matter of contention will be if he is signed under the restricted tag.

  25. Smarter idea. They franchise him- he signs immediately then refuses to negatiate a new contract- playing another 1 year deal for fully gaurnteed deal. Nobody would trade for him knowing that, and Washington would be stuck.

  26. Cousins wants to go to the Vikings. Fact. The Vikings want Cousins to come to Minnyville. Fact. Now it all comes down to is the $ and of course the Skins BS————He will be a Viking!

  27. “Kirk also violated the spirit of the rules by not negotiating and just continuing to sign with no intention of signing ling term.”

    Nowhere in the rule does it say the player has to negotiate with the intention of signing long term, only that the team has to. In fact a player has every right NOT to agree to any contract offered by the team that tagged him and simply play out the tag.

    The tag is a vehicle the team uses to retain a crucial player. Nothing says the player has to want to stay with a given team just because they tagged him.

  28. oswizard says:
    February 17, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    Kirk also violated the spirit of the rules by not negotiating….
    —————-
    LMAO. No one was forcing the team to tag him the past 2yrs, which is just down to their prolonged uncertainty about him going forward. If he had “violated” the spirit of the rules you’d think the team would have figured that out after a few months let alone 2yrs!
    ___________________
    Sure you are either joking or just plain stupid!! Cousins said after year two that he would not negotiate until the last minute-forcing the tag. last year even his father, a pastor, said, there was nothing the skins could offer cousins last year as he had no intention of signing any long term deal-this of course is after the deadlines past. Yet he was playing both sides saying, he wants to be a skin, and yada yada yada. This year, did you hear, he said himself, he had not intention of talking to the skins about contracts until the tag deadline. So, what part about this action on Cousins part is not breaking the spirit of the tag and even in dealing with a team who actually MADE him. He was a fourth round nobody until the skins propped him up and kept him in after he was dubbed the “turnover machine” in 2015. They hired Matt Cavanaugh who helped him with his accuracy. Still has thinking under pressure issues. He stunk up the last game of each of the last three seasons and yet pimps around with those 4000 yard Boy Scout badges like a medal of honor. He has a losing record, but you would think he had a winning record like Alex Smith, who is 10 times more team oriented and humble than this monster Kirk Cousins has become!!! I mean he is under contract, and uses his BABY to attract supporters (tampering it could be considered) for HIS NEXT TEAM!!! This guy is a piece of work-a politician in every way. I mean he is the same guy who pushed an older official in a honorary flag football game. smh.

  29. If the Skins tag him Cousins should sign it then tell DC he won’t negotiate a long term deal with any trade partner. That would make him untradeable and the Skins would be on the hook for 27 mil. KC can sit back for a year collect a ton of dough and be a FA next year.

  30. Mike, I think you are so wrong on this one. Cousins will be “in the plans” for the Redskins for the 2018 season for exactly one week. Then, if the Redskins can find a better alternative, in their opinion, they will go with that and trade for Alex Smith. If Cousins has not signed his tender by then, the Redskins will probably rescind the tender UNLESS they can fit him under the cap for 2018. If they can fit him under the cap for 2018, they will do so and keep the tender offer on the books. What Cousins needs to do is sign the tender right after free agency starts and before the Alex Smith deal is finalized and approved. That would force the Redskins to fish or cut bait.

  31. Some of you Skins fans need to wake up. None of this is on Cousins. After they lowballed him and then tagged him the first time, I don’t blame IF he didn’t want to negotiate at all last offseason. Not that I believe that he and his agent didn’t entertain offers this last time around, give me a break. Of course they did. But they tried to play the man again. And now he is holding ALL THE CARDS. Good for him. He bailed out the franchise when they ran their #1 prize pony into the ground less than two years after mortgaging the farm for RGIII…and the owner repaid him by calling him KURT!!?!?

    Yeah, Washington deserves this. And they don’t deserve to even have Alex Smith to fall back on, quite frankly.

  32. ” So, what part about this action on Cousins part is not breaking the spirit of the tag and even in dealing with a team who actually MADE him.”

    Read my post immediately above your last one. Players are absolutely not required to accept the tag with the goal of a new contract with the team that tagged him. Only the team is.

  33. This is the biggest no brainer in the history of this planet.

    Redskins would be crazy to tag him.

    And Cousins would be crazy not to sign it if they do.

    Why would he file a grievance? He’d pocket the money and then be an UFA the following year since the Skins would have used up their 3 tags.

  34. Cousins should welcome a third tag.
    He’ll make 34MM. Thats way more than anyone else.
    If he isn’t tagged he’ll make 27-30. So take the extra 4MM.

    I get what you’re saying and it makes sense but his think is probably along the lines of sign 135m dollars with 65-70 guaranteed…

    Am I the only one who thinks that he’s paying the price from the FO for being better than Griffin?

  35. It would be awesome if they tag him and all the other teams don’t trade for him since a trade would have to come with a long term contract. It would be fun for Daniel Snyder to figure out how to she 34 million this year.

  36. Hardly a path to immediately a check mate. A chance to win yes, check mate no. They can always lie and make some BS up to cover there own butts. McCarron only won because the doctor told the truth.

  37. Couldn’t Washington tag him, then immediately offer him a LTD with little to no guaranteed money at 28 mil per year with portions of the money as roster bonuses in future years. That would fit the “good faith” attempt to resign him. Then just trade him if he rejects.

    The Redskins would be stupid to tag him, but I don’t think the “silver bullet” is as open and shut as the article suggests.

  38. Cousins is a man of faith. God will guide him. He said so in ESPN the magazine he knows he is blessed. I wish him well. The Redskins have much bigger problems then QB. Snyder has no clue as to what he is doing and it has been going on for years. Dan is still p- off the RG III flamed out and doesn’t want Cousins to get his money.
    I would take Cousins here in Cleveland in a heartbeat. He only has upside.

  39. Cousins, come to Minnesota and win now with a good team, good management, ownership and fans, not to mention facilities. Take a little less than the incompetents who run the Jets and Browns so the Vikings can keep the key pieces of the team together and win for years. Denver would be the second best team but don’t have the cap space.

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