In fact, Florio’s source said that the Redskins’ current plan is to not use the franchise tag.
Florio writes that the idea of Washington franchise Cousins doesn’t make a lot of sense from their perspective, as it would create a starting point for contract talks at $20 million.
An interesting suggestion tossed out by Florio as to why it appears as though the team leaked this info to reporters is to try to scare away other teams interested in negotiating a long-term deal with Cousins at the Scouting Combine.
Beyond that, Rapoport adds that Washington is keeping all options open in regards to Cousins, and they haven’t ruled out the possibility of tagging him and fielding trade offers.
According to Schefter, the only decision left for Washington is whether they use the franchise or transition tag on him.
The franchise tag would run the Redskins close to $20 million guaranteed, but would buy them additional time to work on a long-term extension.
However, the transition tag would give them the right of first refusal, which allows them to match an offer he receives on the open market.
Redskins GM Scot McCloughan told reporters at the Combine that conversations are going on “every day” Cousins and his reps. McCloughan added: “He wants to be a Redskin.”
McCloughan did, however, make it clear that he won’t overextend the franchise to get Cousins locked up long-term.
“I would love to do a long-term deal with Kirk, but I’m not going to ruin the organization financially to do it,” McCloughan said, per Michael Phillips.
Previous reports have said that Washington would like to pay their quarterback between $16-$18 million per year, but it appears Cousins is willing to gamble on himself in 2016.
Cousins, 27, played out the final year of his four-year, $2,572,688 rookie contract that included a $472,688 signing bonus and was in position to be the best available quarterback in this year’s free agent market.
In 2015, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards while completing 69.8 percent of his passes to go along with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 16 quarterback out of 37 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.