Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns are not expected to trade for QB Kirk Cousins, despite the early report that mentioned there was a “growing belief” Cleveland would try to acquire him from Washington.
Cabot points to the high compensation it would take for the Redskins to move Cousins in a trade and $23.94 million salary Cousins is set to make. On top of that, the Browns may have to part with their No. 12 overall pick as part of the deal.
Beyond that, in order to justify parting with all of this, the Browns would have to sign Cousins to a long-term deal. But the report from PFT mentions that Cousins isn’t interested in playing for the Browns.
Interestingly enough, Cabot adds that three other teams have attempted to trade for Cousins in the past 10 days or so and were shot down quickly.
This is purely speculation on my part, but the three teams that would make the most sense in regards to a potential Cousins trade, besides the Browns, are the 49ers, Jets and Texans.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, citing a league source, reports that there’s a “growing belief” in some NFL circles that the Browns will attempt to acquire Redskins QB Kirk Cousins via a trade.
A separate source tells Florio that Cousins main concern about signing the franchise tag this earlier in the offseason was that it could open the door for the Redskins to possibly trade him to a team he didn’t want to play for like the Browns.
Florio mentions that even after they took on Brock Osweiler‘s contract in the trade with the Texans that will cost them $16 million (at least for now), they could still justify cutting a deal with Washington and taking on the $23.94 million owed to Cousins for the 2017 season. In fact, the Browns have so much cap space that they’re one of the few teams who could afford to franchise Cousins for a third year in a row at the cost of $28.78 million. Although, they could always try to get a long-term deal done, but it sounds like Cousins wouldn’t have any interest in doing so with Cleveland.
Several reports have said that Cousins would prefer to go to San Francisco and be reunited with 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan. However, the Redskins do not appear to have any interest in trading him to San Francisco at this point in time.
The Redskins officially placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins Tuesday. The exclusive tag prevents other teams from negotiating with him during free agency, but the Redskins are still fully able to trade him to another team and give him permission to speak to a team about a long-term extension.
By tagging Cousins again, this all but rules out a third franchise tag for Cousins, which means he’s one season away from testing the open market and possibly becoming the highest paid player in the NFL.
Cousins, 28, is a former fourth-round pick of the Redskins back in 2012. He played out the final year of his four-year, $2,572,688 rookie contract that included a $472,688 signing bonus when Washington elected to use the franchise tag on Cousins that paid him $19.953 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2016, Cousins has appeared in all 16 games and thrown for 4,917 yards while completing 67 percent of his passes to go along with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 8 quarterback out of 36 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Cousins as the news is available.