Multiple league sources tell La Canfora that the Redskins’ brass were very interested in signing Cousins to a long-term extension shortly after he took over for Robert Griffin III as the full-time starter in 2015.
At the time, some in the Redskins organization strongly supported offering Cousins a five-year, $40 million deal but president Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder did not approve of the move. Even so, La Canfora admits that it’s unclear whether Cousins would have taken that deal at the time.
League sources tell La Canfora the Redskins later could have locked up Cousins long-term had they offer him a three-year deal worth $19M-$20M per season and roughly $40M guaranteed.
Washington is now in a position whether it would cost them either $29 million to use the transition tag or $34 million to franchise him for a third time, which means Cousins will have made between $73-$78 million depending on which tag they use.
La Canfora says that allow Cousins to walk as an unrestricted free agent and only recouping a compensatory pick at the end of the third round in 2019 is “unfathomable at this point.”
One option could be for the Redskins to franchise Cousins and then trade him in a blockbuster deal.
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.
The Redskins franchised him for the second year in a row this past February and he’s now set to make $23.94 million fully guaranteed for the 2017 season.
In 2017, Cousins has appeared in four games and thrown for 1,004 yards while completing 66.1 percent of his passes to go along with seven touchdowns and one interception. He’s also rushed for 77 yards. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No.14 quarterback out of 32 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 25 – 2018 NFL Free Agents list.