Adam Schefter of ESPN writes that if the Redskins and QB Kirk Cousins aren’t able to reach an agreement on a long-term extension after the season, there’s “plenty of incentive” for Cousins to not sign just any deal and instead force the team to franchise him again.
Cousins would make close to $24 million under the tag next year and should Washington franchise him for a third time, it would run them a staggering $34,478,784 in 2018. A third franchise tag would bring Cousins’ three-year compensation to $58,422,384 and prevent the Redskins from tagging him for a fourth time, which would give him unprecedented leverage.
Schefter mentions that the Redskins will need to offer Cousins ever more guaranteed money to persuade him to stay, which should end up being over $58.5 million in the end.
Before that, Ian Rapoport spoke with a few GMs this week who all expect Cousins to secure over $20 million per year in a long-term extension after the season.
However, Rapoport says that this is likely just the starting point for negotiations between the two teams. Instead, the expectation is that two sides will end up negotiating based on the $23.94 million it would run them to franchise Cousins again next year.
Should Cousins make it free agency, Rapoport mentions the Browns, Bears and Jets as teams who could make a run at signing him.
The expectation from a number of NFL insiders is that the Redskins would franchise Cousins again in 2017 if needed, as opposed to allowing him to test the open market.
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 will pay him $19.953 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2016, Cousins has appeared in 11 games and thrown for 3,540 yards while completing 68.4 percent of his passes to go along with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 11 quarterback out of 34 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 30 – 2017 Free Agents list.