According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Redskins will be using their franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins before the upcoming deadline to tag players.
Although, La Canfora fully expects the Redskins to make a “legit concerted effort” to sign Cousins to a long-term contract this offseason, as opposed to the low-ball offers the team reportedly extended to him last year.
In the end, La Canfora suspects the two parties will finally have an agreement in place on a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline to negotiate with franchise players.
Even if the Redskins use their franchise tag on Cousins and not the exclusive tag, La Canfora can see teams like the 49ers and Bears along with some others having interest in a potential trade for Cousins. However, La Canfora says that a trade will likely be prohibitive considering that it would require draft compensation on top of a long-term deal that could pay Cousins an average salary of $25 million or so.
Franchising Cousins for the second straight year comes with a 20 percent increase and would pay him $23.94 million fully guaranteed. After that, a third tag would cost Washington a staggering $34.5 million.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post previously mentioned that Cousins could command something close to a four- or five-year deal worth $90 million – $110 million and include $50-$60 million guaranteed in a long-term contract, so that’s something to watch later this year.
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.
Cousins is now in line to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
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 have him featured in our Top 100 – 2017 Free Agents list.