However, sources tell Tesfatsion that the two sides are still aren’t close to an agreement on a long-term deal. According to Tesfatsion, Washington was discussing a deal that would pay Cousins around $20 million per year, which is short of the $24 million he’ll make under the franchise tag this year.
Previous reports have said that Cousins would likely have taken a deal like this last year had Washington been willing to offer this much per year. The problem now is that Cousins really has no incentive to take any less than $24 million annually in a long-term deal.
He’s just one year away from testing the open market and it wouldn’t come as a big surprise to see teams offer him close to $24 million he’ll make this season.
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 a potential long-term extension for Cousins as the news is available.