According to Cole, Redskins’ management believes the key for them moving forward will be to build the team around Cousins after he put together a with a “good enough” 2016 season.
While Washington wasn’t able to beat the Giants Sunday to secure a playoff spot, Cousins’ 2016 production was enough that he would secure a solid quarterback contract if the Redskins allowed him to test the open market in the coming months.
Adam Schefter of ESPN previously mentioned that if the Redskins and 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 tag that 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.
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 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 30 – 2017 Free Agents list.