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.
Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora has been told the Redskins will, in fact, franchise him next year if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension. La Canfora admits that this is not an ideal option for Washington but they’re still prepared to franchise him to prevent him from testing the market.
Breer mentions that this would give Cousins and his reps a lot of leverage when it comes to negotiating a long-term deal. Washington is reportedly looking to lock up Cousins up, but Breer says that there is a line as to how far they’re willing to go to get him under contract.
Cousins is coming off of, arguably, his most impressive performance of his career and he’s clearly in a great position next year, as he’s really the only top-tier free agent quarterback. If Washington isn’t willing to commit a big-money deal to him, you can bet some team will.
I’m sure Washington will want to maintain a hard stance when comes to the kind of money they would be contributing in a long-term deal. However, it would be a huge risk for them to allow Cousins to test the open market, which is why some have wondered if they may be forced to franchise him.
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 10 games and thrown for 3,091 yards while completing 67.2 percent of his passes to go along with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 17 quarterback out of 35 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 30 – 2017 Free Agents list.