According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Redskins GM Scot McCloughan’s unwillingness to meet QB Kirk Cousins‘ asking price in long-term contract talks is due to the belief that he can find a cheaper replacement for Cousins “at some point in the next year or two.”
Washington is obviously comfortable enough to pay Cousins $19.95 million under the franchise tag, but weren’t willing to offer more than $24 million on a long-term team.
Multiple sources have told Florio that Cousins was targeting $44 million fully guaranteed at signing, which happens to be what he would make if franchised again next year.
Of course, the Redskins run the risk of Cousins putting together a breakout season and then increasing his asking price proportionally. Although, they could use the franchise tag on him again next year if the two sides still couldn’t come to some sort of agreement on a long-term deal.
Florio adds that if the Redskins believe they have a Plan B option at quarterback that would cost much less than $24 million under the tag or $58 million on a long-term deal, “the team will be inclined to let Cousins hit the open market and, possibly, the road.”
Cousins, 27, played out the final year of his four-year, $2,572,688 rookie contract that included a $472,688 signing bonus and was in position to be the best available quarterback in this year’s free agent market before he was tagged.
Washington elected to use the franchise tag on Cousins, which he wasted little time in signing. Cousins now stands to make $19.953 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards while completing 69.8 percent of his passes to go along with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 16 quarterback out of 37 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Cousins and the Redskins as the news is available.