Keim explains that while Cousins likes playing in Washington and the Redskins like having him as their quarterback, Cousins’ leverage in contract talks leaves him in a position to stand by his high demands, and the Redskins just aren’t willing to pay him what he believes he’s worth.
With this in mind, Keim believes it’s possible that Washington could franchise Cousins by Wednesday’s deadline and attempt to trade him to another team.
Sources close to Cousins tell Keim that they think the Redskins want to trade him anyway, considering that signing him to a long-term will obviously be very difficult and maybe impossible at this point.
Interestingly enough, Keim reports that there is only one team Cousins will sign a long-term deal with right now and that’s the 49ers. This further damages the Redskins bargaining power in trade talks with other teams, as they’re not going to be willing to part with serious draft compensation if they can’t get Cousins signed long-term.
Keim fully expects the Redskins to try to trade him in the coming weeks but he also admits “it’s hard to say the Redskins definitely will trade him.”
Last week, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network mentioned during an interview with 1090 San Diego that he believes there’s a “better than 50 percent” chance Cousins won’t be back with the Redskins next year.
In fact, Jeremiah said he “would not be shocked at all” if the Redskins agreed to trade Cousins to the 49ers at the Combine. If the two sides were able to work out a trade involving Cousins, Jeremiah could see the 49ers parting with their No. 2 overall pick, even though it may require the Redskins to include their own 2017 first-round pick as part of the deal.
Jeremiah hears that there are some within the Redskins’ organization who aren’t sold on paying Cousins the kind of money he could get in a long-term deal on the open market. Jeremiah added that some with the Redskins believe in Colt McCoy as a potential starter.
The 49ers are an obvious landing spot for Cousins, considering that they’re in need of a long-term quarterback to build around and have hired Kyle Shanahan, who has been a big advocate for Cousins in the past, as their new head coach.
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.