Sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that the transition tag for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is “not considered a viable option” next year. According to Rapoport, Cousins will either be franchised at the cost of $34.5 million or allowed to depart in free agency.
Rapoport says that depending on how Cousins plays during the remainder of the season will ultimately determine whether he’s franchised or allowed to sign elsewhere.
Right now, Washington is dealing with a long list of injuries, but if he can will his team to a few wins over the remainder of the season, Rapoport says he’ll “solidify his standing as the ‘Skins star for the future and his contract will be in line with what other elite passers get (Lions quarterback Matt Stafford’s extension averages $27 million per year).”
Otherwise, the Redskins may deem Cousins not worthy of the $34.5 million he’d get under the franchise tag next year.
The two parties will have to wait until the season is over in order to open contract negotiations and Rapoport says this won’t happen until the Redskins are forced to decide on the franchise tag by March 6.
As for the transition tag, Rapoport explains that while it’s $6 million less than the franchise total, it would open the door for a bidding war to break out for Cousins. This also allows another team to determine the structure of the contract in an attempt to sign him away from the Redskins.
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.
The Redskins franchised him for the second year in a row this past February and he’s now set to make $23.94 million fully guaranteed for the 2017 season.
In 2017, Cousins has appeared in four games and thrown for 2796 yards while completing 66.7 percent of his passes to go along with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also rushed for 141 yards. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No.10 quarterback out of 39 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 25 – 2018 NFL Free Agents list.