Washington considers tagging QB Kirk Cousins — ESPN's Schefter

Sheri Evans
February 6, 2018

A third straight year under the franchise tag in 2018 would cost Washington $34.5 million, per ESPN's John Keim.

Teams can begin designating franchise players on February 20.

Smith agreed to a four-year contract extension worth more than $71 million and the Redskins parted with promising defensive back William Fuller.

If Cousins is tagged, his $34.5 million salary would count toward the Redskins' salary cap. If that went on for a while, teams that might have been interested in Cousins would most likely move on to other options, not wanting to wait for a player they aren't sure will ever be available. They would have to give up a draft pick or two and pay Cousins' expected large contract.

Drew Brees, another veteran who would draw top dollar on the free-agent market, has made it clear he intends to return to New Orleans, narrowing the Broncos' veteran targets even more. The teams that are in the market will also have their first round pick riding on this trade, because if they can't get Cousins then they will be looking at Nick Foles, possibly Tyrod Taylor or drafting one of the young guns in the 2018 draft.

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Washington could though re-sign Cousins to a franchise tag, for the third consecutive time, which would limit who Cousins could sign with.

But Cousins has no good reason to cooperate with the Redskins, and immediately sign the franchise tender to facilitate a trade. But they're apparently considering it. Buckle up, National Football League fans. That would significantly reduce what the Redskins could get for him from that team.

The Pro Bowler still has to agree to the terms as the Redskins wouldn't be able to trade Cousins until he signs the franchise tag if that's the route the team decides to take, and it could potentially delay the process for months.

Cousins said he did hear this week from coach Jay Gruden about the Redskins' approach to the Smith trade. "I haven't had a chance to pick where I wanted to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State".

Tagging Cousins would also forfeit the chances of receiving a compensation selection in next year's National Football League draft. He tweeted the tag was "negotiated into CBA for teams to have "intent" to sign players long term".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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